When a car thought to be owned and used by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II comes up for auction, there’s usually plenty of fanfare followed by competitive bidding among collectors trying to secure its keys.
But over the weekend a Range Rover from her fleet sold for a surprisingly low price when the hammer dropped.
The special order SUV is believed – though not confirmed – to have originally been delivered in 2004 to the Royal Estate for use by the Queen and Prince Phillip in London and Balmoral with plenty of unique features – though all the owners since were said to be unaware of its not-so-humble beginnings.
And the sale on Saturday saw the motor sell for under its higher estimated guide price.
A Royal ride or wishful thinking? This 2004 Range Rover sold at auction over the weekend, with the vendor adamant that it has a regal background
The seller believes this is one of the Range Rovers owned and driven by the late Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (pictured: a similar Range Rover with her Royal Highness at the wheel in 2017)
The Epson Green 4X4 had been tipped to make between £28,000 and £38,000 ahead of its appearance at Historics Auctioneers’ Windsorview Lakes sale on Saturday.
The winning bid came to £33,002, with the buyer snapping up the vehicle for £5,000 less than what the auction house had predicted at the top end.
The Range Rover is a true one off, though its Royal provenance is not confirmed.
The Epson Green 4X4 had been tipped to make between £28,000 and £38,000 ahead of its appearance at Historics Auctioneers’ Windsorview Lakes sale on Saturday
However, the winning bid came to just £33,002, with the buyer snapping up the vehicle for £5,000 less than what the auction house had predicted at the top end
While it has been confirmed this was a unique built by Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations, the vendor hasn’t had concrete confirmation it was produced for Her Majesty
It was built to order and supplied by Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations under contract ‘34319’.
It has been confirmed by Jaguar Land Rover SVO that this example was specified with a modified front grille with covert blue lights, switch pack (to power said lights), front and rear seat covers, dog guard, load space mat, side steps and mudflaps.
These features are all in addition to the standard car options which are found with the Heritage Certificate and include heated front and rear seats and tinted glass all round to mention a few, while the Oxford leather interior specified in the regal tone of Sand.
Under the hood is Land Rover’s tried-and-tested 4.4-litre V8 petrol engine that’s been relatively well used with 109,000 miles on the clock – that’s an average of just over 5,700 miles a year since it was first delivered.
Was it really the Queen’s car? Here’s the circumstantial evidence that makes the vendor believe it is. Queen Elizabeth II pictured in 2021 during Royal Windsor Horse Show
Was it really owned by the Queen?
The weekend’s sale sees the Range Rover take on its fifth owner, though Historics claims some of its previous keepers were unaware of what it believes were illustrious beginnings.
The car was supplied by the special vehicles department at JLR to an unknown dealer code ‘EXEL AMS’, for whom the British Motor Heritage Trust themselves cannot track details for.
The only original ownership information available is a letter from JLR which identifies that in July 2004 the car was sent to Stratstone Land Rover, Mayfair, for a warranty recall before a second recall at Peter Vardy Land Rover, Aberdeen – which is the closest franchised Land Rover dealership to the Balmoral Estate.
‘With the Royal Family traditionally frequenting Balmoral between July and September, the assumption being that the car was seen in Mayfair before being transported to Balmoral where it was again seen after the family left to return to London,’ the auction house says.
Recall documentation suggests the in 2004 was recalled to a Mayfair dealer, which is less than a mile from Buckingham Palace. It then was recalled later that year and taken to an Aberdeen dealer, which is also the closest Land Rover site to the Balmoral Estate
The vendor has asked both JLR and the DVLA to confirm the first keeper, but has been denied on both occasions. It is very rare for an ex-Royal fleet vehicle to be sold on with this sort of information
But it believes there is further evidence to support this is a former Royal ride.
‘Upon requesting details from the DVLA, the vendor has been refused any previous keeper’s details, a copy of the letter can be found in the history file alongside photographs of what is believed could be the car with the Queen driving, showing the colour,’ it adds.
‘The image shows the dog guard, and the seat covers but sadly as yet no image has been uncovered showing Queen Elizabeth and the cars registration number.
‘Further possible telling indicators of the cars beginnings include duel rear window switches, these are not JLR standard parts but could be ordered and fitted by dealerships, this has been seen before with the Queens Daimler Majestic and enable the rear passenger (possibly the Queen) to control the other rear window thus stopping the wind blowing directly into her face or displacing one of those fabulous hats!
‘Furthermore, keen eyes will spot on the door pillars there are rear climb handles to assist entry and departure from the car, this is something believed to be unique to the Queen’s Range Rovers due to her insistence of no assistance from staff when entering and exiting the car thus the handles along with the side steps enabled comfortable entry for a lady who would have been in her late 70s at the time.’
The final piece of circumstantial evidence leading the vendor and the auction house to ‘firmly believe’ this was indeed her majesty’s car is the filler found on the bonnet and roof.
The vendor believes the filler in the bonnet (which you can just make out in this picture) covers the mount for where the Labrador motif would have been attached
Filler in the roof he believes is to cover the area where the comms aerial would have been attached
The motor does have a number of features that suggest it could have been part of the Royal fleet almost 20 years ago, though it will be difficult to confirm without photographic evidence
The former is believed to be where the Labrador mascot was mounted (as seen in photos) and the latter the radio communications aerial, which has since been removed.
The Range Rover was sold with a comprehensive service history dating back to its first scheduled check-up in April of 2005 with Stratstone Mayfair.
The vendor had confined it to a garage and used the 4X4 sparingly in the belief it has Royal provenance.
‘The vendor is hoping that should someone have a photo of this car and her majesty driving or as passenger they will send to Historics [email protected] but regardless the circumstantial evidence is compelling and all signs certainly point toward this indeed being property of the late beloved Queen Elizabeth II,’ Historics says.
For now, it is only speculation. Though the new owner must believe it is worth a punt, having paid well over market value.
A 109,000-mile example of the gas-guzzling Range Rover is today worth around £5,000 based on vehicles for sale on second-hand vehicle websites.
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