What Was Project Iceberg And How Did It Affect Range Rovers?

Throughout the entire life of the classic Range Rover, from its launch in 1970 up until the discontinuation of the Land Rover Discovery II, one of its biggest and most critical constants has been its incredible V8 engine.

The Rover V8 was a critical reason for the success of the Range Rover as a car for all reasons, providing enough refinement to allow for comfortable driving at 100 miles per hour, whilst also having enough power and torque to allow it to tackle any challenge put in front of it and win the first Paris-Dakar rally.

At the same time as the Range Rover was successful in so many different fields, its parent company British Leyland were undertaking one of the most ambitious modifications of the Rover V8 yet seen that became one of the greatest what-if stories of British motoring.

Project Iceberg was a prototype engine developed in collaboration with Perkins Engines that aimed to convert a Rover V8 petrol block into a diesel version intended to be large and powerful enough to sell in North America, where petrol engines were heavily restricted due to multiple energy crises in the 1970s.

It was an ambitious project, one that BL wanted to make an option for not only the Range Rover but also the Jaguar XJ Series III  and the Rover SD1 executive cars. However, the project was doomed by factors outside of its control.

Whilst there were issues with cooling and the cylinder heads due to the different properties found in diesel fuel, they were overcome but unfortunately not quickly enough.

In 1982, there was a decisive split between Rover and Land Rover to make the nationalised British Leyland easier for the government to sell, and Land Rover got the production rights to the V8 engine as a result.

The problem with this was that there was no capacity to make both petrol and diesel versions, and after seeing the continued dominance of high-capacity petrol engines in the United States after the industry recovered, BL pulled the plug on the project in 1983.

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