Range Rovers are widely considered among the most luxurious SUVs you can buy. But this nineties example heading to auction in a matter of days might be among the most opulent of them all.
The 1994 Range Rover Classic LSE is a stretched limousine version of the British premium off-roader, which has been designed by royalty and used to chauffeur a boxing icon.
It was originally commissioned by the Sultan of Brunei – who famously has one of the largest private collections of classic cars in the world – and was pictured in 2000 ferrying six-time heavyweight champion Mike Tyson during a visit to Glasgow for one of his most memorable fights.
Yet despite its incredible provenance, the UK auction house responsible for finding its next owner this month says the winning bid should be less than half the price of a brand new Range Rover today.
A Range Rover like no other could be yours at a knockout price: This 1994 SUV was extended on the orders of the 29th Sultan of Brunei, who originally commissioned the limo Rangey for his brother. Almost 30 years later, it could be yours with the motor heading to auction in a matter of days
Fitted with three business class-style armchairs in the back and a pair of period-correct box-style televisions, the Range has covered less than 17,000 miles in its life, says Iconic Auctioneers, which will be offering the extended motor at the NEC Classic Motor Show Sale on 11 November.
It was first ordered by the 29th Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah in 1994. However, not for himself but for his brother, Prince Jefri.
Given his incredible wealth and eye for expensive motor vehicles (his collection today is reportedly estimated at 7,000 vehicles at a combined value of $5billion), the Sultan’s bill for having the SUV stretched by 40 inches in length and kitted-out with the then-latest tech was a whopping £135,000.
Using the This is Money Historic Inflation Calculator, that invoice today would have been £327,125 – and that’s on top of the price of the Range Rover donor vehicle.
Fitted with three business class-style armchairs in the back and a pair of period-correct box-style televisions, the Range has covered less than 17,000 miles in its life
It was first ordered by the 29th Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah in 1994. The bill for having the SUV stretched by 40 inches in length and kitted-out with the then-latest tech was a whopping £135,000 (over £327,000 today)
The Sultan of Brunei – who is known for having one of the world’s biggest and expensive car collections in the world – ordered the SUV not for himself but for his brother, Prince Jefri
The conversion was carried out in Britain by specialist company, Townley Cross Country Vehicles Ltd, in Kent, and took nine months to complete.
The business is renowned for stretching several hundred examples, many of them tailored to the specific requirements of wealthy Middle Eastern clients.
The donor car was an end-of-the-line soft-dash 1994 Range Rover Classic LSE – a desirable model in its own right at the time.
Townley stretched the chassis and body by just over one metre and incorporated two additional fixed Range Rover doors in the centre.
The roof was raised by eight inches (20cm) to allow for the installation of a laminated sunroof together with darkened windows and a one-piece opening tailgate.
The conversion was carried out by specialist company, Townley Cross Country Vehicles Ltd and took nine months to complete. It stretched the chassis and body by just over one metre and incorporated two additional fixed Range Rover doors in the centre. The roof was raised by eight inches (20cm)
Interior features include a full electric centre division with glass panel (right) and a pair of 8-inch television screens
Despite having a massive wheelbase, the interior was designed for comfort, meaning it has just three reclining business class-style rear seats, two of which are electrically operated
Other features include full air conditioning, stereo and CD player and a VHS recorder
The rear cabin even has a number of small storage units, with mahogany doors and surrounds
Interior features include a full electric centre division with glass panel, three reclining rear seats (two electrically operated), full air conditioning, stereo and CD player, and two remote control 8-inch television monitors with a VHS recorder. That sounds dated now, but in 1994 these additions were the height of luxury in a vehicle.
The exterior was painted in Rolls-Royce Mason Black and the interior trimmed in black-piped Oxblood Connolly hide with Wilton carpeting and Burr Walnut embellishments.
It’s unclear when the SUV returned to UK soil, but by the summer of 2000 it was owned by the Glasgow Car Company.
It was this business that provided a chauffeur service for ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson around Glasgow ahead of his fight with fellow-American fighter Lou Savarese at Hampden Park on 23 June.
While Tyson is known for a somewhat of an eventful career in the ring – including biting Evander Holyfield’s ear and trying to snap Frans Botha’s arm – the Glasgow bout saw one of the strangest endings to a fight during the New Yorker’s career.
Within 26 seconds of the opening bell, Tyson accidentally floored referee John Coyle, as he tried to prevent an onslaught of punches from the former undisputed champ. Having got back to his feet, Coyle called the fight off just 12 seconds later with the fight declared a technical knockout after 38 seconds of round one – making it Tyson’s shortest career match.
Heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson pictured here wearing a kilt over his jeans and shaking the hands of fans from the top of a different car while on the way to training in Glasgow ahead of the fight in June 2000
The June 2000 fight is one of Tyson’s most memorable, given that he knocked over the referee, John Coyle, when he was trying to separate the two boxers within 28 seconds of the opening bell
Tyson floored Savarese and the fight was declared a technical knockout after just 38 seconds. It would be Tyson’s shortest ever professional bout
At the time it was used by Tyson ahead of his fight, it was reported that the Range Rover had covered 10,000 miles from new and was being offered for sale.
The vehicle passed to an owner in Denmark in January 2008, but since coming back to the UK, it has returned to its original registration L23 PWT and been looked after by Range Rover experts Bishop’s Heritage.
Purchased by the vendor at the same NEC auction in 2020) it will return to, the Range Rover has formed part of his large private collection for the last three years.
Serviced and MOT’d in May, the 4.2-litre V8-engined Range Rover has covered just 16,976 miles – that’s less than 600 miles on average a year since it was created.
Rob Hubbard, managing director at Iconic Auctioneers, says: ‘In a market where we’ve seen a recent world record for a Land Rover owned by Prince Philip at £142,000 and in this sale a Range Rover once driven and owned by her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth for £50,000 to £60,000, this stretched Range Rover that links the Sultan of Brunei with Mike Tyson, is every bit as fascinating, given this royal and sporting royalty provenance.
‘We are expecting huge interest from around the world in this vehicle.’
The limousine SUV has covered just 16,976 miles – that’s less than 600 miles on average a year since it was created
The stretched Range Rover was last serviced and MOT’d in May 2023. The 4.2-litre V8-engine should be in fine working order given its limited use
The interior looks almost untouched, with deep red leather seats and door insets. The mahogany insets match those in the back
A spare wheel is carried in the boot compartment, while on the other side you can see one of the speakers in the upgraded sound system
So how much is it expected to go for?
Properly engineered by a renowned specialist, in superb condition and showing low mileage, the striking motor has a provenance that few vehicles can boast.
Yet the guide price is a relatively affordable £30,000 to £40,000.
To put that into perspective, the cheapest 2023 Range Rover – the Standard Wheelbase D300 AWD – starts at £103,720, which is two to three times the estimate of the Sultan’s bespoke Rangey.
Iconic Auctioneers says the car be ‘ideal for corporate ventures and promotional events or taking your extended family out to lunch’.