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The Best New Range Rover You Can Get Is Only for Astronauts
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As children—and, let’s face it, as adults too—plenty of us have dreamed of joining that elite co-ed fraternity of people who’ve broken the surly bonds of Earth and passed the invisible line 50 miles high that formally separates regular old flight from space travel. It’s a small group who’ve actually pulled it off, though; over the last six decades, fewer than 600 people have officially earned the title. That’s set to change soon, however, with the forthcoming inauguration of eccentric billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic—a service designed to carry a handful of space tourists at a time high enough to earn them the title of astronaut (and a few minutes of weightlessness).
And as it turns out, those commercial space soujourners will be able to take home another souvenir beyond the best Instagram posts of their lives. Land Rover has announced those forking over $250,000 to fly into space aboard Virgin Galactic’s new spacecraft will also be able to grab a gorgeous, luxurious off-roader that wears the thoroughly awesome name of Range Rover Astronaut Edition.
The Astronaut Edition is based on the top-trim Range Rover Autobiography model, which comes packing everything from a supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 pumping out 518 horsepower (or, for the eco-friendly, a plug-in hybrid model with a turbocharged inline-four and a max output of 398 hp) to a high-end interior clad in some of the most delightful leathers, woods, and other materials found in any new car today.
The space-faring spec Range Rover adds on a gorgeous shade of cerulean paint called Zero Gravity Blue that’s sure to make it stand out amongst lesser Landies, as well as special badges on the side accents and tail; should that not be enough to set it apart, though, just open the door, and the puddle lights designed to keep you from stepping in something unpleasant reveal themselves to be in the shape of SpaceShipTwo, Virgin’s reusable rocketship.
The inside, however, is where the Astronaut Edition’s coolest piece of exclusive kit lies: the cupholders. Which, in the case of this Range Rover, include two inscribed pieces of wood from the landing skid from the VSS Unity, the first SpaceShipTwo-class spacecraft to actually reach space. Once the owner takes his or her flight into sub-orbit, however, those pieces will be swapped out with wood from the skid used on that trip, along with a dab of quotes or details from the trip if they’d like.
Other unique Virgin Galactic-design details abound through the interior: the constellation pattern found on the door handles and above the glove box; the small graphic chronicling the history of flying machines from the Wright brothers to SpaceShipTwo seen on the center console and rear armrest; and the outlines of SpaceShipTwo on the headrests. (The buyer can also choose to have his or her initials embossed onto the headrests along with the spacecraft, in case he or she is worried about climbing into the wrong one at the Spaceport America parking lot.)
While Land Rover didn’t announce pricing, the lesser Autobiography starts at $143,000, and the limited-run materials and nature of the Astronaut Edition mean it’ll almost certainly cost more. But again, seeing as how the only way to park one in your driveway is to park your butt on a spaceship first, those of us who’d rather not book a seat on Branson’s manned missile will just have to wait for one to show up on Bring a Trailer.