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.
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