The opening scene in James Bond’s Octopussy. Roger Moore arrives towing a fairly innocuous looking horsebox, but in typical 007 fashion, there’s no horse in there. It's the Acrostar Jet, the smallest and fastest jet in the world.
Relevance? Well, pulling that concealed plane was a convertible Range Rover and on the final Silverstone Auction of the year, an incredibly rare (and rather stylish) Range Rover convertible is going under the hammer with a backstory shrouded in such mystery, it wouldn’t look out of place in an Ian Fleming novel.
The car in question existed as a right-hand drive 1973 ‘Suffix B’ and was converted in the 80’s by Special Vehicle Conversions. The Range Rover was then gambled away in a shadowy and ill-advised card game in the 90s then subsequently forgotten about after being placed in storage due to a lack of space in the victors’ garage.
Fast-forward to 2014 and using the help of Land Registry records, it was found in lock up in remarkably good condition. Some eight months and £20,000 later, with the restoration including the re-commissioning of its 3.5-litre V8 engine, the convertible heads to auction with an estimate value of £35,000-40,000 and having only 62,500 miles on the clock.
Arwel Richards, Classic Car Consignor at Silverstone Auctions, explained the intrigue and significance behind the Range Rover.
‘This classic Range Rover convertible conversion is a car worthy of the modern-day James Bond, but has a story akin to that of 007 too. Not only does this story have unique provenance but is based on a truly superb ‘Suffix B’ – I doubt you’ll find one like this in the near future.
‘It’s a real privilege to be entrusted with re-homing this very important car at the show and I’m sure its new owner will love and cherish it, especially after its superb restoration.
This highly sought-after vehicle comes to auction coincidentally at a time when Land Rover is primed to release the long-awaited Evoque Convertible.
If you want to be part of this unique story, contact Silverstone Auctions for an official catalogue that includes auction entry, viewing and bidding or purchase during the show at the NEC in Birmingham on the 13-15 November. Weekend passes priced at £56.50.
Sadly, horsebox and multi-million pound jet not included.