The brand new Range Rover Velar reveals itself as the child of fifty years of development. CineCars goes back in time in search of similarities.
Although it isn’t crystal clear how the original prototypes for the new, luxurious Land Rover gotten the name Velar (pronounce vèl-ar) back in 1967, one thing remains certain, the resemblance with the Latin verb velare, to veil is a lucky one. Whether it was an acronym for the names Alvis and Rover, a long forgotten British car manufacturer that got guzzled by a giant called British Leyland, or a deliberate link to the secrecy usually created around prototypes, the Velar name still works fifty years later. No longer to distract, but this time right in the spotlights. Fully denominated the Range Rover Velar, the newborn proudly takes its place between the Evoque and the Range Rover Sport.
Fifty five is the number of Velars that apparently rode the roads and tracks of the United Kingdom from 1967 until 1974. No two alike and most of them likely to have had numerous changes during their career. As rolling laboratories they helped Land Rover to cure the flaws of the production models. About 25 of the 55 original prototypes soldiered on like this after the introduction of the Range Rover in 1970, sporting the new name they even got sold as regular second hand cars in the end. The scene knows secretive stories a plenty to do the prototypes’ name even more honour.
So many years later it isn’t all that simple to look back unprejudiced on the impact of the very first Range Rover on the automotive world. To that day Land Rover was mostly known for its robust, tractor like characteristics. Designed to defend the country, lovingly adopted to work the countryside, the Land Rover had become a true British icon in less than two decades.The newbie had to live up to all these qualities, but had to be stylish and comfortable as well. The British upper class needed their share of stylish transportation for the trip to the stately home or hunting party. The Range Rover did that and so much more. With its permanent four wheel drive, comfortable coil springs and potent V8 engine it became the embodiment of what many years later would be named the SUV. The mothership of all luxury four by fours.
Today Range Rover as a brand name still is the basis of an entire segment. Its products still leading when we’re talking all terrain capacity and luxury. Contemporary generations add state of the art design and engineering to the equation, emphasizing even more on the link to those very first Velars. Was the original Range Rover first shown to the public at the Louvre in Paris in 1970, honoured with the title Exemplary Industrial Design, today the brand new Range Rover Velar is unveiled at the Design Museum in London. It is the very first time the museum embarks with a car manufacturer, which should mean something for the quality of the Velar’s design. Calling a car this large minimalistic would be to far fetched, but styling and construction are that tight and functional, that once again the link to the original is never far away. Not a single button too many, all functionality hidden in nearly invisible touch screens, the proven qualities of a true Range Rover embodied throughout the entire car. A true Velar in all its modern bliss.
Marc GF Zaan