Car collectors are used to seeing envy-inducing listings for vehicles driven by legends like Steve McQueen or owned by racing stars like Mario Andretti. But a car owned by a world-renowned spiritual leader? That’s something else entirely. Now, a Land Rover once owned by the Dalai Lama is about to hit the auction block.
A 1966 Land Rover Series IIA 88 once owned by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama is set to be sold at the 49th annual Auburn Fall event in Indiana on Saturday, the auction house announced. In outstanding condition, the classic boxy SUV was owned by the Dalai Lama’s family for nearly four decades.
After it was completed in February 1966, the Bronze Green vehicle was delivered to Nepal, where His Holiness’s brother, Tenzin Cheogyal, would pick it to serve as the Dalai Lama’s official vehicle for the next decade. Over the years, the SUV would be driven mainly by Cheogyal, who acted as His Holiness’s personal driver on the mountainous roads of the Dharamsala region of in the South Asian country. According to RM Sotheby’s, Cheogyal kept driving the vehicle until 2005, when it was donated to the Dalai Lama Foundation in Palo Alto, California, in order to raise money for Tibetan refugees.
Upon arriving in the United States, the Series IIA 88 underwent a thorough, nearly year-long restoration, reported to have cost more than $49,000. Built on an 88-inch-wheelbase chassis, the vehicle still features some of its original parts, including the seat, interior parts and tires, all of which were saved during the restoration. The SUV also includes extensive documentation and paperwork, like its British Motor Industry Heritage Trust Certificate and the original owner’s manual signed by Cheogyal.
Once dubbed one of the best American Land Rovers by Land Rover Lifestyle magazine, the Dalai Lama’s trusted Series IIA 88 is expected to sell in for somewhere between $100,000 and $150,000. Check out more photos of the SUV below: