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The Land Rover Series IIA used by the Dalai Lama will soon be up for sale. The SUV in question was used by the 14th Dalai Lama for a decade as his personal vehicle. It will be put up for auction on 29 August and is expected to fetch between $100,000 and $150,000 (Rs 68.5 lakh and Rs 1.02 crore).
The Dalai Lama is one of the dearest and most loved spiritual leaders across the world. This particular Land Rover Series IIA was used by the Dalai Lama as his personal vehicle between 1966 and 1976 in Dharamshala.
Dharamshala was the Indian mountain city that the Dalai Lama made his home after escaping from Tibet when the Chinese invaded the country. The Series IIA was used as his personal vehicle to take him around the mountainous regions.
Though he did not drive the vehicle himself, he spent a lot of time on the co-driver's seat. Back then, the mountainous regions around Dharamshala were nowhere close to being developed. The broken and non-existent roads combined with the treacherous terrain made sure that only a 4WD vehicle like the Land Rover Defender could be used.
The Dalai Lama used this particular Series IIA to drive all the way to Nepal and back, several times. The Land Rover Series I, II and III are legendary vehicles and command lots of respect in the off-road and vintage circles. The original Land Rover Series I was created as an all-terrain light utility vehicle for the British armed forces way back in 1947.
It was loved for its durability and sturdiness. It was a car that was able to stay off the road its entire life and would never complain about it. The reliability of the Land Rover Series I, II & III was so brilliant that, Land Rover boldly claimed in 1992 that more than 70 percent of the Land Rovers built were still functioning well.
This claim was made 31 years after production of the Series IIA had started. The Land Rover Series II was discontinued in 1961 and was replaced by the Series IIA. The Series IIA remained in production until 1971 when it was replaced by the Series III.
Dalai Lama took delivery of his Series IIA in 1966 when he visited the Land Rover factory in England. It came with a 2,286cc, four-cylinder petrol engine with a maximum power output of 67bhp and a peak torque output of 157Nm. It came with a proper 4x4 drivetrain, with a low ratio transfer case that made it easy to drive on non-existent roads.
Many consider the Series IIA with this particular engine to be one of the most rugged and hardy Land Rover series models ever built. That in itself made the vehicle special. Adding to it is the fact that the Dalai Lama used it for a decade. West Coast British restored the vehicle in 2005. It was restored to its original condition and still uses the same engine, gearbox, transfer case, differential and chassis. The car is up for auction at RMSothebys.
Thoughts On Dalai Lama's Old Land Rover Series IIA Up For Auction & Expected To Fetch Around Rs 1 Crore
There is a good market value for Land Rover Series IIA models thanks to their hardy nature. With this Series IIA though, the value shot up by a large margin because it once belonged to the 14th Dalai Lama. Exactly how much it fetches remains to be seen. But this car will remain an icon irrespective of how much money it fetches in auction.