1966 Land Rover Series IIA 88

It’s not everyday that you get the opportunity to own a vehicle owned by an icon of peace and tranquility but that’s exactly the case courtesy of this 1966 Land Rover Series IIA 88 going under the hammer with RM Sotheby’s. Once owned by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, this majestic looking machine has quite the story to tell and if you want to add a real talking point to your luxury car collection then look no further.

The 1966 Land Rover Series IIA 88 from RM Sotheby’s has a reserve price of between $100k and $150k so, as you can see, it doesn’t come cheap to own a piece of automotive history but this particularly Land Rover is in excellent condition and has the link to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. It had been maintained in the Dalai Lama’s family until 2005 and was fully restored in 2006 with the documentation included detailing what work has been carried out but, as you can see, it is a restoration of the highest order.

Eye Catching Vehicle 

Needless to say, this type of Land Rover will turn heads everywhere you go at the best of times but when you throw in its interesting backstory as well, the interest will go through the roof. This one comes with extensive original documentation and a British Motor Industry Heritage Trust Certificate so you can rest assured of its authenticity. When the Land Rover debuted at the 1948 Amsterdam Auto Show, it set the mould for commercial off-road vehicles for decades to come. Then powered by the 1,595 cc inline-four from the Rover 60 automobile, the Land Rover initially had a boxy alloy body with its narrow-set headlights and wire mesh grille and was only available as a compact pickup and it is the vintage style Land Rovers that really appeal to our sensibilities here at Coolector HQ.

The 1966 Land Rover Series IIA offered here by RM Sotheby’s was once owned by His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama. Crafted on the 88-inch-wheelbase chassis, it was finished on 10 February 1966 and was delivered new to Nepal on 17 February 1966. It was then driven by His Holiness’s brother, Tenzin Cheogyal, into India, where it entered service as His Holiness’s official vehicle. Mainly driven by Tenzin Cheogyal to ferry his brother along the mountainous roads of the Dharamsala region of India, the Land Rover saw hard use for many years as His Holiness continued his work while in exile from Tibet. Today, the Land Rover is accompanied by original parts, including original seats, interior parts, and the original tires, all saved during the restoration.

After a decade in official service in Dharamsala, the truck was maintained by Tenzin Cheogyal until June of 2005. After this, it was donated to the Dalai Lama Foundation in Palo Alto, California, with the goal of raising funds for Tibetan refugees, arriving in the United States in December of 2005. At this point it was fully restored by Land Rover experts in Livermore, California, with work concluding in December of 2006. Invoices totaling more than $49,000 are included in the sale to show the work carried out. It is presented today in fantastic condition and wears the classic Bronze Green paint scheme with which it left the factory back over half a century ago.

Extensive Restoration

Though it retains its original glory, an awful lot of restorative work has gone into this Land Rover to ensure that it delivers such an unparalleled performance on a par with the day it came off the production line. Accompanied by extensive documentation, which includes the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust Certificate, Haynes Land Rover Series II Owner’s Workshop Manual with Tenzin Cheogyal’s signature inside the first page, original license plate still on the vehicle, Indian titles and insurance policies listing His Holiness as the owner, paperwork surrounding its donation to the Dalai Lama Foundation in 2005, and copies of assorted photographs and articles.

For those with a luxury car collection a little out of the ordinary who are looking for the next addition to said collection, this 1966 Land Rover Series IIA from RM Sotheby’s is likely to be a stand out candidate to fill the position. In first class condition with all the necessary documentation detailing the work carried out and the fact that it was once regularly the vehicle used by the Dalai Lama – this is one not to be missed.

Leo Davie
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