In Britain the more widespread use of
computers for storing information led to the introduction of the Data
Protection Act. This meant people holding information needed to be
registered and limited what they were able to do with the information.
Behind the scenes at Land
Rover Ltd there was development work going on to 'dieselise' the Rover
V8 engine. This was being done in association with the world-famous
Perkins company. There were several running units built under the ‘Iceberg’
project name, hopefully to fill the need for a diesel engine suitable
for the Range Rover and other vehicles of the future.
The engineers were also looking at the UK ministry
of Defence requirement which was to replace the 101 Forward control and
was known as ‘Truck Utility Heavy Duty’. It was supposed to
carry a two ton payload with a two ton unladen weight. The Llama would
appear a couple of years later but lack of a suitable diesel engine was
one reason why it was not taken up by the MoD.
The lack of a factory built diesel model was one
of the reasons for continuing poor sales figures of the Range Rover in
1984. Reliability problems meant the Iceberg project was scrapped and
the hunt was on for a suitable off-the-shelf engine for the Range
Rover. Land Rover’s own 2.5-litre engine was not seen as having
suitable performance characteristics for the Range Rover.
On the Rover car side, whose fortunes were still
interlinked with Land Rover Ltd as they were still both owned by the
government, the tie up with Honda resulted in the first front wheel
drive Rover car the 200 Series. It was a popular car and soon started
to turn in a profit for the car side.
The decades of profitable 4x4 sales propping up an
ailing car business had finally come to an end.
The 110, launched the
previous year with a 2286cc engine, got its much-needed larger, more
powerful diesel engine in February 1984. The new unit was based on the
old five main bearing 2286cc engine, but had a longer stroke taking the
capacity to 2495cc.
It featured the modern trend of a toothed rubber
belt instead of a timing chain to drive the camshaft and fuel injector
pump. The new engine gave a useful 67bhp.
In June the long awaited coil-sprung short
wheelbase model was introduced. After prototypes had been built at 100
and 90 inch wheelbases, the eventual 92.9 inch wheelbase was selected
as having a large enough load area and cabin space while still being
significantly shorter than the 110.
It was only available, initially, with the 2.25
petrol or the 2.5 diesel units. The front-end panelwork was shared with
the 110 but, for the first time on a Land Rover, there were wind-up
windows on the side doors, which were also introduced on the 110 at the
The new short wheelbase was available in all body
styles of pickup, hard top, soft-top and station wagon. It had servo
assisted disc brakes on the front axle and drums on the rear and the
option of power steering.
With the introduction of the ‘90’, as
it was called, production of the 88 inch leaf-sprung vehicle was
finished. The 109 inch continued for another year, however.
The Range Rover got a bit of a makeover in June
with the front door quarter windows deleted and a full drop glass
fitted. Better door-mounted rear view mirrors were now possible, as the
bigger windows did not restrict rearward vision.
The seatbelts were mounted on the
‘B’ pillar instead of the seatback, which made reclining seats
possible. The switches and instrument pod were revised with a rev counter
now as standard on a bigger pod.
There were many other improvements such as a
better heater and electronic ignition. There was also a
‘Vogue’ model instead of various fixed number, limited
editions of that name. Until this point the more highly equipped
vehicles had been sold as limited editions, but this was the start of a
conscious effort to push the vehicle further up market up into the
luxury car sector with ever improving interiors and specifications and
a price tag to suit.
The ratio of two-door to four-door sales reflected
this as well – 75 percent of sales were of the four-door
vehicles. The ‘farmer’s car’ concept was long gone
In Ethiopia there was a major famine which was the
reason why Bob Geldof got the world’s music industry together for
the Band Aid concert to raise money for food and medicine. It almost
seemed as if George Orwell’s book 1984 was coming true when the
first child was born from an embryo which had been frozen in Melbourne,
Australia. In India the Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated.