Concepts and prototypes : Range Stormer (2004)

The spritual successor to the 1970 Range Rover was revealed at the 2004 Detroit Motor Show…

Beguilingly handsome and with blue-chip credentials, it had a massive influence on the future of Land Rover.

Range Stormer: the future laid out

Land Rover made history at the 2004 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, by unveiling its first ever concept show car, the Range Stormer. The Range Stormer was a high performance SUV concept, which showcased a future design direction for Land Rover.

It also previewed a new production model that would enter a fresh market segment for the company and be an additional model line in the Land Rover portfolio.

Commenting on the new concept, Land Rover’s then Managing Director, Matthew Taylor, said: ‘The supercharged V8 Range Stormer gives a taste of our forthcoming new entrant in the booming high performance SUV segment. The production vehicle that follows will share many of its styling and technical innovations. It is very much conceived to be an on-road, performance machine, as well as class-leading off-road like all Land Rovers.’

No production plans, but…

Stormer Designer, Richard Woolley, stated at the time: ‘There are no plans to build the car, but I know that over 200 people have said they’d be ready to buy one irrespective of cost! The car is a precursor of a new car from Land Rover late this year.’

Geoff Upex, Design Director at Land Rover, added: ‘The challenge was to translate fundamental Land Rover design values into a concept for a high performance machine that looks powerful, muscular and edgy.

‘We certainly want to challenge established views of our vehicles, but the Range Stormer is still clearly an authentic Land Rover.’

A technical showcase

Future technologies previewed with the concept included an all-new platform that became the basis for future full-size Land Rover models. This advanced, integrated platform, unique to Land Rover, provided the underpinnings for the production vehicle inspired by the Range Stormer.

The trick doors were also a motor show crowd pleaser as Woolley related: ‘As for the doors, yes, I wanted them to do a bit of ‘showbiz’ at Detroit, so came up with the idea of split ‘blade’ and ‘runner’ doors. They were operated by remote control for the show, as were the tailgate, and all the lighting functions.’

Terrain Response debuts

Another major innovation showcased was Terrain Response. This smart and simple-to-use new Land Rover technology delivers the best possible on- and off-road composure and control by optimising the entire vehicle set-up, including suspension, powertrain, throttle response and traction control.

The driver simply selects the appropriate Terrain Response setting from the six available and the vehicle does the rest, using technology that offers a choice of settings from ‘dynamic’ for high speed work to ‘deep ruts’ for extreme off-roading.

Matthew Taylor concluded: ‘You’ll be seeing an increasing amount of innovative technology in future Land Rovers. But technology that makes the driver’s task simpler not more complicated, such as Terrain Response.’

Packed with tech

The Range Stormer was completed with the support of suppliers Alps (electronic systems), Hella (interior and exterior lights), Alcoa (22in forged alloy wheels) and Goodyear (custom-made tyres).

Interestingly, the Stormer was a fully-functional driver, as opposed to a static motor show exhibit: ‘[The] concept is driveable, and powered (for expediency) by the good old Rover V8, in 4.2-litre guise. With its bespoke straight-through exhaust it sounds fantastic!’


Although the production Range Rover Sport looked nowhere near as advanced as the Stormer, it did forge ahead with a sportier attitude that simply wasn’t part of Land Rover’s DNA beforehand.

It would be later followed up by the Evoque, which clearly leaned heavily on the pioneering Stormer and made it into production with uncorrupted concept car looks.

So, although we didn’t know it at the time, the Stormer really was an SUV pioneer and deserves its prominent place in Land Rover history.

Keith Adams


  1. Isn’t Richard Woolley the man who styled the Rover 75? He’s heading to the top of my list.

  2. If anyone wants to go and see this inspiring design concept it is currently on display at the Heritage Motor Centre.

  3. Time is proving the Range Stormer to have been much more influential than I (and probably many others) thought it would be at the time.

    Not just a prototype RR Sport it has set the style for the entire RR range

  4. Was loving it until I saw those daft doors – how exactly are you supposed to get in without skinning your knees?

  5. Nice article but it doesn’t have a Rover V8. It has a Supercharged Jaguar AJ33 V8 de-tuned to 330 BHP. It’s the same engine that was later used in the Range Rover L322, L320 and various Jaguars.

  6. My mother told me that, when I was a very young child, I pointed to a baby in a pram and asked, “What’s it for?” I have the same question about most so-called “concept cars”.

  7. ‘Concept’: Idea, notion or thought. So that will be a ‘concept’ car I guess Eric.

  8. Surely it is a given that every ‘concept’ must have weird doors? But I never yet saw one with bottom-hinged doors? These would be terribly practical in ‘passifying’ cyclists, be used as picnic tables and as a great bonus allow several extra standing passengers to be carried to the next Covid-19 date. Once flying cars are established in the next Bond film they could become inbuilt wings, and Sully could practise landing one on the Hudson River.

    But I REALLY think the styling studios have missed a trick with the windows. Surely if they were re-sited in the lower half of the door this would enable us to leer at the tasty occupants of the car, without being noticed. You choose which sex.

  9. And a couple of years after the Concept was first shown I was stopped in my tracks by finding a Range Stormer parked outside the London Hilton Hotel. The same styling, the same doors, the same colour and [inevitably] Dubai plates.

    How could that be possible? Despite the interest the concept had provoked Land Rover had been clear that this was not going into production (we know now that it was just a ‘teaser’ for the idea of the RR Sport).

    But it turns out that a few wealthy enthusiasts were so enamoured of the concept that they commissioned West Coast Customs to create a handful of these cars on Range Rover chassis.

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. News : AROnline readers vote with their wellies… (or is it Jimmy Choos?) | AROnline

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


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