The Range Rover Turbo Diesel ‘Beaver Bullet’ Was Built Because Of A Bad Top Gear Review

This classic Range Rover isn’t just another car as it’s probably the world’s only vehicle built as a response to a negative review.

It all started during the early days of the Top Gear TV show in 1986. Chris Goffey, the presenter of the popular show at the time, was one of the first to drive the then-new Range Rover diesel and suffice to say he wasn’t impressed.

The Top Gear presenter criticized the 2.4-liter VM diesel engine as being much less refined than the 3.5-liter V8 petrol unit, among other things.

Legend has it that the actual Range Rover delivered to Top Gear never went through the company’s pre-delivery inspection, let alone a detailed preparation by Land Rover’s press garage which ultimately led to the negative review.

“A lot was riding on the new diesel Range Rover at the time, and the team involved in creating it were understandably very disappointed by the negative media coverage,” said Gary Pusey, Land Rover Legends Content Director.

“A manager at Land Rover who was into competitive motor sport came up with the idea to make an attempt on a raft of diesel vehicle sprint and endurance records, and the project quickly gathered momentum,” he added.

Land Rover built two diesel-powered Range Rovers that subsequently took 27 sprint and endurance records at MIRA. The team’s achievement was even greater if you think that its members were unpaid volunteers working in their own time.

Modifications on the record cars included two racing-spec fuel fillers on the rear tailgate, a full roll cage, quick-release bonnet catch and the removal of the passenger and rear seats, among others.

Despite not selling well in the UK, the VM-powered Range Rover proved to be a huge success in continental Europe, especially in the markets with punitive tax regimes on vehicles with engines greater than 2.5-liters. The original 2.4-liter unit was replaced by a 2.5-liter one in 1989.

The ‘Beaver Bullet’ with the number plate B378 TAC will be presented in its original and unrestored condition at the upcoming Land Rover Legends event at Bicester Heritage, UK in May.

  • Christian Wimmer

    “The Top Gear presenter criticized the 2.4-liter VM diesel engine as being much less refined than the 3.5-liter V8 petrol unit, among other things.”

    Um…. yeah…like duh?

  • Not that I take side with old Top Gear (Yes kids, Top Gear exist before you knew the trio). The VM Diesels is rather crude and harsh, yes it does it jobs but totally unacceptable for Range Rover at that time.

    Things were only get better when we got BMW diesel powered P38 series.

Here’s What It’s Like To Own The Nissan Leaf For A Year

The long-term test reveals the ups and downs of actual Leaf ownership.

Next-Gen Kia Optima To Have A Progressive Design With A Strong Identity

The upcoming Optima probably will be more conservative than the new Hyundai Sonata.

Porsche Cayenne Coupe: Should You Cancel That Bimmer X6?

Was the Cayenne Coupe worth the wait? Yes, it was – and then some .

Check Out The Fun Exterior Colors Of The Hyundai Venue

Sales of the Hyundai Venue in the United States will commence later this year.

Can The Audi Q8 Make A Statement Among Other SUV Coupes?

If comfort is what tickles your fancy, then the Q8 is apparently the one to go for.

All-New Opel Corsa Gets Dressed In GSi Suit, Tries On An OPC Tux, Too

Apart from the usual versions, the brand new Corsa will also come in warm and hot hatch guise as well.

The Airbus Alpha Two Is The Company’s Flying Taxi Future

The Airbus Alpha Two has completed a number of test flights and hit 170 km/h.

Audi Considering An All-Electric A8, Decision Still Pending

What’s next? Electric BMW 7-Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class? Quite possibly, yes.

What If The Aston Martin DB11’s Replacement Were An Edgy Shooting Brake?

The DB12, as we expect it will be named, will undoubtedly be a very high-tech product.

2005 Noble M12 GTO-3R Is For The Hardcore Driving Enthusiast

The M12 GTO-3R is powered by a 360 HP twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 engine from Ford.