NEC Classic Motor Show Sale 2015

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1972 Range Rover Suffix A

Lot No.: 302

Registration: FRA 747L
Chassis Number: 35504617A
Engine Number: 35507340A
Number of cylinders: 8
CC: 3500
Year of Manufacture: 1972
Sold for (£): Unsold

The original Spencer King designed Range Rover was one of the British Motor Industry's proudest success stories. When it went out of production at the end of 1996, it still looked as fresh and forward-thinking as it did back in the 1970s when one was exhibited in the Louvre as an example of "exemplary work of industrial design". The Range Rover was a body-on-frame design with a box section ladder type chassis, similar to the contemporary Series Land Rovers. It utilised coil springs as opposed to leaf springs, permanent four-wheel drive, four-wheel disc brakes and was originally powered by the legendary Rover 3.5 litre V8 engine.

A well-balanced combination of form, function and power, the Range Rover could be adapted to a myriad of different uses. The vehicle became hugely popular with Britain's police forces and Lancashire Constabulary had taken to the Range Rover as its motorway patrol vehicle of choice and was one of the first regional forces to use the car in 1971. In the days, when the emphasis was on keeping the carriageway clear the Range Rover was unbeatable and, if used properly, had the ability to tow a 38 tonne HGV, providing the brakes weren't locked on. Accident damaged cars were physically dragged onto the hard shoulder.

Unusually, this Range Rover has the dual distinction of being an early production Suffix 'A' car and formerly a Lancashire Constabulary motorway patrol vehicle. A letter from the acting fleet manager of Lancashire Constabulary dated 15th October 1998 states the following:

"Dear...

In respect of your enquiry relating to Range Rover STF 172L (NB. the car's former registration number) whilst in Police Service.

The vehicle was purchased by Lancashire Constabulary in September 1972 at a cost of £2,267.37, then spent a further 3 years, approximately in police service on motorway duties.

In 1975, the vehicle was decommissioned from service and sold at public auction to Parkfield Motors, Liverpool for the sum of £316.25..."

Accompanied today by a valid MoT until September 2016, FRA 747L has excellent mechanicals, the legendary 3.5 V8 starts on the button, and settles to a low burble. The underbody we are informed is in very good order, but one or two aluminium reactions on the body will need to be addressed soon, although this is a classic Range Rover issue. Showing just over 72,300 miles and passing its recent MoT without any advisories, the history file is substantial and detailed.

We conclude therefore that this significant example of British motoring and policing history offers the purchaser a dual opportunity; to be restored as a police vehicle for car shows and filming, or as a superb base for a truly splendid Suffix A restoration.