In June 1994, two months before the official press launch of the new Range Rover, Land Rover registered a batch of seven pre-production vehicles for VIP and media evaluation. The very first vehicle to be registered was LR1, a 4.6 HSE pre production prototype, which was used extensively as Land Rover’s flagship press car.
She was test driven by Top Gear Magazine and appeared in a nine page feature in the November 1994 issue and was ‘the only example of Range Rover’s brand new, top-of-the-range 4.6 HSE on British roads’. The article entitled ‘Highland Fling’ started off in Chelsea, London and went from ‘Sloanieness to loneliness’ all the way up to Cape Wrath in the far north west of Scotland. The journey took them on a round trip of 1,818 miles of motorway, moorland and mud.
Also in the summer of 1994, LR1 was test driven by Tiff Needell for BBC Television’s Top Gear. The broadcast of his journey started off at the Land Rover factory in Sollihull and once again up to the Scottish Highlands. He was putting Land Rover’s claims to the test that LR1 was ‘the world’s most comprehensibly capable vehicle’.
LR1 also appears on ‘The New Range Rover’ promotional VHS video tape in some behind the scenes footage with Roger Crathorne, filmed in and around Athol Estates, Blair Athol, Perthshire, Scotland.
In 1996 LR1 was re-registered as L480 AVC and sold by the factory into private ownership. Throughout most of her life LR1 has been hard to spot as she has been disguised with private number plates. After spending several years in Bristol, LR1 is now being conserved in Scotland by experienced Range Rover enthusiast Graham Banks, she has full service history and no expense has ever been spared on her.