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How Cream’s Drummer Proved Range Rover’s Mettle

It is difficult to explain just how much of a game-changing machine the original Range Rover was when it launched in 1969, and alongside the Land Rover Series III and Mini Cooper is amongst the greatest and longest-lasting cars made by the former British Leyland.

However, a lot of its early acclaim was not found in the same place its robust stablemate the Land Rover did, with the latter having a bulletproof reputation that thanks to Land Rover engine repair services means that many models still run strong today.

Instead, it was found on the road, reaching speeds a lot of saloon cars did not whilst not having the same compromised handling a lot of its contemporaries did.

However, whilst it was seen as having potential as an off-roader, its credibility would be proven thanks to an unlikely figure.

Dubbed the first superstar drummer, Ginger Baker was a pioneering rock music legend but had a profound interest in African music. To follow that interest he decided he wanted to set up a recording studio in Lagos, doing so in 1971.

He decided he wanted to travel there via the Sahara Desert and to face such a long journey, there was only one possible vehicle that would complete the journey across multiple rough sets of terrain.

Whilst the journey and subsequent documentary Ginger Baker in Africa were largely focused on music, it did highlight the Range Rover’s exceptional durability, and this particular trip would influence the development of an expedition through the Darién Gap in 1972, and the 1974 World Cup Rally.

Eventually, this would become the annual Paris-Dakar Rally, with the Range Rover winning the inaugural event in 1979 as well as the 1981 edition, showcasing that whilst the Range Rover was quickly becoming an upmarket vehicle, it was still one of the most capable offroaders on the planet.

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