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The 2012 Range Rover is an amazing thing: 2810kg of peeled cow, deft off-road ability and delicious imperiousness.

Which is probably why, when Jeremy was asked to choose between a Ferrari FF and Bentley Continental 4x4 on Sunday’s show, he poo-poo’d both and went for the Rangie.

A sage if controversial choice - if you want a something that offers a bit of four-wheel-drive security and haughty opulence, you can’t go wrong with a Range Rover. They’ve been refining the idiom for 43 years.

Jezza’s decision inspired us to hit the classifieds, but instead of looking for cut-price new ‘uns, we went a-hunting for original two-door classics - the granddaddy of premium off-roaders. And we found an absolute humdinger…

This is the world’s oldest Range Rover; a 1969 Velar (the Spanish for look after/watch over chosen as it combined the letters of Alvis and Rover) prototype - one of a series built for testing and promotional work between 1967 and 1969. It is, then, the ORIGINAL original luxury SUV.

Though, as you’ll have probably noticed from the spartan interior, Range Rovers weren’t actually conceived to be quite so revolutionary. The initial brief was to simply build a 4x4 that was refined on tarmac and handy on the rough stuff. Which is why this one was developed in Algeria, Morocco, France and Switzerland, not a focus group in a salubrious European capital.

Then the concept started getting interest from one-percenters - including Buckingham Palace, which asked Rover to kindly trim the luggage area because a corgi could get hurt on the exposed toolkit (no, really). It quickly evolved into a treat-yourself premium thing.

Like most surviving British Leyland products, this one’s been rebuilt (though it was way back in 1994) but its Chelsea-based seller admits “she’s no concours Queen.”

But this is still a pretty important piece of automotive history. With a pricetag to match.

Go on, guess how much it costs…






£77,750. Which is nearly eight grand more than a 2012 Range Rover. Crumbs.

Check out the advert here

Think it’s worth the cash, TopGear.commers?

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