Midnight Express |
To highlight the near-endless colour spectrum available to customers as bespoke commissions, Land Rover has made 27 custom Range Rovers in a variety of unique hues available to local customers. The special collection includes 20 Range Rover Sport SVRs finished in Stimela sa Sebusuku (Midnight Train), and we sampled one.
Besides a one-off commission, this is probably the closest you can get to the pinnacle of exclusivity – owning one of only 27 custom-built Range Rovers finished in eight specially formulated colours with South African-inspired names.
Similar to the one-of-a-kind Range Rover Sport built-in 2019 as a tribute to the Springbok rugby team – and finished in the exact Pantone green as the team’s logo – all 24 Range Rover Sports and three Range Rover SV Autobiography Dynamics were put through their final paint processes at the Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) Department of Jaguar Land Rover in Warwickshire, England.
The colours have been assigned South African-inspired titles, to add a local element to the project, and all 27 vehicles are already on sale countrywide. Besides the SVRs finished in Stimela sa Sebusuku, the single Range Rover Sport SVRs are finished in izi Khaleni Plum, 1,000 Hills Green, Namaqua Orange, and Egoli Yellow. The single Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic (SVAD) units are available in Bantry Blue, Sibudu Stone and Sudwala Eve.
In addition to their unique paint coats, each of the Range Rovers also boasts custom door sill plates etched with the words “Built by Special Vehicle Operations”, and circular B-pillar badges etched with “SVO Bespoke” logos. Buyers of these vehicles will receive certificates of authenticity, embossed with SVO logos matching the respective special paint finishes and naming the South Africa-inspired colours.
Big, Bold, Imposing
Much like the midnight black steam locomotives of yore, the deep satin black Stimela sa Sebusuku finish on the Range Rover Sport accentuates its graceful yet dynamic lines. Although we soon found out, it is pretty challenging to capture this matt hue in photographs.
According to Land Rover, the unique paint finish pays tribute to the iconic mode of transport responsible for making Mzansi what it is today. So, with the 2013 tune “Midnight Train to Jozi” by Malawian-born and South African raised hip-hop artist Aemo E’face as inspiration, we took the unique Sport SVR to a deserted rail yard for our photoshoot.
In Stimela sa Sebusuku guise, the already big and bold SVR (with some Carbon edition elements, including dark tinted windows, blackened out decals, dark five split-spoke 22” alloy wheels, panoramic sunroof and red brake callipers) is even more imposing – bordering on the brash and brazen.
Inside, the bespoke SV treatment includes a set of red anodised shift paddles and a unique colour combination of Ebony and Pimento Windsor Leather upholstery. While some may find the mix of colours garish, it does grow on you, and the quality of appointments and attention to detail is irrefutable.
Under the hood nestles Land Rover’s most potent powerplant, and with its rowdy start-up, the 5.0-litre supercharged V8 will rudely waken any overtired passenger on the midnight train. Its loud V8 burble indicates the latent power under the hood – 423 kW and 700 Nm of torque sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
This allows the 2,310 kg performance SUV to reach 100 km/h from standstill in 4.5 seconds, with a reported top speed of 283 km/h. Nowadays, a train trip from Cape Town to Johannesburg takes between 26 to 31 hours, but with all that power under the dome, this Midnight Express will complete the 1,600 km road journey in less than 12 hours (at motorway speeds) – effortlessly and in the utmost comfort.
The custom-paint applications are not limited to only the 27 offerings mentioned above, as personal colour preferences can be applied to the Range Rover Sport SVR, Range Rover SVAD and Jaguar F-Pace SVR vehicles through the match-to-sample service of SVO. Be prepared to cough up, though, as the price tag of our featured black beauty is north of R3.1 million.
Whether it is a specific brand identity, a favourite pair of shoes, family heirloom or anything else, SVO can match the colour as closely as possible to deliver exceptional finishes. So, if you want your own Midnight Express, contact any Jaguar Land Rover dealer with your bespoke commission to be fulfilled by Special Vehicle Operations in the UK.
Report by Ferdi de Vos | Images © Ryan Abbott