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Land Rover’s Two Millionth Defender up for Auction

Land Rover is auctioning off the 2,000,000th Defender 90 and their doing it with a bang. The Defender 2,000,000 is features a handful of classy details, including a map of Red Wharf Bay engraved into a hand-brushed aluminum fender, a ‘HUE’ number plate and a ‘No. 2,000,000′ badge. A fitting tribute to the 67-year-old icon. Proceeds from the auction are going to the Born Free Foundation as well as the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Learn more below.

2015 Land Rover Defender 90 Station Wagon

Registration no. S90 HUE
Chassis no. SALLDWBP7FA473395
Engine no. 150415101301DT224

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Very few milestone cars like this are ever offered for sale and the significance of ‘Defender 2,000,000’ is amplified by three noteworthy considerations.

Firstly, the car’s provenance is exceptional. It was commissioned by Land Rover to celebrate 67 years of production and features a bespoke design, expertly executed by Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations team. An all-star cast of 33 notable figures from Land Rover’s past and present joined Land Rover associates on the production line to hand-build the car.

Adventurer Bear Grylls fitted the wheels. Stephen and Nick Wilks, the sons of the Wilks brothers who created the car in 1947, assembled the roof. Entrepreneur and Defender owner Theo Paphitis fitted the rear seats and lights. Actress Virginia McKenna, OBE, founder of the Born Free Foundation fitted the registration plates. Mike Adamson, Chief Executive of the British Red Cross fitted the headlights. The vehicle’s identifying VIN plate was attached by Dr Ralf Speth, CEO, Jaguar Land Rover.

The second important consideration is that this milestone Land Rover was built in May 2015 – during the Defender’s final phase of production. Values of important and collectible Land Rovers and Range Rovers have surged recently as the classic car world acknowledges their significance and desirability, and the end of production will further intensify competition for the best and most significant examples.

Most landmark Land Rovers were never offered for sale and remain in the care of Land Rover or the Heritage Motor Centre, such as the millionth Land Rover, a unique Series III station wagon built in 1976. As early as 1960 the company found, bought back and restored the now-famous HUE 166, the first pre-production Land Rover from March 1948.

Thirdly, and most importantly, all proceeds from the sale will benefit two charities with which Land Rover has had a long association, and which both rely upon Land Rovers to conduct their vital work. Representatives of the Born Free Foundation and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies helped to build Defender 2,000,000, and they have specific plans for the proceeds of the auction (see accompanying text).

Global Impact

In the long history of the car, very few designs have been as significant, as successful or as long-lived as the Land Rover. It is rightly considered to be one of the landmark cars in automotive history. The Land Rover’s engineering was radical and brilliant when it was launched in 1948 but its real significance goes beyond its intrinsic qualities. It lies in what the Land Rover has done for its country: as an export earner, as a linchpin of the post-war British car industry, as a workhorse for Britain’s farmers, transport for soldiers and anyone with a sense of adventure. The Land Rover has carried people to the most remote corners of the globe, and brought them back safely again. It has touched the lives of countless millions over its 67 years, and over that time has become a global automotive icon in its own right.

As unique as the badge on the bonnet – “Creating a bespoke Defender to mark such an important milestone was a great opportunity,” said Land Rover’s Design Director and Chief Creative Officer Gerry McGovern. “When it came to inspiration there was only one place to look: Red Wharf Bay. It was here on the beach that Maurice Wilks first drew the outline of a Land Rover in the sand. It’s the historic birthplace of our Land Rover brand and this vehicle is a fitting tribute.”

A map of Red Wharf Bay in Anglesey has been engraved in raw, hand-brushed aluminium on the car’s front fender. This references the car’s lightweight, rust-resistant aluminium bodywork – a necessity of post-war rationing which became central to its appeal.

A unique ‘no. 2,000,000’ badge adorns the rear of the vehicle, and is echoed by a badge on the interior console. The Ebony Windsor leather seats also feature the Red Wharf Bay graphic on cloth inserts. Door grabs and the fascia grab also feature the Red Wharf Bay map contours, and ‘no 2,000,000’ logos have been stitched on the headrests. A bespoke aluminium plaque, signed by everyone who helped to assemble the vehicle is fitted to the driver’s seat plinth.

The car is finished in Indus Silver satin paint with Santorini Black wheels and wheel arches, roof, door hinges, grille and mirror caps. It features the premium materials found on today’s range-topping Defender Autobiography, with leather and machined aluminium finishes to the fascia, steering wheel, gear knob and transfer knob, hand brake and door casings. Defender 2,000,000 has been UK registered as S90 HUE: a reference to the first pre-production Land Rover, HUE 166, its home in Solihull and this car’s 90-inch wheelbase.

This is an unrepeatable opportunity to acquire one of the most striking examples of one of the world’s most significant cars, which already bears a remarkable provenance in the roster of people who built it. The proceeds from the sale will do what Land Rovers have done since their earliest days; bring help to people and animals alike, regardless of how remote.

THE CHARITIES

Since its earliest days, Land Rover has brought help and hope to those who have needed it most, but been hardest to reach. Defender 2,000,000 continues that proud tradition. Proceeds from its sale will be donated in their entirety to further the work of its longstanding humanitarian and conservation partners: the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and the Born Free Foundation.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

The relationship between the IFRC and Land Rover started with the British Red Cross (a member of the IFRC) more than sixty years ago. Today, it is a relationship that extends to the IFRC’s global aid efforts.

In that time, over 120 Land Rovers have been loaned or donated to the charity. They have brought humanitarian and long-term aid directly to an estimated 800,000 people, and indirect help to at least a million more.

Today the relationship has developed into an ambitious and far-reaching partnership, funding humanitarian projects on four continents, helping vulnerable people in crisis situations.

In 2012 Land Rover made the IFRC’s sustainable water and sanitation project in Uganda the focus of the most ambitious fund-raising activity in the company’s history, a 10,000-mile expedition to Beijing undertaken by the one millionth Land Rover Discovery. The 50-day journey generated £1 million for the project.

“We are very grateful for Land Rover’s continued and generous support over the years,” said Mike Adamson, Chief Executive of the British Red Cross.

“The proceeds from the auction of Defender 2,000,000 will provide much-needed support for communities in Nepal, helping them respond to and recover from crises such as frequent flooding, landslides and earthquakes. This new project will help communities establish sustainable livelihoods and make sure they can adapt to and anticipate the issues they face today, before they become greater problems tomorrow.”

Born Free Foundation:

The origin of Land Rover’s historic association with the Born Free Foundation goes back to the charity’s very beginnings. Land Rovers featured in the classic 1966 wildlife film Born Free, which starred Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers, and later inspired them to establish the charity which now bears its name.

Land Rover first started working in partnership with Born Free in 2002. The current partnership will see Land Rover vehicles deployed by the Foundation in Kenya, Ethiopia, India and South Africa, where they support the charity’s vital field work.

“The Born Free Foundation is on the front line of conservation and wild animal welfare and to get us to that front line we rely on Land Rovers,” said Will Travers OBE, President of the Born Free Foundation.

“It is essential not only that we can get into some truly challenging locations, but also that we can successfully carry out our mission and get out. Safety, security and reliability are paramount. That is why, on behalf of Born Free and our supporters all around the world, I am deeply appreciative of Land Rover’s ongoing support and delighted that our vital partnership continues to go from strength to strength.”

“The funds raised through the auction of the monumental Defender 2,000,000 will be put towards our ongoing conservation work in Kenya with a particular focus on our ‘Lion Rover’ project in Meru. This is a newly established initiative which works with the Kenya Wildlife Service, Land Rover and the local community to ensure that lions are free to live and thrive in the area for generations to come.”

Learn more: www.bonhams.com/auctions/23247/lot/1/

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