Back in October 2012 we were fortunate to be able to acquire one of the very earliest Range Rovers in existence – chassis number 10 – from the private collection at Dunsfold Land Rovers.
YVB 158H has been well documented since it was built in late 1969 and early 1970 as one of the 28 pre-production Range Rovers which were code-named VELAR; this one was registered 9th February 1970.
The factory build records suggest that our Velar was originally painted in Lincoln Green, but during the course of our nut and bolt rebuild we have conclusively determined that it was indeed originally painted in Land Rover Bronze Green, making it unique amongst the 28 as the only one painted in this colour.
Land Rover’s Special Projects Department used YVB 158H as a test mule for front-mounted winches before it was sent to specialist vehicle converters Wadham Stringer in Hampshire who converted it to an Ambulance. It was in this guise that the vehicle was used, firstly by Rover Cars’ Transport Department as the works ambulance at the Solihull factory, and later sold (in 1977) to the British Red Cross in Worcester. In 1991 it was rescued by early Range Rover enthusiast and founding member of the Range Rover Register Chris Elliott, who passed it on to the Dunsfold Collection in 2001, from whom we purchased it.
We will be updating you with the progress of our thorough restoration over the coming months and years, as we return it to its original incarnation as one of the most historically important Velars still in existence, and as such a hugely important vehicle in the long and successful history of the Range Rover marque.