Long before James Bond shackled up with Jaguar Land Rover for automotive mayhem throughout Skyfall and Spectre, Roger Moore’s incarnation of 007 rocked up in a convertible Range Rover Classic during the opening segment of 1983’s Octopussy. History was made.
Ever since, there’s been an aura of myth surrounding the topless Range Rover Classic. Enthusiasts question whether the conversation was an official Land Rover model, but the answer is no. Instead, several specialized coachbuilders adapted the luxury 4x4 for wealthy customers seeking further exclusivity.
One of the best, but little-known, firms to have specialized in converting Solihull’s flagship model was Special Vehicle Conversions (SVC) Ltd. Sadly, very few of SVC’s vehicles have survived, with right-hand drive examples proving to be incredibly rare. Naturally, upon spotting this 1973 Suffix B convertible example for sale, our hearts all but stopped.
Believed by the vendor to have been converted sometime in the late 1980s, not only has this off-roader been subject to a £20,000 restoration, but the car's history – and how it came into the vendor's possession – is worthy of an Ian Fleming storyline.
The former keeper apparently won the Range Rover during a card game in the early 1990s. Despite not having the space or need for it, the new owner took the car home before locking the 4x4 away in a garage. It sat there until 2014.
A friend of the owner heard of the story and was keen to buy the car, however the former keeper couldn’t remember where he had stored it. After a lengthy Land Registry search, the correct garage was found, and the dusty Range Rover was rediscovered in surprisingly solid condition.
Having been professionally undersealed before languishing in a garage, the chassis and structure were solid and largely corrosion-free. Upon rolling the Range Rover out into the sunlight, there followed a comprehensive eight month-long restoration. Every nut and bolt underwent scrutiny. The car now presents itself as new, finished in Rioja red with a Palomino interior.
The 3.5-litre Rover V8 was completely stripped down, with every gasket and core plug replaced to ensure only the smoothest of operation. In keeping with the extensive renovation work undertaken, the Rostyle wheels were also given a professional refurbishment.
Although this Range Rover boasts a Suffix B chassis code, aficionados will notice that a later horizontal front grille has been installed. This addition is believed to have been a period modification by SVC to make the vehicle appear new; a common practice with Range Rovers of the time.
The original SVC hood is supplied and is in ‘reasonable order’, according to the listing. However, the advert also states that ‘we are hoping and get it re-lined prior to sale’. You can get a closer look at the Range Rover convertible here.
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