A NEW APPROACH IN AN AGE OLD BUSINESS+44 (0) 1926 691 141
Sold for: £33,750
To some Charles Spencer King's design of the iconic Range Rover could not be bettered, indeed the Louvre in Paris exhibited the Range Rover in the early 1970s, hailing it as an "Exemplary work of industrial design." To others, the two-door Range Rover had its limitations and Rover's financial woes contributed to a delay of ten years in producing a four-door version so a number of British and European coachbuilders were happy to step in and fill the gap. Names such as Wood and Pickett, Monteverdi and Glenfrome are synonymous with Range Rover conversions, all sold with the approval of Rover, and indeed in some cases, used as future templates for Rover's own designs. A number of the conversions were destined for warmer climes, with the Middle East a prime destination for these cars. One of the more unusual, but none the less sought after conversions was the convertible Range Rover. When Roger Moore pulled into an equestrian event during the opening scenes of the 1983 Bond film Octopussy in a convertible Range Rover, the demand for this particular conversion soared. One of the best, but little-known coachbuilders who specialised in convertible Range Rovers, was Special Vehicle Conversions (SVC) Ltd. but few have survived and right-hand drive examples are incredibly rare, so naturally it's our privilege to offer this 1973 Suffix B convertible, believed by our vendor to have been converted by SVC sometime in the late 1980s. Not only has this car been subject to a £20,000 restoration to SVC's specification but the car's history and how it came into our vendor's possession is worthy of a James Bond storyline. The former keeper apparently won the car in a game of cards in the early nineties, and having no space for it, stored it in one of his lock up garages. Fast forward to 2014 and the current vendor, a friend of the owner, heard of the story and was keen to own the car. However, the former keeper couldn't remember where he had put it, but after a lengthy Land Registry search the correct garage was found, and the dusty Range Rover was discovered in basically good order having been professionally undersealed before storing, preserving the chassis and structure. There followed a comprehensive eight month, nut and bolt restoration and the car presents wonderfully today finished in Rioja red with a Palomino interior. The Rover 3.5 litre V8 was stripped down fully, finding no major leaks in the process and, as a matter of course, every gasket and core plug was replaced and ancillaries either replaced or reconditioned. The Rostyle wheels are immaculate after a professional refurbishment and keen Range Rover buffs may spot the later horizontal Range Rover front grille, this addition is believed to be a period modification by SVC. To find a right-hand drive early Range Rover conversion is incredibly rare but to find a convertible with just 62,500 miles is very special. The original SVC hood is supplied with the car and is in reasonable order, however the vendor is hoping and get it re-lined prior to our auction. This special Range Rover convertible would be equally at home on a grouse moor on an August afternoon, or burbling down Chelsea's King's Road with a different quarry in mind. It's interesting to note that Range Rover are set to launch their first official soft-top with the arrival of the Evoque Convertible in 2016, some 40 years after SVC's pioneering work. Be the first in the queue with this immaculate original.