Left: Spen King, the man who brought up the idea of a road-going Land Rover in 1966.
Right: Geoff Miller, chief engineer of the "Road Rover" project in front of one of the Darian Gap Ranges.
Below: The official launch was at the Amsterdam Motor Show in 1970.
So the first step was accomplished. After this 27 more pre-productions were built. Soon it was decided to send the new cars onto an endurance test through the Sahara, at the same time filming them for publicity
When the testing was over and final modifications agreed the first batch of cars was produced. While 20 cars were used for press testing in June, Geoff Miller set off with another one for a 1500 mile holiday trip to Switzerland- apparently none noticed the unusual car. Journalists were enthuisiastic, just one problem arose: It could only be bought from September 1, 1970 on. Production at that time was 10 cars a week so many dealers couldn't get a car for display. It was the time Rover belonged to British Leyland, the hardest time for the company. Land Rover was almost the only one of the group to make any benefits but they were immediately soaked up by the bottomless pit the british car industry was at that time. So funds were short and for every upgrade Miller and his crew had to fight with the finance department. So no changes were made to the vehicle up to 1980.
Left: The first pre-productions wore the Velar badge, an artificial name meaning "veil-like".
So due to the restricted finances it took 10 years for the Range to climb higher in the luxury car scale and respond to customer wishes. Customers had to wait for 2 years for their new car. Tighter emission laws prevented it from being brought to the american market and there was no money to develop the engine accordingly. Tests with different carbs and timing curves brought the cooling system to its limits as Geoff Miller discovered himself on a test run to Morocco. So the US had to wait until well into the 80's.