Jaguar / Land Rover love to celebrate reveals and anniversaries with world firsts as of late. To introduce the new Jaguar F-Pace, the U.K. automaker sent it through the world’s biggest loop-the-loop.
Now, to commemorate the 45th anniversary of Land Rover’s flagship Range Rover, the full-size luxury SUV was driven over a bridge made of paper. The freestanding structure in Suzhou, China, covered 5 meters without glue or bolts to hold it in place.
The bridge was hand-built by artist and paper bridge designer, Steve Messam with paper supplied by British manufacturer James Cropper PLC. It took three days to construct in Suzhou, China, which is famous for its bridges and often called the “Venice of the East.”
“Paper structures capable of supporting people have been built before but nothing on this scale has ever been attempted, said Messam. “It’s pushing engineering boundaries, just like the Range Rover, and the ease and composure with which the vehicle negotiated the arch was genuinely breathtaking.”
Land Rover’s Range Rover became the world’s first luxury SUV when it debuted in 1970 and was the first vehicle to drive across the Darien Gap in Central America two years later. In 1989 it was first 4×4 to be fitted with ABS anti-lock brakes and introduced both Electronic Traction Control and electronic air suspension to the segment in 1992. Furthering the trend, the fourth generation Range Rover that launched in 2012 was the first all-aluminum SUV.
Land Rover Experience Chief Instructor Chris Zhou navigated the paper bridge by using the vehicle’s suspension management systems to maintain the delicate structure during its trek. Specifically, All-Terrain Progress Control (ATPC) allowed Chris Zhou to concentrate on steering the vehicle while maintaining a set speed ranging from 1-19 mph without any pedal inputs. This system is traditionally used on wet grass, sand, and other loose surfaces, but it worked perfectly for the paper bridge too.