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How A Bad Review Led To Record-Breaking Diesel Range Rovers

Ever since the earliest Land Rover models, the marque has been home to a wide range of unique and unusual vehicles that have played a major role in automotive history, with a history almost as long of restorations and unique engines.

One of the most unique and impactful stories involving the Land Rover model line is how one bad review of a Range Rover galvanised the team to create one of the most incredible record-breaking diesel cars of its era, almost entirely out of spite.

The culprit was Chris Goffey, a motoring journalist working for the television magazine show Top Gear in 1986, a year before the show hired Jeremy Clarkson and underwent a metamorphosis away from its somewhat sedate magazine format.

Mr Goffey was politely but exceptionally critical of the Range Rover TurboDiesel, claiming that its Italian 2.4-litre engine was largely unsuitable compared to the famous Rover V8 that was the standard option.

Allegedly, the reason why was that Top Gear had, instead of going through Land Rover themselves to get a review-spec Range Rover, had instead taken one from an Italian car dealer out for a test drive.

Land Rover took the negative reviews exceptionally personally, and one particular manager who was a fan of motorsport, decided that the best way to show Top Gear up and prove the critics wrong was to use a diesel Range Rover to try and break a range of diesel car world records.

This led to the Beaver Bullet, which dispensed with the back seats, added a roll cage and added racing-specification fuel filters, but otherwise used the standard engine.

It would, over a three-day stretch at the MIRA Proving Grounds break 27 world records, including maintaining an average speed of over 100 miles per hour for over 24 hours.

Whilst it would not initially help the Range Rover Diesel in the UK, it proved to be a phenomenal success in continental Europe and arguably helped to revolutionise the name in time for the new millennium and beyond.

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