That first Range Rover was so far ahead of its time that it lasted in production, and sold well, for more than 25 years. Initially, in the '70s, the vehicle changed little. It was a bleak decade for the UK motor industry, with the three-day week and general political unrest. There was precious little development cash, and, besides, the Range Rover was selling well. Why change it? Cash-strapped British Leyland, Land Rover's then owners, spent development money elsewhere.
By the '80s, the pace of development picked up, mostly to make the vehicle more luxurious. Cabin trim was regularly upgraded, and carpet, leather upholstery and wood trim elevated the Range Rover into a viable alternative to luxury saloon cars - the first 4x4 to do so.
The 3.5-litre aluminium V8 was enlarged to 3.9 litres in 1989, and then to 4.2 litres in 1992, improving performance and refinement. The three-speed Chrysler automatic gearbox - first available in 1982 - was replaced by a smoother and more efficient ZF four-speed in 1985, further broadening appeal.
A long wheelbase version, the LSE, featuring height adjustable electronic suspension came out in 1992, a few years before the launch of the next Range Rover. The electronic suspension was also optional on the normal 100-inch wheelbase model.