It was always a good motoring quiz question: what were the original Range Rover prototypes badged as? Now the whole world knows the answer to that as, 50 years on, the Velar nameplate again graces the front end of Britain’s luxury SUV icon.
FEB 22nd 2017
The new Range Rover Velar is Land Rover's Porsche Macan rival
It’s not on the big one, though, or the little one, or even the in-between one: the Velar is an all-new addition to the Range Rover line-up that squeezes in between the Evoque and the Sport, with high-performance SUVs like the Porsche Macan firmly in its sights.
And this is our first glimpse of it, ahead of a full reveal on March 1st and a place in the spotlight at the Geneva Motor Show a week later.
As the teaser pictures show, this is an entirely different breed of Range Rover. Design chief Gerry McGovern says: “The Velar is the avant garde Range Rover. It brings a new dimension of glamour, modernity and elegance to the brand. The Range Rover Velar changes everything.”
As revolutionary as the original Velar of the late 1960s? Only a handful of cars have ever been as influential as the Range Rover so the new one has a lot to live up to on that score. But from what we know of it so far, this is odds on to be one of the new-model hits of 2017.
Why was the name Velar chosen in the first place? The story is there was a Land Rover engineer who needed a decoy name to put the pesky journalists off the scent of the first luxury Land Rover. Remembering his Latin prep he thought of the word velare (to cover up).
The first 26 pre-production Range Rovers hid their true identity behind the Velar badge. These were not just fake badges either but the cars were actually road-registered to the Velar Company of London. The cat was only out of the bag when the Range Rover was announced in 1970.
Its return almost half a century later has to mark the first time a decoy name has actually made it into production.
Now there's an idea for a motoring quiz...
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