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Project Kahn Confuses its Rover Audience

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Posted On: Jun 15, 2011 By: Hildy Schott Category: Land Rover News

See if you can guess where this quote came from:

“Few break free from the pressures of conformity… to do so convention must be challenged and existence redefined. Once boundaries are rejected it is possible to believe that the world can be changed.”

Project Kahn Confuses its Rover Audience

If you guessed it came from a speech by anyone in the same social-change vein as Martin Luther King Jr. or Gandhi, you are wrong. You are also wrong if you think it came from a sociology student’s term paper or even from the author of Fahrenheit 451. The above quote is the introduction to the website of Project Kahn, a self proclaimed “automotive fashion house”—a fancy way of saying that they’re an aftermarket tuning house, souping-up already snazzy cars like Aston Martins, Porches, Ferraris, and your favorite, Land Rovers.

Confused? You’re not the only one. Many other diehard LR fans can’t figure out why this company is trying to market itself as a mechanism to break free of conformity, let alone why anyone would want to further glamify Rovers, which were traditionally built to get down and dirty off-road.

In the comment section of one article that showcased two of Kahn’s recent Rover projects, the RS600 Cosworth package for the Range Rover Autobiography Edition and the Black Vogue, Rover fans expressed their distaste for and puzzlement about Kahn’s makeovers. One person wrote, “this thing just… confuses me…” while another said the tuning project “manages to simultaneously lose both elegance and off-road ability. Let LR do their thing.”

But letting LR “do their thing” is the opposite of what Project Kahn wants to do. In a press release about their update on Rover’s “Stormer,” Kahn took a jab at Range Rover’s off-road mission, and stated that PK was “disappointed with the final road going version of Range Rover’s concept car, the Stormer. The Stormer was a staggering concept car, however the need for Range Rover to make their cars able to go off-road has left the Sport toned down to the point of boredom. Project Kahn is not limited by these requirements and decided that people need a car that looks amazing on the road much more than they need the ability to go off-road.”

Looks vs. Off-roadability

While this attitude might appeal to city drivers, the conventional rover fans indeed want and like the off-road capabilities and don’t think Project Kahn really understands the Rover spirit. Certainly Rover also markets to the urban crowd (take, for example, Evoque’s Pulse of the City campaign) but this image is a more recent phenomenon in the history of Land Rover who has built a fan base that loves the rough and tumble image of off-roading.

Off-roading Rover

One member of the World Car Fans website put it like this: “I like the work Kahn Design does on supercars like Astons and Ferraris… but not so much on Range Rovers.”

Clearly a market must exist for Project Kahn’s expensive Rover alterations or they wouldn’t keep pumping new projects off the line every month or so. It just seems that “rejecting boundaries” would be more of an off-roader’s mantra as someone who breaks free of pavement's confines, not the motto of a city slicker living on a concrete grid.

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