The Geneva Motor Show kicked off today in the Swiss lakeside city that gives it its name. Always a good show for Land Rover fans, this year’s event was no exception. In addition to the Range Rover Velar, Land Rover also showed off a new Discovery in Austrian Red Cross livery, complete with an integrated drone launch pad. Aftermarket tuner Kahn Design also revealed its latest Defender project.
This was the first major auto show appearance for the Range Rover Velar, which made its official debut last week at private unveiling in London. The show stand featured the silver model from the London reveal. The Velar will make its stateside debut next month at the New York Auto Show before going on sale mid-year as a 2018 model.
What was unexpected was a work-ready version of the new Discovery, which is already on sale in Europe. Developed by Jaguar Land Rover’s in-house skunkworks SVO (Special Vehicle Operations) team, this Red Cross version of the Discovery – dubbed Project Hero – is equipped with a numerous special features to aid the relief organization in difficult conditions.
On the roof is a one-off drone pod that serves as both storage carrier and mobile launch pad. The drone, which can take off and land from the Discovery on the move, is intended to offer forward intelligence to workers before they enter dangerous conditions, such as natural disasters.
Inside, the Discovery is outfitted with a heavy-duty sliding floor that provides additional work space. A multi-frequency radio system is built in, and the rear quarter windows, normally bonded to the vehicle, open up to reveal built-in storage pods for mobile communications equipment.
Project Hero isn’t just a concept though. It will enter service in June with the Austrian Red Cross, working out of Vienna, the mountainous mining region of Eisenerz, and at the Red Cross training facility in Erzberg.
Notably absent from the Land Rover stand was a Defender. The last of the original models was built last year, and the next generation won’t arrive until next year. That doesn’t mean there weren’t Defenders to be seen, however. Geneva is notable as one of the most fashion-forward auto shows, and countless small design firms, coachbuilders, and aftermarket tuners show off their latest work alongside the OEMs. Among the regulars is London-based Kahn Design.
Kahn revealed a new project based on a Defender 90. Called the “End Edition” it pays homage to the end of Defender regular production. Finished in French Racing Blue with black leather sport seats and Chelsea Truck Company five-spoke alloys in charcoal, the concept was originally commissioned by Prince Michael of Kent (England), but is now available to other customers who desire the same styling.