“Range Rover is the number one celeb car in Hollywood"
Rather than a large five figure nut-and-bolt rebuild, it was a sympathetic restoration, so it still bears the patina of age on some of the stainless steel trim pieces. With the vehicle in complete disrepair however, it still took two years to strip it and rebuild it from the chassis up. There was no engine, so a likefor-like 2.25 diesel was sourced from a supplier in the US called Rovers North, although it was originally registered in Ethiopia, Africa, with which Rastafarian Marley had strong ties. Around 80 per cent of the vehicle’s parts were sourced from the same specialist, while the rest were handcrafted. Marley's eldest daughter, Cedella, an internationally-acclaimed fashion designer created and upholstered the interior.
Of course, we can’t go without mentioning the Range Rover and its association with celebs – a quick search on the internet reveals that seemingly almost every famous actor, singer, sports person and politician owns one or has owned one – a list that we won’t bore you with. And we’re not just talking in Britain, either. Celebritycarsblog.com has reported that over 100 were spotted in Hollywood alone, making it the number one celebrity car not just in the SUV category, but overall.
Unlike the Defender, a lot of Range Rovers have been subjected to bespoke modifications that often prove money doesn’t buy taste. One of the most recognised Range Rovers in the UK has to probably be former model Katie Price’s bright Barbie pink monstrosity. She supposedly had the vehicle customised with matching quilted seats, diamond-encrusted clock worth £25,000 and black-painted alloys. She put it up for sale for £70,000 two years ago. It seems rather apt that the two millionth Land Rover Defender was built by celebrities. Bear Grylls (who has a fleet of Defenders for his academy), Virginia Mckenna and Theo Paphitis were among the all-star cast of 33 special guests who contributed by fitting parts to the vehicle at the factory. The bespoke vehicle later sold for a jaw-dropping £400,000 at an exclusive charity auction at Bonhams.
For 69 years, the Series Land Rover and Defender has been the transport of choice for explorers, charity organisations and farmers as well as royalty and celebrities. What started life as an agricultural workhorse has become a design icon; it set Land Rover on the map and as a result its siblings have appealed to the rich and famous in almost equal measure. While the Range Rover will continue to be the vehicle of choice for the stars, it will be interesting to see who buys the new Defender.