When you mention The Queen in relation to motor vehicles, one might be forgiven for instantly picturing the black, slow moving Bentley State Limousine – the official state car that we have seen her waving nonchalantly from in a thousand motorcades. But any royal follower will be aware that our Queen is a long-standing fan of Land Rover in all it’s variant forms.
So I would imagine the sale of her 1978 Royal Review State V Series III, that was specially built for her, will not leave the confines of the royal circle without a pang of regret.
The Royal Land Rover has just 1892 miles on the clock and is expected to sell for around £18,000. No I haven’t missed a nought or two off that figure, so yes you might be able to afford this one. The reason the expected sale figure is fairly low is due to the age of the vehicle, although being an MoD owned vehicle, it will be subject to VAT as well. If sold in the EU that is.
A while back, Winston Churchill’s Land Rover sold for £129,000, well over twice the estimate, so I guess we will just have to wait and see what happens on auction day – Saturday November 24 – at the Historics at Brooklands.
As a model itself, the Land Rover Series III is not particularly unique, with more than 440,000 being sold in a 14-year period from 1971 to 1985. But as you might expect, there have been some modifications that make this particular Series III model more unique than most.
I’m not entirely sure you could get away with calling Her Majesty a ‘back seat driver’, but this vehicle is kitted out with a ‘traffic light system’ which is fitted to the seating in the rear passenger area. It works by allowing the occupant to signal to the driver what to do, whether to stop, start or even just slow down without a call of “Oi!” and leaning forward and tapping him or her on the shoulder. This of course, is a far more discreet way of controlling your driver. One day, we can but hope that all black cabs are fitted with a similar option. In fact, it’s not unlike the ‘bus stopping’ display in a modern bus.
The Series III Land Rover was designed to be robust, and easily repairable. It was during the run of the Series III that the 1,000,000th Land Rover was produced in 1976. This was the first Land Rover model to feature Synchromesh on all the four gears and ran a modest 2.25 litre engine.
This will not be the first Land Rover of note that The Queen has parted from, back in 2001 a royal Land Rover 4.2-litre V8, resplendent in black and fitted with green leather seats and a radio that was hot-linked to the Home Office was donated to the Heritage Motor Centre with 43,000 miles on the clock. So maybe that’s why the Series III is being sold – she just didn’t use it enough.
Curiously, the Land Rover that replaced the V8 in the royal Land Rover garage was a Defender kitted out with a special order automatic, the same as those used in the original Lara Croft: Tomb Raider film, although clearly Her Majesty prefers the feel of a a manual gearbox, as this was changed shortly after.
The hope is that this very royal Series III Land Rover will find it’s place in a motor museum of some description, but with a guide price of just £18,000, it is sure to attract much public interest – until the price rockets at the auction that is.
Images from i3.dailyrecord.co.uk, leamingtoncourier.co.uk, paimages.s3.amazonaws.com, swns.com
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