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Range Rover 30th Anniversary 2000 South Africa

Hosted by the LROCSA, the Range Rover 30th Anniversary was held at Rust De Winter over the weekend of 2/3/4 June 2000. Possibly the largest gathering of Range Rovers in South Africa saw just under 100 vehicles attend. The entire 30 year period was covered with both a 1970 and 2000 year model present. The yellow vehicle in the centre, flanked by two HSE's, is the earliest available model in South Africa.

Back in the late 1960's Spen King and his collegues at the Rover Company designed the vehicle that set the standard for leisure four wheel drives back then, and continues to do so today. The Range Rover was launched in June 1970 as a coil sprung 2-door with carburettor V8 engine. With a blend of style and functionality the Range Rover remained virtually unchallenged as the supreme off-road all rounder.

Its design elements paved the way for future generations of Land Rovers, which we have today. The Discovery was based on the Range Rover chassis, while the Defender range inherited the proven coil sprung suspension system which is the key to exceptional wheel travel. Wheel travel was measured at the event with Ian Myburg's 2-door Range Rover (picture left) taking the honours.

The top of the range Range Rover today carries on that pioneering tradition by using sophisticated traction control systems, and relies on air suspension introduced to Range Rover Vogue models in the early 1990's. The lines may be slightly rounded but the feeling of superiority from the inside is no different from the day it was launched.

Like any Land Rover which has been around for a while, the Range Rover has taken on many shapes and forms in the spirit of adaptability and practicality. On the day there were a few unique vehicles, like a stretched 4-door vehicle, a convertible two door, as well as the two pictured. On the left a custom "wood trim interior" and on the right an ambulance, which was built in the UK and imported in the hayday of the SADF.

Proud owners displayed their vehicles for all to see, and were only too keen to discuss what they knew, and find out about what they didn't know about their vehicles. One such owner Perry Tonkin had just picked up a vehicle for a steal in the Northern Province. Having bought it from the original owner, his 2-door 1982 lays the claim to be the last 2-door manufactured in South Africa. This is evident from the mix match roof panels as well as a few other styling cues. The spare is the unused original which came with the vehicle. Having covered 260 000km she still starts in a blink and is ever so smooth.

After a brief picture shoot the vehicles were put to good use by competing in a short layed out trial. It was all in a days work for the Range Rovers as they are well known for their excellent off-road ability. With all the variations present on the day a variety of transmission systems were tried and tested. From the basic manual diff lock of the early models, to the viscous coupling of the later models as well as the newest electronic traction control mechanisms of the new ones.

 

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