A Land Rover presented to Sir Winston Churchill on his 80th birthday has sold at auction for £129,000.
Sir Winston Spencer Churchill, probably the greatest Prime Minister the UK has ever had, was 80 in 1954, prompting Rover to present the great man with a custom Land Rover so he could be chauffeured round his Chartwell Estate.
The Series 1 Land Rover came complete with an extra wide passenger seat, big, padded centre armrest and leather grab handle and had the registration UKE 80 which may (or may not) have referred to Churchill’s age and ‘United Kingdom Empire.
Churchill kept the Land Rover until his death in 1965 when it was transferred to the ownership of Churchill’s son-in law, Christopher Soames, who kept it until 1973 when it was sold off in a sale of farm equipments at Soames’ Hamsell Manor Estate.
The Churchill Land Rover was bought by Norman Mills for the princely sum of £160, but when he enlisted the help of a neighbour, Frank Quay, to get his purchase home, Frank realised the potential value of the Land Rover with Churchill’s name on the log book and offered Norman double what he paid.
A deal was done and the Churchill Land Rover spent the next few years towing Frank’s daughter’s horse box to various events before Frank decided to retire the Land Rover to his shed to protect his investment.
That decision proved a very sensible one as Frank’s gamble on paying twice the price for the Churchill Land Rover turned in to a windfall of £129,000 when the Land Rover sold at a Cheffins auction this weekend in Kent.
That sale price was more than twice the estimate for the 13,000 mile, original and unrestored Churchill Land Rover, but it still seems almost a bargain for a Land Rover presented to Churchill, especially as it came with the original log book showing the Rt Hon. Sir Winston Spencer Churchill KG. OM. CH. MP. of Chartwell, Westerham, Kent as the original owner.
But who bought it?