The new Range Rover SVAutobiography is to top Land Rover’s flagship line-up. It’s a new badge, but one with a story behind it. LRO’s resident history buff James Taylor reveals the history of the Autobiography badge.
The SVAutobiography Range Rover, launched at the New York Show this month, is the latest in a long line of Solihull vehicles to bear the Autobiography name.
Autobiography was introduced as a bespoke finishing service for the Range Rover at the London Motor Show in 1993, but Special Vehicles soon moved on to building small-run special editions as well. The first was the 25-strong Range Rover Autobiography in 1994, characterised by the LSE's 4.2-litre engine in the 100-inch standard vehicle.
There was a pause before Autobiography was available for the second-generation Range Rover. Then from 1997 the scheme added satellite navigation, TVs and video systems to its special paint and trim options. Land Rover briefly considered extending Autobiography to Discovery and Freelander models in 2000, but the scheme was canned: new owners Ford wanted to keep Autobiography exclusive to Range Rovers.
And so it has continued. The third-generation model could be personalised from 2002, and the range of top-quality ICE, DVD and gaming options was increased further. Since then, Land Rover has increasingly put the Autobiography name onto very special luxury editions. The 2011 Autobiography Ultimate was the most expensive Range Rover yet at £120,000, and a year later the end of L322 production was marked by specially-equipped Autobiography models.
The first Autobiography derivative of the latest L405 Range Rover materialised in October 2013 as the long-wheelbase Autobiography Black. Now that JLR's Special Vehicle Operations has taken over the work once handled by Land Rover Special Vehicles, the top-model Range Rover sets a new price level. It's yours from £148,900 – or as much more as you care to spend.