Range Rover is promoting its new mid-size Velar sport utility vehicle as “the only vehicle you’ll ever need,” and touts it as a celebration of “British design and engineer integrity.”
The newest Range Rover takes its name from a secret prototype vehicle the company developed in 1967. The story of that prototype, indeed the story of Land Rover itself, is being shared in a new visitor attraction at the company’s historic Solihull assembly plant in England.
“The Range Rover Story” is presented as an interactive exhibit that celebrates, among other things, the 50-year history of Solihull. The celebration coincides with the 30th anniversary of Range Rover in the U.S. marketplace. It was March, 1967, that the first Range Rovers became available for sale in the United States.
While Range Rover’s manufacturing history at Solihull dates only to 1970, its work at the site goes back to 1967 with the development of the Velar prototype.
“The exhibit tells the incredible story of the Range Rover, from the original Velar prototype through to today’s new model,” Roger Crathorne, a 50-year Land Rover employees, said in a company news release.
“At the time I began my career in 1967 as a technical assistant on the Velar team, the intention was never to build a luxury vehicle. Over the 50 years since, the Range Rover has come a long way. We wanted to develop a more comfortable on-road Land Rover that would combine the comfort of the Rover with the Land Rover 4×4 capability to support a growing leisure market.”
“We are hugely proud to build the Range Rover Velar at Solihull, the birthplace of both the Land Rover and Range Rover,” added Nigel Blenkinsop, operations manager at the Solihull plant. “Here, we have invested over £2 billion in recent years to enable us to triple production. Our business is now Britain’s number one car manufacturer.”
Velar is the third new model rolling out of the Solihull plant within the past year, following the Jaguar F-Pace and the Land Rover Discovery.
The company notes that Velhar is produced in one of the largest aluminum body shops in the world and that the Solihull plant produces three different SUVs, but with each built to unique customer specifications.
Tours of the new exhibit can be arranged through Range Rover’s website. Also available are a tour of the plant and an off-road experience at the Land Rover Experience Centre.