London, England - This is the very first production Range Rover - chassis number #001 - and it's up for auction in the Salon Privé Sale at Syon House on 4 September. But how it got there was far more of an adventure than the fate of most 'first off the line' production units, which usually go straight into the factory museum.
The Range Rover story began in 1967 when Rover acknowledged the demand for a new, more recreational type of off-road vehicle, and development began, headed by Charles Spencer King.
This car, the first production unit, was built little more than two years later, between 24 November and 17 December 1969 - nearly six months before the official launch date of the Range Rover - and was registered on 2 January 1970 to Michael Furlong, the producer of two promotional films for the Range Rover, the first of which you can watch below.
OFF THE RADAR
Furlong sold the car - by then re-sprayed in metallic gold - in 1975, and changes in its registration number, as well as more re-sprays, resulted in chassis number 001 dropping off the radar for a number of years, until the present owner bought it in the early 1990s.
When he realised what he'd found - and how original it was under who knew how many layers of paint - he put it through a six-year, ground-up professional restoration, both body and mechanicals, finished off in the original olive green.
It is astonishingly original, with only 86 950 miles (139 120km) on its odometer, retaining all its "matching numbers" components: engine, gearbox, both axles, bodyshell and even the aluminium clamshell bonnet. In 1997 he even persuaded the British DVLA to re-issue its original registration number, YVB 151H.