In my mission to post something everyday, I thought that I should write more about the Land Rover Freelander, because there was a lot of information about it that didn’t make it into “The History Of Land Rover Part Two”. The reason is that would have made the post way over 1000 word which is too long. So here is the History of the CB40 project in full as I wanted it to be. The History Of Land Rover Part Three is taking longer to write because it’s hard to find information on the development of the newer models.
The Rover Group did some market research in the late 1980s and found out that there was a market for a compact SUV. The success of small off-roaders from Japan such as the Suzuki Vitara was enough of a reason for Land Rover to start on what would become the Freelander. This couldn’t come at a better time as word reached The Rover Group that German manufactures were developing vehicles for that sector of the market.
The development of the Freelander which at the time had the code-name CB40 started in the early 1990s with two cars being developed. A Land Rover and a Rover were being developed at the same time by the same people because Land Rover was still part of the Rover Group at the time. The Rover was called the Oden and the Land Rover was known as the Pathfinder. The design of the Pathfinder was completed in 1994, whilst the Rover Oden never made past the full size clay model stage as there wasn’t a market for a front wheel drive SUV, although that type of vehicle would later be called the “Crossover”.
The Freelander test mules were disguised as Austin Maestro vans. All 25 test mules were painted black or cream paint, disguised wheels, fuel fillers and older registration plates to make them as inconspicuous as possible. The Maestro van was the easiest vehicle because the “Pathfinder” was loosely based on the Maestro van, although that changed a year later. the van had been heightened which would have made them stand out.
The Test mules were powered by the Maestro van’s 2.0 litre Perkins Prima turbo diesel as that was the engine that was originally going to be used in the Freelander’s production, but wasn’t due to the poor build quality and very low outputs. The engine produced 81 BHP @ 4500 rpm and 116 lb•ft of torque @ 2500 rpm. The 2.0 Litre Rover L-Series engine (The production engine) was put in the Freelander in 1994. The Rover L-Series engine produced 99 BHP. (I couldn’t much more information on the Rover L-series with that tune).
By 1993 the Land Rover Pathfinder’s name had been changed to Freelander and as you can see by the picture above, the styling had pretty much completed. the main difference between the Pre-production and the production models was the Bull bar that was added for testing in Australia. As I’ve already stated, this car would have had the Maestro’s 2.0 litre turbo diesel. It also had the Rover PG1 gearbox which is the same gearbox that was used in the Lotus Elise. There were 150 pre-production vehicles, and only a few of them are left. The rest were crushed.
i just started researching for a blogpost like this
i geuss i will have to choose a different topic now sighs
Why not choose a different car. I see that you like JDM as it’s in your name, so choose something in that category. If you choose something that you like, then writing about it gets a lot easier.
I can help with information Kalem.
Is it information about the Rover L-series? that’s the one thing that I couldn’t find much information on.
Brilliant post, the development of the Freelander was done through so many weird shapes:)
Thanks. I think the Production models have the weirdest shape.
These weird shapes are still present today if you look closely, for example the roof of the Freelander 2 was pretty much copied straight from the original, and the bottom of the A-pillar of the Discovery sport is the same as well