Personal effect

Renowned across the globe for their desirability, Land Rover’s range of luxury SUVs can also be tailored to taste. Simon de Burton meets the team behind the ultimate in exclusive drives

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It is agreed these days that personalisation is the true mark of modern luxury. As a result, the business of “bespoking” everything from suits to shoes and from homes to aircraft has never been more popular. But not until relatively recently has it been possible to obtain truly personalised versions of the world’s top luxury SUVs direct from the company that makes them.

We (be)speak, of course, of Jaguar Land Rover’s elite Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) division. Here, buyers of models such as the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport can make these already special cars indisputably their own, by taking advantage of an extensive range of personalisation options. “By offering the opportunity to curate a one-off vehicle, we’re reflecting the changing culture of the automotive world, particularly when it comes to meeting the expectations of our high-level customers,” explains Gerry McGovern, Land Rover’s Chief Design Officer. “People don’t always appreciate that ‘bespoke’ is not just about bolting on as many extra parts as possible — it’s about subtlety of design, about considered taste and, importantly, about knowing what to leave out.

Range Rover

“People don’t always appreciate that ‘bespoke’ is not about bolting on as many extra parts as possible — it’s also about knowing what to leave out”

“The bespoke service guides owners into creating a car with which they will have an enhanced emotional connection and will enjoy driving for many years to come, but which also faithfully reflects the ethos of the brand,” he says. Among those on hand to help is Senior Colour and Materials Designer Hannah Custance, a key member of the personalisation team that works face-to-face with customers ordering bespoke versions of their vehicles, such as the rare and supremely luxurious Range Rover SVAutobiography and the fire-breathing Range Rover Sport SVR. Depending on the vehicle, the bespoke team at SVO can create “matched-to-sample” paintwork, unique duo-tone finishes, bespoke-coloured brake calipers and exclusive exterior badges while, inside, special leathers may be specified along with ornate engraving, embroidery, commissioning plaques and treadplates.

“Buyers often go for bespoke paintwork, asking us to create colours that, for example, match a favourite item of clothing or one of their other vehicles,” says Custance, who came to the automotive sector from a background in fashion design. “We’ve also created interiors featuring everything from headrests embroidered with family crests to veneers detailed with customised graphics,” she says. Of all the bespoke Range Rovers that she has helped to create, Custance cites one particular car that she regards as a stand-out success. “It combined a modern take on classic Range Rover green, with an ebony and vintage tan interior and straight-grained walnut veneers, with the Union Jack embroidered into the headrests,” she explains. “It was simultaneously subtle yet obviously different and really represented the essence of what the bespoke programme is intended to be about — the idea that less can be more.” To discover more, visit: landrover.co.uk/SVO