UK SHOWS ITS LANDIE LOVE
Values of ‘the best four-by-four by far’ stay strong after Defender production comes to an end
‘There’s greater demand for original vehicles’
Debate about what’s the most practical classic has been around since the oldcar movement ditched the term old-car and adopted the ‘classic car’ moniker.
While many will argue a practical, usable classic is the one that is driver-friendly and has great spares support, add in reliability, ease of maintenance and the pièce de résistance – an ability to go (almost) anywhere – and one vehicle stands head and shoulders ahead of the others: the Land Rover.
The classic movement shed a few tears when Defender production ceased, and the media interest ensured ‘Landie’ exposure was nationwide and, to an extent, patriotic.
The British world-beater was no more. And the result was an increase in interest in Land Rovers coming to market – from the earliest, simplest and downright basic models to the run-out Defenders.
Demand has now settled as production cessation fever has evaporated, but that doesn’t mean good examples won’t find new homes. Historics’ last Brooklands sale included a wellpresented, one-owner 1982 88in County. Stored since 1988 it was tidy, but with slightly patinated, worn paint. Those bodywork cosmetics aside it was good enough to pull in £10,754.
Brightwells’ July sale included a 1950 model with plenty of history, including being owned by one family for 57 years. Never restored, the Leominster crowd liked it enough to see it away for £18,500.
Finding the right combination of usability and classic status is a personal thing, but many see 1960s/’70s examples as striking the right chord. Many buyers prefer the short-wheelbase examples and Charterhouse’s Sherborne Castle sale included a 1962 88in tilt model originally delivered to the Army, staying in service until 1971. The vendor – its third owner after the military – had bought it in 1996 and it had recently come out of a thorough restoration, work including a new galvanised chassis, engine rebuilt and converted to unleaded and repainting the bodywork. With a new MoT test it sold for £16,225.
With Land Rover auction euphoria stabilising buyers are becoming more choosy, and original, restored to original or projects are in greater demand than modified examples. There’s plenty of choice, so there’s no need to make a hurried purchase.