In the early 1970s, I used to drive to work by picking my way through Chelsea. En route, I often saw one of the new Range Rovers in Park Walk. A green one, to be precise. Sometimes it was muddy, which reinforced the idea that it lived in the country too. After all, in those days, that is where it belonged.
Some months later, the owner added gold coach lines. He had urbanised his workhorse, and not long after that, Range Rovers became luxurious vehicles. No longer the plastic interior that could be hosed down on the farm. Now it was wood, leather and carpet. The SUV market had been conceived.
Now nearly all marques have an SUV. Even Bentley has one, as does Tesla and Porsche; Aston and Rolls are both planning one and Ferrari is thinking about it too. Range Rover itself now has four variations on the theme, and then there are the Land Rover offerings. It has been riveting watching this phenomenon shape up over the past 40-odd years, from early Range Rover to ‘Chelsea Tractor’. Stephen Palmer Marlow, Buckinghamshire