Seven special Land Rovers in Bonhams' 2023 Goodwood Revival sale

28th August 2023
Bob Murray

Love old Land Rovers? There has been plenty to love since 1948. They have come in all shapes and sizes too, a variety perfectly illustrated by this year’s Goodwood Revival auction where Bonhams will be offering seven classic Landies. They are all familiar yet all different with roles in life ranging from simple farm duty to transporting the late Queen Elizabeth on royal tours to going behind enemy lines with the SAS. 

The seven 4x4s in the Revival sale at the Motor Circuit on 9 September are all from a private collection of Series Is and include some real rarities – and some big prices…


1. 1948 80” 4x4 Utility, £100-150,000

Why so expensive? That’s simple: this was the second production Land Rover ever built, the first one being the famous “Huey” (after its rego plate HUE 166). It was completed in July 1948 and sold to a farm near Cheltenham where it remained until the 1970s. 

The go-anywhere 4x4 still has its original 1600cc engine and the (optional at the time) power take-off. Fully restored in the 2000s, these day it’s an award winner.


2. 1953 86” ‘Royal Review’, £80-120,000

Remember this from the Cartier Style et Luxe display at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this year? It won best in class and proved just as popular with visitors as it did with the judges. No surprise, since it was made for one of Land Rover’s most enthusiastic early supporters, the late Queen Elizabeth II, and used by her and Prince Philip on their tour of Australia in 1954. 

Land Rover built six such ceremonial 4x4s for use Down Under, modifying the body with a raised rear platform for the royal couple to wave to the crowds. Only one other survives.


3. 1949 Tickford Station Wagon, £60-80,000

The reason the first Land Rover estate didn’t catch on had less to do with its rather top-heavy looks than with its price: it cost the equivalent of three terraced houses. Whereas regular Landies were considered commercial vehicles and tax-free, this ahead-of-its-time “luxury” wagon was classed as a car and attracted purchase tax. 

It was a luxury vehicle all right – its timber-framed body came with wind-up windows, a heater, one-piece windscreen, self-cancelling indicators, and a split tailgate 21 years before the Range Rover – but at £961 in 1949 it was just too expensive. Only 651 were made, the majority going for export but a few stayed in the UK as huntin’ and shootin’ off-road limos for the landed gentry. Only 20 are thought to survive. 


4. 1955 86” SAS prototype, £70-100,000

The SAS first used modified Jeeps to go behind enemy lines after the regiment’s formation in the Second World War, but after the war, when the Jeeps needed replacing, they turned to Land Rover. 

The 4x4 you see here is one of six prototypes that Land Rover built for the SAS – complete with a .50 calibre machine gun on the rear, two Vickers machine guns on the bulkhead, a Bren gun for the driver and a bazooka in the rear. It made a big bang then, and for its rarity and originality would be equally potent at military vehicle shows today. 


5. 1952 80” Minerva Para Recce 4x4, £20-25,000

Belgian carmaker Minerva had no new models after the Second World War so it built Land Rovers under licence for the Belgian army. This is a rare survivor of that time, an 80-inch wheelbase Landie heavily armoured for use as a parachute reconnaissance vehicle. 

It looks like a Land Rover and mostly is, but with a body in steel rather than aluminium and with racy reverse-slope front wings. The 4x4 was restored in 2010 by a former member of the Belgian Parachute Regiment.


6. 1952 80” Minerva 4x4 Ambulance, £15-20,000

Here’s another Antwerp-built Minerva Land Rover made from CKD kits for the Belgian military, this time in ambulance form. It’s a rarity for sure, and definitely looks the part, but with its twin stretchers supported on a rickety metal frame and sticking out the back under a canvas cover, it might not have offered the most comfortable ride to the hospital…


7. 1948 80” 4x4 Utility, £60-80,000

The second production Land Rover has a guide price of up to £150,000 but the 2,269th Land Rover ever made could be yours for half that. This is the light green car you see here, immaculate after a professional restoration in 2019 and little used since then. It’s a lights-behind-grille early model with original chassis, engine and Essex registration, and with a three-seater hood.

  • Goodwood Revival

  • Revival 2023

  • Bonhams

  • Land Rover

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