'Royal' Range Rover fetches a cool R1.775 million
Silverstone, Northamptonshire - This 1975 Range Rover is yet another example of what provenance can do for the value of a classic vehicle.
When it was found on a farm in Worcestershire in 2013, it had been standing for a number of years with its engine in pieces in the luggage compartment, and many components were missing. But while it was being loaded onto a transporter, the seller mentioned casually that “It once belonged to the Queen”.
Yeah, right, thought the new owner, most old Rangies come with some fancy story of a blue-blooded former owner - but he decided to check the frame and engine numbers against the records at the British Heritage Museum anyway, just in case. And, lo and behold, there it was in black and white: this particular Lincoln Green Range Rover was first delivered on 13 August 1975 directly from the factory at Solihull to the Royal Household at Windsor Castle.
A bit more research turned up a number of photographs from the mid to late 1970s showing Lincoln Green Range Rovers, factory fitted with special order full-length Webasto-style folding roofs - just like this one! - being used by the Royal Family, so this is almost certainly one of them.
That changed everything; the new owner decided to spend a lot more than he’d originally budgeted, to return the Royal Rangie to absolutely original condition - which is a lot more difficult than it sounds, because a lot of trim components for first-generation three-door Range Rovers are virtually unobtainable.
Nevertheless, the car was entrusted to Range Rover specialist Philip Holland at Twenty Ten Engineering in Redditch, for what turned out to be his most extensive restoration project yet. It took nearly two years, more than 1000 hours of labour and over £60 000 (R1.05 million) to restore what was basically a scrap vehicle to the condition you see here, including the original Palamino trim and matching carpets - so impressive a transformation that it was documented in a video by Petrolicious which you can watch below.
But this is no trailer queen - since the restoration the owner has taken the Royal Rangie on a holiday trip to the Prosecco region a in Italy, and driven it quite a bit locally, bringing the odometer reading up to 62 000 miles (99 200km) - still a relatively low mileage for a 43-year-old car - before deciding to sell it.
At which point the £60 000 turned out to be money well spent; the car was knocked down at the Silverstone Classic Auction at the weekend for a cool £101 250 (R1.775 million), the second highest price yet paid for a Range Rover at auction.