Up on the auction block this week, a "Harrods Edition" Range Rover. When it was bought new in 1983, it cost only £38,000 - more than the average UK house at the time. It is now going to be auctioned off – with an expected final sale price of £30,000. I think it could go for more, though I must be a purist because I prefer the stock look over this one.
The four-door Range Rover, Chassis No. SALLHAMV3AA131808, was given a color scheme taken directly from the palette used by renowned London department store retailer, Harrods. It even has 'Harrods Knightsbridge' written on the bonnet. I’m not sure what the North American equivalent would be. I guess Chrysler and Saks could have teamed up with the “Fifth Avenue” branding.
Lest I venture too far off piste here - the highly modified Harrods Rover includes a number of features, that while neat, may not be at the top of a list of priorities for most vehicle owners. External modifications include a revised front end with a distinctive horizontal-slatted grill. However, it’s the car's interior where original coachbuilders Wood & Pickett really went the extra mile.
The seats are of the ‘finest’ Connolly leather, in that unmistakable Harrods shade of green. The dashboard is made from (also “finest?’) burr walnut.
It even had rear air-conditioning and a Sony TV with Betamax for back seat passengers. Good luck finding some Beta copies of “The Camel Trophy Years” to play on there.
The original owner of the vehicle was a man from Berkshire, who paid the staggering £38,000. That’s about £114,000 in today’s funny money. The Harrods Edition Range Rover is expecting to fetch between £29,000 and £37,000 when Historics at Brooklands auction it later this month.
Says Mathew Priddy, of Historics at Brooklands, "It's an honour for us to be auctioning such a rare, iconic and magnificently-equipped Range Rover. It is a sure-fire investment as it is believed to be the only right-hand drive model remaining, having travelled an average of less than 1,000 miles a year since 1983."
In 1998, the Range Rover was sold to the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust based in Gaydon, Warwickshire. Gaydon is also the home of Land Rover’s design and engineering center. The Trust kept it until 2003, when it was sold along with 100 other cars at auction. At that time, it was bought by a private collector.
Historics will be auctioning the Range Rover Harrods Edition on May 20 at Ascot Racecourse in Berkshire.
The first Range Rovers were offered for sale in 1970. A two door version was the only available model. While there were bespoke four-door conversions available, the first factory four-door was introduced in 1981. In 1984 the two door was discontinued, with the exception that a two door model was offered for the French market until 1991.
Range Rovers hold their place in automotive history, renowned and regarded as the first luxury 4x4, exemplified by its status as the first vehicle to be exhibited at the Musée du Louvre in Paris, as an 'exemplary work of industrial design'.
They are now becoming more and more sought after by classic car collectors and investors, with early models in need of full restoration selling for five figures. The rising demand has even prompted Land Rover to start restoring early models under their Classic Reborn restoration program, and selling them for more than £130,000.
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