A new range of Land-Rovers fitted with the 3½-litre V8 Range-Rover engine has been launched, initially for export only. The Land-Rover V8 slots between the six-cylinder model and the Range-Rover to give Leyland a stronger line-up against toughening competition in the four-wheel-drive market from vehicles like the new Mercedes-Benz G-class.
The Land-Rover V8 has permanent four-wheel-drive, with high and low ratio gears and a differential lock. An addition to the current four and six-cylinder, long and short wheelbase range, the V8 will be produced in long wheelbase form, either as a station wagon or as a pick-up, the latter available with hard/soft top or truck cab options.
The all-aluminium, push-rod, hydraulic tappet engine has been modified to give maximum torque at lower revs, than in its Range-Rover application: 166 lb. ft. at 2,000 r.p.m. compared with 186 lb. ft. at 2,500 r.p.m. The six-cylinder engine offers 122 lb. ft. at 2,000 r.p.m. A revised engine compartment and a modified bonnet and grille have been necessary to accommodate the V8. Many features available as optional extras to make current Land-Rovers more civilised are fitted as standard to the V8, which comes in a range of bright colours to help its image.
This new model is the first return on the £30 million, first phase investment by Land-Rover Ltd. to expand four-wheel-drive production facilities. A total expenditure of £280 million is scheduled by 1982. This first phase has lifted total Land-Rover production by 150 weekly, to 1,500, and the Range-Rover black-market should be reduced by an increase from 350 to 450 units weekly. Land-Rover Ltd. currently has 15 per cent of the world’s four-wheel-drive market.