A NEW APPROACH IN AN AGE OLD BUSINESS+44 (0) 1926 691 141
Sold for: £38,250
The outstanding success of the Maurice Wilks designed Land Rover saw the car being used by every sector of society. One could say the Land Rover was the first truly classless car, and remains so to this day. Enjoyed by King George VI on jaunts across the Balmoral and Sandringham estates, The Queen remains a loyal fan to this day, the Land Rover could then ferry a battalion of gun dogs and their beaters in the same manner. As much as the Land Rover was beloved by all, it was rather bereft of certain luxuries that post-war drivers had come to expect in their cars. There was a demand from the armed forces and Commonwealth countries for a capable, go-anywhere vehicle that could ferry officers and dignitaries in a degree of comfort. Here at home there was a growing market from landowners who wished to transport their shooting guests across moorland without being battered by the elements. Rover therefore, developed a seven-seater Station Wagon variant of the Land Rover in October 1948 based on the 80-inch chassis and powered by the petrol 1,595cc engine. This had a body made by Tickford of Newport Pagnell, coachbuilders to Rolls-Royce, constructed in the traditional way with alloy panelling over a wooden frame. Early Station Wagons were finished in Light Green, from mid-1949 some were finished in Light Green over Bronze Green, and the final vehicles were in all-over Bronze Green. The Station Wagon was never a commercial success. In the first place, its coachbuilt body made it expensive to manufacture. Secondly, it was classified as a passenger-carrying vehicle on the home market and was therefore subject to Purchase Tax from which the basic Land Rover (classed as a commercial vehicle) was exempt. This inflated its price to unreasonable levels, a whopping £950.00 plus tax, ten times the average annual salary of £100.00 in 1950. As a result, just 650 were built in three years, and the model was withdrawn in the summer of 1951. It wasn't until the launch of the Range Rover some twenty years later that the idea of a competent and relatively luxurious off-road vehicle could be seriously engineered and marketed. The Range Rover, the car that launched the SUV market borrowed a number of features from the Tickford, namely the split tailgate, a feature still seen on the current Range Rover today. Because of the low production numbers, this Tickford we have the honour of offering to market is very, very rare and certainly one of the last surviving road going examples, quite possibly numbered in single figures. Most Tickfords were destined for overseas markets and this car, supplied new to Charles Hurst Ltd, of Belfast, was first registered in May 1950 and retains its original registration mark 'MZ 9750'. On return to England, it had several owners in Cheshire before being acquired in October 1981 by well known Land Rover enthusiast Mr. D. M. Leather, and it was restored sympathetically in the 1980s. Purchased by the penultimate owner in 2003 who treated the Tickford to a programme of works between 2004 and 2006 that included a respray in the correct Bronze Green and mechanical works that totalled around £15,000. The Tickford joined our vendor's sizeable Land Rover collection in September 2012. A true enthusiast, he grew up around Land Rovers with both his father and grandfather being Land Rover dealers, and the sale of the Tickford is a result of downsizing the collection due to our vendor's advancing years. Presenting today in good overall condition, this sixty-six-year-old car would not be described as a 'Show Queen', but as a road going example it performs admirably, starting and running well. Retaining many original parts and fittings, the vendor believes the engine is also original which cannot be confirmed as Land Rover engine number records pre-1951 are incomplete. A Land Rover Heritage Certificate has been applied for and a copy will available to view should it arrive in time. Although largely immaterial in a car of this age, the odometer reads 51,493 at the time of consignment. To conclude, we believe that this car not only has the privilege of being one of the last true survivors of the first attempt to 'civilise' the Land Rover, but is an historically important motor car when considered as an early concept of what was to become the legendary Range Rover.