The Range Rover was greeted enthusiastically by both press and public on its arrival in 1970, offering comfortable cruising at 90mph and a greater off-road capability than most of its customers would ever need. The fact that the original lasted in production for an amazing 24 years before being replaced in 1994 only serves to illustrate the soundness of the original concept. Indeed, the ‘old’ Range Rover – evocatively renamed Range Rover Classic – did not disappear immediately but continued to be built for another year alongside the new version.
Determined to ensure Spain’s stability after his death, the dictator Franco, then head of state, designated an apparently pliant Prince Juan Carlos his successor in 1969. The young prince was carefully groomed for his new role and started public life in earnest, making official trips at home and abroad. On November 22, 1975, two days after Franco’s death, the 37-year-old prince was proclaimed the King of Spain.
Unsurprisingly given the political climate of the time, this special armoured Range Rover was commissioned by King Juan Carlos in 1977, ordered from Alcom Devices in London. One of the first projects became known as Alcom, a James Bond-like communication system for Juan Carlos, which made it possible to track him in cars, yachts, helicopters or anywhere else. The radio communication was scrambled to prevent eavesdropping, and was fitted into Juan Carlos’ Range Rover. The bodywork was modified with 10mm bulletproof glass all round, and the front of the car was designed in the shape of a battering ram, to aide escape from hostile situations.
The interior, in collaboration with Wood & Pickett of London, was highly luxurious; with leather Recaro sports seats to the front, a leather bench seat in the rear for the bodyguards, and a set of glasses with a decanter. A number of buttons and switches are divided over the middle and roof console. These were not just to manage the communication system, but also the spotlights, television, siren and blue lights. The Range Rover also has a built-in fire extinguishing system and an oxygen cylinder, and even a real smoke bomb cannon with vents on all sides with which to create an all-round smoke screen.
Now offered from a Dutch Range Rover collection, the Alcom shows only 3,300 kilometres recorded from new. The engine and the gearbox are as smooth now as the day the vehicle was delivered, indeed the overall condition is excellent all round.
Supplied with documentation of its history, and with Dutch registration papers, this is without doubt a unique opportunity for the serious collector.