Val­ues of ‘the best four-by-four by far’ stay strong after De­fender pro­duc­tion comes to an end

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Buying & Selling -

‘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.

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