Specially designed and built by Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations department, and assembled with the help of 33 ‘notable figures’ from Land Rover’s past and present, including LRO editor Mike Goodbun, Defender 2,000,0000 went under the hammer at a packed Bonhams saleroom in New Bond Street, London, last night.
Land Rover fans including First Overland adventurer Tim Slessor, TV presenter Richard Hammond and Dragon’s Den star Theo Paphitis, joined Stephen and Nick Wilks (sons of original Land Rover creators Maurice and Spencer), Land Rover luminaries such as Jaguar Land Rover CEO Dr Ralf Speth, design director Gerry McGovern and ‘Mr Land Rover’ Roger Crathorne at the event. And, actress Joanna Lumley, founder patron of the Born Free Foundation, accompanied Born Free’s Virginia McKenna on stage just before the sale began.
With plenty of pre-sale interest since the vehicle was unveiled in August, no reserve, and every penny of the hammer price due to be split equally between the two charities, bidding was frantic. After an opening bid of £20,000, auctioneer Robert Brooks quickly saw it past the £150,000 mark, with huge cheers as it went beyond £300,000. The final £400,000 result, sold to a telephone bidder from Qatar, was a terrific achievement and double the minimum amount Land Rover insiders hoped it would reach.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) will use the donation to help communities in South-East Nepal to improve how they tackle natural disasters, and the Born Free Foundation plans to use the funds to support the ‘Project Lion Rover’ wildlife conservation initiative in Meru National Park, Kenya.
‘To raise such a substantial amount with the sale of one vehicle is phenomenal’, said Lumley. ‘Without the support of the public and partners such as Land Rover, we would not be able to effectively make a positive change to the world as we know it’.
Mike Adamson, Chief Executive of The British Red Cross added: ‘We are extremely grateful to Land Rover for so generously donating half the proceeds of the sale of this one-off vehicle towards our work in Nepal. This vitally important project in Nepal, the 18th supported by Land Rover, will improve the lives and livelihoods of thousands of people and communities.’
Unique features of the Defender 2,000,000, which is based largely on an Autobiography-spec TDCi 90 Station Wagon, include the contours of Red Wharf Bay engraved on to the passenger side front wing, and printed on the seats and interior handles, plus a bespoke 2,000,000 badge on the rear. The number plate, S90 HUE, is a homage to it being built at Solihull, a 90, and HUE 166 – the first pre-production Land Rover from 1947.
Recap on the design and build of this unique vehicle in the August 2015 issue of LRO.
Fancy receiving the latest Land Rover news direct to your inbox? Sign up to our FREE newsletter here.