A Land Rover which was once owned by Sir Winston Churchill is to be auctioned after being stored in a shed for 35 years.
THE TELEGRAPH, 13 August 2012—A Land Rover which was once owned by Sir Winston Churchill is to be auctioned for an estimated £60,000 after being stored in a shed for 35 years.
The vintage vehicle with the registration number UKE 80 was given to the wartime prime minister as a present from car maker Rover on his 80th birthday in November, 1954.
The Series 1 Land Rover had several non-standard features including an extra-wide passenger seat to accommodate Sir Winston’s considerable girth, a fold-down arm rest and a leather-clad grab handle.
A footwell heater was later added to ensure the great statesman did not catch a chill while he was being chauffeur-driven around his 300 acre estate at Chartwell, Kent.
Another unusual feature is a fitted box which was used to store Sir Winston’s trowel so he could indulge his hobby of bricklaying on his estate.
The Land Rover was inherited after Sir Winston’s death in 1965 by his son-in-law, the Rt Hon Christopher Soames, who used it on his farm near Tonbridge Wells.
Lord Soames sold the dark green pick-up for £160 when he held a sale of his farm equipment in 1973.
The buyer Norman Mills has no idea how he was going to get the Land Rover back to his home in Orpington, Kent, and asked his neighbour Frank Quay for help.
When farmer Mr Quay looked at the log book and saw that Sir Winston was the first owner, he realised its historic significance and offered to buy it on the spot for double the price.
Mr Mills accepted his offer of £320 and Mr Quay, now aged 81, took it back to his farm near Orpington.
He used the Land Rover for four years for light farm duties and for towing his daughter’s horsebox before deciding it was to valuable to use.
Mr Quay shut the vehicle in his shed when its road tax expired in 1977, bringing it out only to be displayed at occasional charity fund raising events.
He tried to sell it in 1999 for an estimated £30,000 through an early Sotheby’s internet auction in conjunction with Amazon.
But the vehicle was withdrawn before the price could be achieved as the sale was hit by technical difficulties and a lack of internet-savvy bidders.
Since then the value of vintage Land Rovers has soared with some Series 1 vehicles fetching £20,000 without a Churchill connection.
Mr Quay’s farmer son Leslie, 49, who was give it as a 40th birthday present is now selling it, complete with its buff-coloured log book, through Cambridge auctioneers Cheffins.
The vehicle which has 12,932 miles on the clock is expected to fetch between £50,000 and £60,000 at a Cheffins sale in Sutton near Ely on October 20.
Mr Quay, senior, said: “It is a Land Rover with a lot of history and is still in excellent condition. It has been safely in storage here for years.”
Jeremy Curzon, associate auctioneer at Cheffins, said: “In view of Churchill’s position as the foremost statesman of the 20th century, we expect a lot of interest.
“Mr Quay is a long-standing client of ours, and knows that our vintage sales, which are held three times a year, are famous around the world.
“They feature equipment like vintage tractors, steam engines, and historic motorcycles.”
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