Not only is there a plethora of stalks and gauges pinched from a series of dreary British Leyland cars, this being a pre-prod’, there are also a selection of make-do switches that wouldn’t look out of place in a man’s shed. A fire extinguisher attached to the centre console area is a reminder that this Velar was a running test bed rather than the finished article a customer would have happily paid just under £2,000 for in 1970.
It’s here where the Velar feels so very different from the new Velar – despite it being a step on from the Land Rover, the original Velar is still painfully agricultural compared to later Range Rovers. But there are some similarities such as the driving position. Despite its ripped appearance, you sit perched high looking out over a squared off bonnet, clutching a thin steering wheel and you somehow feel slightly better off than all other road users.
Twist the key and the 3.5-litre V8 fires into life. Touch the throttle and the Velar gently rocks from side to side on its suspension. Grab the ungainly looking gear-lever and shove it into first and the engine idly growls and you just waft away. With 130bhp and geared for the best off-roading performance, progress from the V8 is slow – as is the steering. It’s vague, but it’s a world away from the contemporary Land Rover Series IIA in being easier and more comfortable to hustle along a country lane.
So why has Land Rover decided to resurrect the name on a car that bears little in comparison with this car? Well, it could be because the original Velar was such a transition from what went before, and the new one is a big step on from the current Range Rover line-up. Perhaps the Velar name is apt for the new car after all.