1987: First Official US Range Rover Model

1987 RR5

US Range Rover Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN)
Chassis & Suspension
Special Editions

Photo: Jack Hall's 1987 Range Rover fitted out with an aftermarket roof rack, headlight guards and brush bar. Jack has removed the factory front spoiler that came on all 1987 U.S. Spec Range Rovers and relocated the driving lights from the spoiler to the brush bar. Note exposed hinges on front doors and narrow plastic rocker panel trim strip, both characteristic of 1987 through mid 1989 models. In mid 1989 the doors were redesigned to hide the hinges and a wider rocker panel trim strip was fitted.

Introduction: The 1987 US Debut

The Range Rover first went on sale in the U.S. (and the first was sold) March 16th 1987.
Number built 1,542 U.S. (21,225 Worldwide)
Number sold in the U.S. during calendar year 1987 1,792
Base Price $31,375 (Kelley Blue Book) MSRP $30,825
Curb Weight 4,303 lbs.
Gross Vehicle Weight 5997 lbs. First 1987 built November 18, 1986
After 1987 most Range Rovers were first sold in the U.S. about 2-3 months after the build date.

US Range Rover Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN):
First U.S. Spec. Range Rover Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) SALHV114XHA277451
The Range Rover VIN translates as follows (the U.S. or Federal VINs are slightly different from European VINs):
SA = Built by Rover Group 
L = Land Rover Division
H = Range Rover
V = 100” Wheelbase U.S./Canada (The Range Rover was not sold in Canada until June 1990)
C= 108”
1 = 4 Door Station Wagon
1 = 3.5L Petrol Catalyst V8 Engine (2= 3.9L, 3 = 4.2L)
4 = Automatic Transmission 4 Speed Left Hand Drive
X = Check Digit (The Check Digit is the 9th digit on all post ’80 U.S. cars and the is determined by a mathematical equation using the other numbers and letters in the VIN)
H = 1988 Model year (the 10th digit on all post ’80 U.S. cars is a letter corresponding to the model year)
A = Built in Solihull England
Last Six Numbers = Build sequence number  


3.5L (3528cc/215 cubic inches) 150 hp @ 4750 rpm (15 less hp than the euro 3.5L that did not have  the three-way exhaust catalysts and other U.S. emissions equipment.) 195 lb-ft torque @ 3000 rpm 90-degree Overhead Valve (OHV) V8 aluminum alloy heads and aluminum alloy block with dry steel cylinder liners (3.5" bore x 2.8" stroke) 8.13:1 compression ratio.  Lucas 13CU Multiport L-Jetronic electronic fuel injection.  The electronic fuel injection on the Range Rover was similar to the EFI that had been using on the 3.5L V8 in Rover cars since the 1970’s (including the Rover 3500 that was sold in the U.S.), but it was tuned differently for low-end power and torque.   A Pulsair air injection system allowed fuel to be burned more completely.  California models had a vacuum retard device that reduced emissions to meet the more stringent emission standards for the state.  Unfortunately the vacuum retard device also reduced (the already low) power, but fortunately the small device is easily removed.  The RRNA official hp and torque figures for the California models were the same as the 49 state vehicles.  The engine had five main bearings, hydraulic lifters, and a Lucas 80 amp alternator.  Diesel engines were available in other countries, but were never available on Range Rovers imported to the U.S. by Range Rover of  North America (RRNA) or Land Rover North America (LRNA).


The transmission was a 4 speed ZF4HP22 automatic (the same transmission was used by BMW, Mercedes, and Volvo) with fluid lockup torque converter and overdrive 4th gear. (1st 2.48:1, 2nd 1.48:1, 3rd 1.00:1, 4th .728:1, R 2.086:1)  Manual transmissions were available in other countries, but never available on Range Rovers imported to the U.S. by RRNA or LRNA.


The transfer case was a 2 speed LT230T gear driven unit that provided permanent four-wheel drive with mechanical center differential lock (High 1.222 & Low 3.320).  Like other Land Rover models the parking brake was built in to the transfer case.

EPA 13 mpg city, 15 mpg highway

Chassis and Suspension:
The frame was a fourteen gauge box-section ladder-type frame with five crossmembers and ten mounting points for the body.  It was “Electrophoretically” treated for corrosion resistance.  All North American models had a Class III towing receiver.  Long travel coil springs were on all four corners, 133 lb./in. front and 127 to 180 lb./in. dual rate in rear.  Beam axles with “spiral bevel” differentials (3.54:1 ratio) and “fully floating” with 10 spline axle shafts (The axle shafts were upgraded to stronger 24 spline shafts in 1993)located by radius arms and a panhard rod in front, trailing links and a central “A” frame in the rear.  A self-energizing “hydromat” ride-leveling device is on the rear axle. and hydraulic telescopic shock absorbers at each corner.  Adwest Varamatic worm and roller steering box with Hobourn-Eaton power assist unit.  Four wheel power disk brakes with four piston calipers in front and two piston calipers in the rear (early 1987 models had an Automotive Products (AP) master cylinder with a pressure differential warning actuator, later 1987 models had a Lucas Girling master cylinder with a float that activated the warning light when brake fluid level dropped) with pad wear sensors on the front right and rear left inboard brake pads.  All U.S. spec Range Rovers came with 7x16 inch three spoke alloy wheels with an asymmetric rim hump to better retain a flat tire on the rim (tire shops will often complain that it is tough to get tires off Range Rover Classic rims).  All 1987 Range Rovers came in to the U.S. with the wheels painted two tone silver (light silver on the rims and darker silver in the center), but many dealers chrome plated the wheels.  According to Land Rover they got the idea for the three spoke wheel design from the 1979 Ford Mustang  three spoke wheels.  The tires on all 1987 Range Rovers were Michelin XM+S 200 205 R16 radials. The wheelbase was 100” and track was 58.5”.  <>


1987 rearAvailable Paint Colors (Paint Codes): Astral Silver Metallic (364), Cambrian Gray (348), Caspian Blue Metallic (366), Cassis Red Metallic (382), Chamonix White (354), and Cypress Green Metallic (367)

All U.S. Spec Range Rovers were 4 door models; the 2 door model was never imported to North America by RRNA or LRNA.  All outer body panels are aluminum except the steel hood (bonnet), tailgate, and rear corner panels.  The tailgate and rear window were split horizontally.

The door covering the fuel filler (the 1987 model was the first Range Rover with a door covering the fuel filler) locked along with the doors.  All but a few early 1987's had a black Land Rover badge on the grill (this grill was also new for 1987; previous Range Rovers had vertical salts in the grill.)

Black painted bumpers, Built in Class III towing receiver at the rear.  The plastic front spoiler had integrated driving lights.  The headlights were halogen sealed beam headlights with power wash sprayers built in to the front bumper.  Windshield washers were on the hood, and washer and wiper was also on the rear window. Sun Roofs were not available, but the design of the Range Rover roof was changed in 1987 eliminating the water channels above the front seat passengers in anticipation of a power sunroof option in 1988.  Both outside power mirrors were electrically heated (they turned on when the rear window defroster was turned on). 

Accessories offered by the dealers included:  brush guards, lamp guards, running boards and front mud flaps (rear mud flaps were standard).  Some dealers installed American Sunroof Corporation (ASC) tilt up sunroofs.  Factory sunroofs were not available until the 1988 Range Rover was introduced.

Photo above: Jack Hall's 1987 RR from rear: Note exhaust exiting to left on 1987 and 1988 models.

1987 Range Rover interiorAvailable Interior Colors: Osprey Gray cloth or Pembroke Gray leather
6 way power seats (more 1987's had cloth than leather upholstery) with adjustable armrests.
The only option that was available from the factory was leather seats.
Air conditioning, Power Windows
60/40 split folding rear seats, folding rear parcel shelf/loadspace cover
Leather covered 16”  two-spoke steering wheel.
Electric Cruise Control
Clarion NT-2 AM/FM anti theft stereo cassette with 4 speakers and a radio antenna on the rear window glass
Map pockets in door panels, Center cubby box
Woven deep pile removable carpet over rubber mats.
A special lytherm heat/sound insulation material was under the carpet and mats.
American walnut veneer door cappings.
Central locking on all four doors and the fuel door.
Child locks on the rear doors.
Front door puddle lamps and red door open warning lights
Rear window defroster 

Accessories offered by the dealers included: Floor mats, dog guard (with or without a shotgun rack), and sheepskin seat covers.

Photo: Interior of Charlie Steves' 1987 RR. Most obvious differences from later models are door panel trim design and cloth seats.

1987 Model Year Range Rover Special Editions:

There were not any Special Editions in 1987, only one model was offered 


Tom Collins (who later became the U.S. Camel Trophy team coordinator) and Dan Floyd finish 2nd overall in the Camel Trophy driving a Range Rover turbo diesel.

Median income for new Range Rover owners this year (remember we are talking 1987 dollars) was $200,000.  The demand for Chamonix White paint and leather upholstery that exceed the supply so plans were made to make more available in 1988.


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Page revised February 10, 2012