The cars : Range Rover P38 development story

The Range Rover P38 development story explains how this car looked the way it did. It took Rover 24 years to replace the Range Rover – but, when it did, it largely got the recipe right…

Taking that fine old car into the 21st century was never going to be easy, though, and there were a number of changes in direction along the way.

Range Rover P38A: overhauling an icon

By the mid-to-late-1980s, the Range Rover’s transformation into a luxury express was well underway – one only had to look at the success of the Vogue editions of it to see this. Cannily, Land Rover tapped into the healthy demand for increasingly plush versions of the Range Rover, and ensured that prices remained relatively high, but not hideously so.

This pricing policy ensured that the Range Rover would always remain relatively exclusive, but accessible enough for aspirational customers to feel they could reach one. With this, the future for the Range Rover brand was set. With the lower-priced Discovery under development, the intention was to push the original (and best) increasingly upmarket, ensuring that the Range Rover would represent the absolute pinnacle of four-wheel-drive vehicles.

In the long term, planners knew that the original 1970 Range Rover (known later as the Range Rover Classic) – as smart as it was – would need significant development to keep pace the development of rival cars. Work began on the project in 1988, with engineering and styling work being focused upon – but no deadline for launch was set. It was not until 1990, and with a budget of £300 million, that the project to replace the Range Rover was formally started under the codename of 38A.

Planning a new Range Rover – Project 38A begins

The launch date of late 1994 was set at this time. Technically, meeting the demands of the 1990s would be no mean task but, given the excellence of the original, a firm foundation was already in place. Moreover, because of the relationship between old and new, it would be entirely possible to introduce features bound for the new car into the existing one. It was a ploy that had worked well in the past for Jaguar and Rolls-Royce so, in this respect, the Range Rover was in good company.

However, of more concern, was the new car’s styling. Rather like the difficulties encountered by Porsche when it came to replacing the 911, Land Rover knew that a major part of the Range Rover’s appeal was its styling – and it would need to be absolutely right. A great deal of care and attention would therefore need to be employed in the development of the 38A’s look… it would need to look substantially more modern, yet be readily identifiable as a Range Rover.

George Thomson, Land Rover’s Styling Director was handed the project in 1988, and admitted later that he found the brief both challenging and intimidating. ‘Recreating a classic like the Range Rover is a great challenge – but not an easy one.’

The first challenge: modern or retro?

Design competition at Solihull saw a shoot-out between rival studies by Ital Design, Bertone, Hefferman/Greenley (they of the Ssangyong Musso) and Land Rover themselves. Only Land Rover's and Bertone's designs were considered worthy enough to be translated into full-size clay.
Design competition at Solihull saw a shoot-out between rival studies by Italdesign, Bertone, Hefferman/Greenley (they of the SsangYong Musso) and Land Rover themselves. Only Land Rover’s and Bertone’s designs were considered worthy enough to be translated into full-size clay

Thomson needed to weigh-up the conflicting stylistic demands of the new project, stating, ‘We had to produce a familiar, yet contemporary design that would delight existing customers and attract new luxury car lovers.’ It seemed that there was no shortage of styling houses that were keen to undertake the task and, with the help of Pininfarina, Italdesign, Bertone and British Designers John Hefferman and Ken Greenley, Thomson’s team produced five separate models, which all sat on the upcoming LSE chassis with the longer 108-inch wheelbase. There was quite a range of designs, from the evolutionary in-house effort, to an advanced Renault Espace-aping one-box.

Ultimately, only the Bertone and in-house efforts were developed into full-size models, and it was at this point that market research and customer clinics were set-up to find out which would be the more suitable design. In one French clinic, which would eventually prove pivotal to the project, it became clear that the Bertone design just was not ‘Range Rover’ enough.

Bertone's design was compared with a similarly coloured Range Rover in order to be evaluated for suitability.
Bertone’s design was compared with a similarly coloured Range Rover to be evaluated for suitability

Overruling the Italians in favour of a Brit’s theme

Programme Director John Hall recounted: ‘…we showed one of the early design concepts where we put a lot of attention into making it compatible with luxury cars. This Frenchman said: “Theese carrr, eet ‘as lost eets Wellington boots.” At that time the rear quarter glass actually wrapped around the tailgate, which is a tremendous styling feature, but it wasn’t Range Rover; it wasn’t tough. The car also had body-coloured bumpers which aren’t practical, aren’t appropriate on a real 4×4 vehicle.’

Of all the prospective and existing buyers polled, the weight of support went for the more conservative in-house design, codenamed Pegasus. This came as no surprise to George Thomson: ‘The other designs provided a lot of inspiration, but our familiarity with the product and its customers gave us the advantage.’

The truth is that on this occasion, as on so many others, being led by customer clinic results led to a rather conservative car. It has to be said that the result was handsome, and it did grow on people – just as Land Rover promised it would – but it was not a leap forward in any respect.

Developing Pegasus to production

It was this model, Pegasus, prepared by George Thomson's styling team that was picked as the winning design.
It was this model, Pegasus, prepared by George Thomson’s styling team that was picked as the winning design

With the Pegasus styling scheme chosen, it was a simple task to transpose strong and traditional Range Rover styling cues onto it, to maintain that family resemblance so desired by the management. These cues were identified as a low waistline, straight flank feature-lines, dark window surrounds, floating roof and ‘castle’ ridges on the front corners of the clamshell bonnet.

This was a successful ploy – and anyone from 100 metres could tell it was a Range Rover. However, one disappointing aspect was the deletion of round headlamps in favour of large, rectangular items that looked out-of-place on an expensive car, planned for the 1990s. In fact, they looked to be standard Euro-issue items from 1980 and give the front end of the car a look distinctly reminiscent of the Talbot Horizon.

Wind tunnel testing successfully improved the original’s brick-like aerodynamics from a cd of 0.45 to an acceptable 0.38. This was achieved by subtly altering the rake of the grille, paying close attention to the glazing and adding small strakes on to the rear pillars.

What lay under the Range Rover’s skin?

In terms of body and chassis engineering, the P38A (an amalgamation of ‘Pegasus’ and ’38A’) retained much of the original’s underpinnings. The ingredients were familiar: a ladder-frame chassis (stiffened by 18%) with the body compliantly mounted in the interests of NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) reduction. Crashworthiness was also improved, with front and offset impact resistance improved with further chassis reinforcement. The fuel tank was also re-located to beneath the rear seat, and side impact bars were added to all the doors – all in the interests of improved safety.

All of the engines were new: two versions of the Rover V8 were introduced, in 4.0- and 4.6-litre forms. Somewhat like Trigger’s Broom, which had several new heads and handles, the venerable and constantly developed V8 continued. The 4.0-litre version developed 190bhp and 236lb ft torque, while the 4.6-litre developed 225bhp and 277lb ft torque. For the P38A, it was decided to look for a replacement diesel, as the old VM power unit would not cut the mustard in the larger car.

Programme Director John Hall’s search for a replacement diesel engine took him to six manufacturers including BMW. ‘I don’t think BMW realised what they had,’ Hall recalled, ‘It’s probably because the majority of the organisation was sporty petrol-engine orientated that the diesel engine is so bloody good.’ A deal was brokered, and Land Rover gained the right to use the straight-six turbo diesel – some tinkering to the ECU was made to give it a more favourable torque curve.

Range Rover P38A: the inside story

Range Rover P38 development story: Dashboard and interior were a huge leap over and above the original car's. The dashboard design, in particular, was pleasing - with it's swoopy centre console and car-like instrument binnacle.
Dashboard and interior were a huge leap over and above the original car’s. The dashboard design, in particular, was pleasing – with its swoopy centre console and car-like instrument binnacle

As befitting an entirely new car, the interior was completely overhauled as well – finally putting to rest the 1970 vintage dashboard architecture. The heating controls were simplified, and the adjustable ride-height controls were now totally intuitive.

The aim of the P38A programme was to improve interior quality, and bring it up to Germanic standards, as befitting the car’s upmarket role. Certainly, these goals were largely met, although designed-in quality still had a little way to go – put that down to the none-too-generous development budget.

Was the quality as good as the opposition? That would all become clear in the ensuing years.

To launch – and a mixed reception

When the Range Rover was launched on the 29 September 1994, it became the first Rover Group product to be launched after the takeover of the company by BMW and, although the Germans had no real involvement in the development of the P38A, Wolfgang Reitzle took a keen interest in it. He would have a great deal of involvement in the future of the P38A as well…

Autocar magazine (right) was complimentary about the first Range Rover it road tested, but did not go overboard in its praise. Comparing it with three rivals, it concluded: ‘It is the Range Rover that is unquestionably the car of the group, and so it should be considering its price. But even taking cost into consideration, its blend of effortless on-road performance and unimpeachable off-road authority means it cannot lose here.’

The magazine summed-up by saying, ‘Although not a generation ahead of its time like its predecessor, but merely a thorough evolution of a familiar theme, there is no other in its class to touch it.’

And that hit the nail on the head. The new Range Rover was undoubtedly a thorough makeover of the original, it did not move on the game nearly far enough. It should have done – the P38A was conceived with and ran on air suspension, which offered different driving modes, as well as an adjustable ride height. In 1994, this should have been a game changer.

BMW pushes the Range Rover upmarket – and quickly

By the time the P38A went on sale, Land Rover was fully under BMW’s control. As early as 1995, plans for the 1998 mid-life facelift were taking shape. The idea was to update the styling, and kill off the old Rover-based V8 engines, replacing them with all-new BMW units. The plan was to use BMW’s 3.5- and 4.4-litre V8 petrols and the company’s 3.0-litre diesel would supersede the existing 2.5-litre BMW unit.

The man in charge of Land Rover, Wolfgang Reitzle, clearly saw the car’s potential as a super-expensive luxury car and, as such, commissioned the potential upward stretch of the model. His idea was to fit parent company’s BMW’s 5.4-litre V12 under the bonnet of a range-topping model to creating the first £100,000+ version of the car. As Hilton Holloway recalled in 2013, ‘the bigger engine demanded a much longer (around six inches) front overhang which could have compromised the car’s off-road ability.’ Two running prototypes were built.

But Reitzle was unhappy with the quality of the car, and famously pulled it to pieces after sitting inside an example at Gaydon while wearing a blindfold. His touch test created a list of 70 issues that needed rectifying – and that was just inside – which led to the P38A’s comparatively short production run. That’s because Reitzle pulled forward the replacement L322 programme ahead of the Discovery 4 to create a range-topping car with quality that was worthy of its market position, and the 1998 facelift was watered down to incorporate mild cosmetic improvements and allow the improved ‘Thor’ versions of the Rover V8 to be used.

Developing the breed – with the Autobiography programme

img472 - 1a

The march upmarket for the Range Rover begin in earnest a year after the P38A’s launch. The 1995 London Motor Show saw the launch of the Land Rover Autobiography programme extended to the Range Rover P38A. You could add bespoke luxury features to either a 4.0 SE automatic or 4.6 HSE. Inside, leather seats were offered in a choice of Standard/Modern or Traditional facings, while there were no fixed exterior colours.


Additional wood and leather also upgraded the interior, and served to underline how complex and time-consuming building these bespoke cars, as it involved utilising the specialist services of a number of external contractors. Following completion of its assembly, each Range Rover Autobiography was then transferred to the LRSV operation.

At LSRV, each Autobiography P38A was carefully stripped of its removable body panels such as the doors, front wings, bonnet and tailgate sections in readiness for its hand-finished re-paint in the non-standard colour specified by the customer.

P38 Autobiography: boosting the entertainment

In 1996, the Autobiography programme was extended to include cutting-edge ICE. For the first time in an official Range Rover, you could get a television and video system with VHS player. This comprised of a TV screen in the back of each front seat head restraint and infra-red remote headphones to listen through.

In addition, you could specify Philips CARiN satellite navigation system which would become available from Spring 1997. To assist in the launch of this new feature and the other enhancements in the Autobiography programme, Land Rover enlisted the services of TV personality and long-standing Range Rover customer, Noel Edmonds, who made a special appearance on Press Day.

Some prices from the 1997 model catalogue show just how costly and luxurious these Range Rovers could end up being. Prices for the interior trim options included £411.25 for lambswool carpet over-rugs, £763.75 for tinted security glass, £934.12 for the luxury trim pack, £1116.25 for rear seat picnic tables, £3225.37 for special leather seats with perforations and £3231,25 for the Deluxe wood veneer interior. The TV and Video system was listed as having a recommended retail price of £9341.25.

A more luxurious production P38A: the Vogue arrives in 1998

In September 1998, the Vogue SE model was added to the Range Rover, further enhancing its luxury appeal. Based on the 4.6 HSE and limited to 220 examples, the 4.6 Vogue SE featured elements of the Autobiography personalisation programme. It wasn’t cheap at £53,750, but the 4.6 Vogue SE didn’t struggle to find keen buyers. Land Rover’s lesson learned was a simple one – the Range Rover was a premium product and owners were happy to pay to further personalise them.

In December 1998, a second edition Vogue SE was launched. Limited to just 100 examples, this time the colour-coding influence linked the seat edge piping with the Lightstone main interior colour. The showroom price for this latest version was £54,495. Eight months later and there was a third edition of the 4.6 Vogue SE for the home market, again based on the range-topping 4.6 HSE, but limited to 150 examples.

The Vogue SE lasted the rest of the P38A’s production run, receiving continuous updates, and further rises in price. It seemed as if buyers couldn’t get enough of costly Range Rovers. The last Vogue SE was launched in September 2001, and was limited to 300 examples. The price was £53,995 for the ‘standard’ 4.6 Vogue SE, rising to £57,995 when specified with the TV and DVD system. Clearly, P38A owners couldn’t get enough of more opulent Range Rovers and the Vogue SE nameplate.

Conclusion: is the P38A a great Range Rover?

Wolfgang Reitzle may be seen by many Rover fans as the embodiment of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse all rolled into one, but one thing he did understand was the value of the Range Rover – being as it was, the best in the world at what he did. And rather like Autocar, he came to the conclusion that, because of the way it was designed, it was not advanced enough to live a long life. One of his first decisions that affected Land Rover, was to abandon the Discovery replacement in favour of building a new Range Rover – which would owe nothing to the P38A.

So, in concluding this, how can the P38A be summed up? It was an almighty car – and certainly deserved to be called the best off-roader in the world at the time of its launch, but one cannot help getting the feeling that it will always be remembered as the one that came between the original Range Rover and the pace-setting 2001 interpretation.

It also ran up a reputation for horrendous unreliability in service, thanks to the flakiness of various cutting-edge electronics systems that had their first airing in this flagship car. Being remembered in that way probably does not do justice to the P38A, which in the fullness of time has emerged as a good classic Range Rover, and one with far more on- and off-road ability than its legendary predecessor. We hope that it will be remembered as much on the merit of its abilities, too.

Keith Adams


  1. I have always admired the P38A’s design, it is quite the masterpiece of subtle understatement and much more interesting to look at IMO than the current crop of blinged out Range Rovers that Land Rover chooses to inflict on us these days.

    Pure Class, I guess thats why they sold so many.

  2. I’ve got one, and I rather like it.

    You can tell it’s fundamentally a good off-road vehicle which is a very nice place to be, rather than a big posh car that happens to have 4 wheel drive (e.g. X5), but I like that.


  3. I have the 30th Anniversary model …( The Wimbledon green one) . I’ve always loved the shape of this model. I think the designers got it spot on. They needed to leave the old shape behind but not enough not to be reminded of it. I agree with a previous poster. The blinged out versions now are leaving the original concept behind. Perhaps because the competition has come up around it. Subtle change shapes in newer models are more pleasing to the eye. Don’t get me started on what they did to the disco, the BRINKSMAT bullion car shape. Lost the plot there.

  4. @ Ian Downie:

    You might be interested to learn that I run the historical register for the 2001 Model Year 30th Anniversary LE variants, as well as for the 1995 Range Rover Classic 25th Anniversary Final Edition.

    Please contact me if you would like some build information and a production number for your particular example.

    The 30th Anniversary LE was certainly an interesting looking variant of the P38A with its Wimbledon Green paint finish and Classic Green leather seats, taken from the Autobiography personalisation programme, and of course, the burr maple wood trim.

    • Hi David I too own a 30th anniversary,and absolutely love her. My query David is my car is 1 of the 50 with the television spec is there any way you could ID the production number of the said 50.
      Kind regards mark

    • Hi David with regards to the 30th anniverssary edition registrar you run , id be keen to know out of the 100 which production no it has , and also _/50 has it has the rear tv/dvd many thanks Carl Rollinson , email provided .

  5. Not a big fan of P38A, it was a very conservative replacement for the classic original, one very positive legacy of the BMW and Ford eras was the realisation that LR couldn’t keep on rehashing the ladder frame chassis forever.

    • Bit odd that it needed all that extra length. The V12 shouldn’t have been much longer than the 2.5 diesel, as it was effectively 2 banks of the small six. In the photo the nose is full of inlet and cooling plumbing, so maybe that was the issue. Overfinch squeezed 5.7 litres into the same space.

      And a V12 Range Rover had been done before – I’ve seen photos of a 2 door classic with the chassis lengthened behind the front wheels to take a Jaguar V12. Can’t remember who did it.

  6. Love the P38. Such a great looking car. More modern and versatile than the Classic, but not as vulgar as the L322.

    Stunning value these days, and would make a great second car for occasional use. Could handle the fuel thirst, but the internet stories about dodgy electrics and failing air suspension scare the hell out of me. Still find myself browsing the classifieds for these far too regularly though…

  7. @ Francis Brett:

    Quote: “Is the red one in the opening picture a Westminster edition?”

    No, definitely not, as the Westminster special edition of 2001 was only offered in Bonatti Grey, Blenheim Silver and Java Black. The car you refer to – finished in Rioja Red micatallic – is more likely to be a 4.0 SE or a 2.5 DSE from 1997 – 1999, judging by the wheel design it wears.

  8. The V12 P38 Range Rover front shows their thinking, with the circular lens-ed headlights, that led to the L322.

    Bit of a difficult task – resolving a square bluff front with modern round lenses that hark back to the circular items of the classic.

  9. I also notice that L405 has a deceptively long front overhang, somewhat purposefully hidden by the swept back grille styling.

  10. Hi , i have just bought a late march 2002 p38 in bonnatti grey ,an the very very best condition , everything works like the day it left the factory ,one owner before me , its a proper one with the 4.6 non gassed v8 ,sat nav etc etc , its an absalute peach and cost me £2000 ,not a mark on in or out and it just goes to proove they are out there and you do not have to pay over the odds , it is my daily driver and will remain so , its my 3rd p38 and the best and by the way they really are pretty reliable dont believe the bar room boys who have never owned one , go on treat yourself , they are fantastically good looking in a subtle way and so much better than an x5 , i know i have had one -oops sorry guv!

    • That is reassuring to hear. The 2.5 would be the head’s choice but there use to be a 4.0 a few doors up and hearing it leaving in the morning or just idling in the morning traffic as I walked by simply never got old. What I felt for the owner can only ever be described as respect , never dislike or disgust or inverted snobbery. Good luck to him. Certainly knocks the socks off most other cars.

  11. A car that’s looking better and better as the years roll by. Got to say I thought it was a disappointment in the looks department back in the day but a neighbour has just bought a tidy 4.0-litre V8 P38 in a classy light green and I am jealous.

    Although I might be able to afford the purchase of one I doubt if I could afford to run one, but the car was one hell of an achievement for Rover back in 1994. If I remember correctly, it’s development cost was a measly £300 million (and that included the cost of a new factory.)

  12. I’ve had an ex-F&C Office/ Diplomatic Service, Java-Black 4.0ltr for a few years now, which I absolutely adore – its one of those cars which just gets better and better looking with age…she still gets so many admiring looks too, just because of her age and superb condition…I use her constantly but maintain her properly with high quality parts…

    Being a Range Rover she does get her niggly little faults from time to time, but their never serious and are always VERY cheap and easy to fix – I must say, the laptop is such a useful tool to the current P38 owner…one that wasn’t available when these cars were launched (hence their ‘costly to maintain’ reputation ) but which now saves you a fortune in repair-costs!

    I’ve recently been considering replacing mine with either a Supercharged petrol or TDV8 diesel L322 – but looking at the £12k plus cost of a decent one of either, I’ve decided to spend a couple of thousend on my current car (purley on a bit of ‘titivation’) and keep her as a future classic instead…she still does everything I need her too superbly and isn’t loosing any money – so why not!!!

  13. Hi chaps, I wonder if any of you guys can help me, my father as just passed away and I have now become the owner of his 1994 4.6hse p38. It has covered 90.000 miles with full service history. It is totally original nothing has been added or taken off. Apart from leg system he had fitted about 5 yrs ago. It’s colour is dark Matalic burgundy with tan interior. It has always been garaged, and drives like new. It was reg on the11/11/1994 to a Range Rover dealer before my father. I didn’t think the she came out until 1995. I would love to find out more about the car and its value. Hope someone can help, many thanks.

  14. Thanks for the fun read. I’ve also been seduced by the P38 and I’m enjoying an Epsom Green 4.6 from 2000. For anyone buying one, or thinking of doing so I’d recommend investing in a Nanocom Evo diagnostic unit.

    They de-mystify the electronics and give you a much better understanding of what is going on if something does go wrong – and you can look up myriad of codes that _don’t_ light up the dash to make sure everything is running nicely before problems leave you stranded.

  15. late 2001 Diesel powered VOGUE. Kept it 5 years. BEST car I ever owned.
    NEVER EVER had any issues atall with it. Spent money on maintainace, and a few goodies for it. But never once did it let me down. Sad to let it go, but now we have moved on to another JLR vehicle.

  16. I had a new P38 4.0SE on Jan 1st 1995. It was Epsom Green with grey leather, reg M380 UFC and was unquestionably the worst car I have ever owned. And that’s saying something as it replaced a ’92 XJS! I was towed 4 times during the course of my 2 years of ownership.

    The first time (just after getting it) was because the suspension raised itself to off road height and refused to come down. I was 200 miles from home at the time. The second time (still within weeks of getting it) I stopped to fill up with gas on Western Avenue at 6pm in the snow, locked the car when I went in to pay and came out to find it would not unlock. The trick of putting the key in and turning it so many times to the left and right didn’t work because (as I discovered the next day after having been deposited at home on a low loader in Bicester by the AA at midnight) the dealer in Oxford had given me the wrong code! I was not a happy bunny but I still have the very expensive hamper he sent to placate me! The third time I had total electrical failure resulting in a new loom having to be fitted and the 4th time I was on the M1 on my way to my parents 40th wedding anniversary party in Bournemouth when the oil light came on. Fortunately I was at Watford Gap and pulled straight off. The result was a complete Engine rebuild, car less than 2 years old. I swore I’d never buy another.

    Fast forward to 2010 and I’d just moved to Indianapolis in the USA. I bought myself a new Camaro SS but realized that it would be useless come the winter so I bought a…………… ’99 P38 4.6HSE as back up! 3 years and 30k enjoyable and largely trouble free miles later I traded it for an L322. My wife has an Evoque and loves it and I’m on my 4th Jaguar in a row (F Type R – awesome) so I’m staying loyal to my roots!

  17. I must admit to being very fond of the P38A although I have stayed away due to poor reputation.

    Design wise the basic design is growing old gracefully ignoring models with ungainly bull bars, light grills, side steps, aftermarket alloy wheels, chrome accessories and serious off-road addenda.

    I wish Land Rover stylist had retained the original front split amber indicator/white side light arrangement of original Range Rover. It would have complimented the P38A rectangular headlights better and negated the need for white indicator lenses on later models. At the rear the taillights are unnecessarily large and should not have spread onto tailgate. Thankfully L322 rear styling conversion fairly straightforward.

    In the garage trade many refer to this model as the ‘Metrocab model’ which is unfortunate but understandable when you see the MCW Metrocab of similar vintage.

    The dashboard is my favourite bit of the P38A for some reason but comes across a bit Honda-esque but certainly no worse for it. It all ‘looks’ quality to my eyes and well made in a chunky style but again the electrical gremlin reputation and the blindfolded BMW exec says no.

    I will buy a petrol model at some point as prices are low preferably in white (not it’s best colour I know) with the later style front/rear lights and privacy glass with nice original alloy wheels. Body colour bumpers don’t look great on these. Nothing too fancy or leggy and I’ll ensure my RAC breakdown cover is in place and hope for the best.

    My local mechanic thinks I’m mad and is recommending I buy a Range Rover Sport (L320) instead with newer electrics and better build quality. That rear wiper is just putting me off…

  18. Christian Kay – In the garage trade many refer to this model as the ‘Metrocab model’ which is unfortunate but understandable when you see the MCW Metrocab of similar vintage. Not as bad as that dodgy mini rear cluster.

  19. If a pre-facelift P38A looked like a metrocab….Critics claimed L322 looked like a taxi when it came out in 2002 with it’s orange lights…..And L405 looked like a 2012 Ford Explorer…..Every Range Rover has had the negative press to some extent.

    I think the P38A is a very elegant, sophisticated car, and compared to these new Evoque,Velar’s and Sport’s, the P38A doesn’t try hard to gain attention. It’s a natural head-turner, with its clean lines, and perfect proportions……Rare models really did pave the way we see SVO models today, and if it weren’t for the P38A’s up-market exterior/interior design, Range Rover wouldn’t be half the brand it is nowadays…..I love my 1997 4.6 Autobiography with it’s all-wood dash/centre console, Connoly leather, and its sheepskin carpets. I will be keeping it forever…The Classic in 3-door form is a 4X4-Icon, however, the P38A is a Luxury-SUV-Icon. Everything after them kind of followed. The P38A’s future is bright and people are realizing what great value they are, considering Classic’s/Defender’s are 3x the price and are just as capable.

  20. The BIW project chief on 38a was a former press tooling chief engineer, he was well respected and very influential – what he said was law! The BIW panels on 38a were generally extremely feasible! I think George Thompson would have had a bit more shape here and there……..

  21. The evolution of the Range Rover:
    From a go-anywhere country estate 4×4 vehicle to a Gin Palace over 40 years

  22. Loved this article! I have read it multiple times, all the different years I considered buying one. I found one in GREAT shape and with the coil conversion done, so, even though I will miss out on the plush air suspension ride, it is one less headache, specially because I live in a country where there aren’t many specialist garages. I am now the closest I’ve ever been to buying one. It is in amazing condition, I already have a diagnostics tool and the seller is a friend of mine. I have seen first hand what he has done for it and what has failed in the past (the heater seats don’t work but it seems to be an easy fix, and the right headlight wiper doesn’t work but even if it isn’t an easy fix, it isn’t a deal breaker at all). I have been putting it off for quite some time but now I will take the plunge. I’m a good owner so I expect to be able to handle the problems it will inevitably give me, but I hope with solid maintenance, it won’t leave me stranded. Much. Wish me luck!

  23. Programme Director John Hall’s search for a replacement diesel engine took him to six manufacturers including BMW. ‘I don’t think BMW realised what they had,’ Hall recalled……

    They did. They then bought the whole company and dumped the P38a 🙂

  24. I own several P38s and have owned many more. I love them! My current slow-moving project is the rebuild of an SVC supercharged 4.6. Of which, I wish I knew more about as there seems to be so much lore around the Cameron Concepts/SVC trucks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.