A Range Rover on the cheap

It is hard to imagine the current Range Rover line-up (‘flagship’, ‘upmarket’, etc) featuring a ‘van’ version, but there was a time Land Rover was happy to sell a Range Rover to a farmer, market vendor or carpenter. Just about anyone could walk into a Land Rover dealership and order a commercial Range Rover.

In the countries where these models were offered, it was mostly for tax reasons: cars for business fall into a lower bracket, so these Range Rovers with their backseat removed could sell for (much) less then their people carrying equivalent.

The earliest incarnation I could find comes from Denmark (see images above and below), where the local distributor had a Range Rover Van on offer. It is probably from the late seventies, early eighties. Look closely and you can spot the sliding rear side windows removed in favour of a one piece item with an awkward looking surround. The rest, save for the missing rear bench, is standard Range Rover. There even was an automatic option.

In 1983 the Dutch distributor offered the option of a commercial Range Rover. As with the Danish version the rear bench was removed, but the sliding windows remained. For a while at least. Behind the front seats, a low bulkhead was fitted (see image below) so the car would comply with rules for commercial vehicles (and tax cuts).

The 3 door commercial version was offered for many years, a 5 door version was later added. Not many 3 door commercials survive in The Netherlands, and of the ones not scrapped most have had their benches refitted. On a later version the windows were removed to comply with changed rules for commercial cars:

Around the same time, our friends at Bristol company S.M.C. Engineering introduced the Range Rover Saharavan, a Range Rover without side windows for the British market. The leaflet brochure reads ‘Being a commercial vehicle no car tax is payable and VAT is reclaimable (…)’:

I know at least the distributors in The Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, France and Portugal offered a commercial. The one by SMC Engineering was an aftermarket version and never officially sanctioned.

 Another image of a Dutch 2 seater Range Rover

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