An unregistered 1968 Land Rover Series IIA Lightweight, 1985 110 cherry-picker prototype and one-off Rolls-Royce V12 commercial vehicle have been unearthed in Peebles
Nestled deep in the Peeblesshire countryside not far out of Edinburgh, a host of rare and one-off vehicles have been unearthed by researchers scouting for photoshoot locations.
The landowner currently holds custody of various early Range Rovers, Land Rover Discoverys and commercial trucks in a collection of some two dozen vehicles, dating as far back as the late 1950s. There’s even the Snow Trac that featured with Jerry Thurston on Channel 4’s Salvage Squad.
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However, the biggest surprise is huddled away in a warehouse. Under two-inches of dust lurks one of the earliest Land Rover Lightweights ever built by the Solihull factory. Dating from December 1968 (production started on 11 November 1968), this Series IIA Lightweight has never been registered for the road. In fact, the odometer has barely turned.
Apparently kept solely for top-brass military parades, for whatever reason the Land Rover never received a road-going registration plate. Demobbed in the early 1980s, the vehicle has been kept in storage ever since. Naturally, the Series IIA is almost 100% original.
There's only been one change in half a century; a new canvas roof, as the previous hood had perished with age. For those in Land Rover circles, examples such as this remain the work of myth and urban legend. But it doesn’t end there.
Across the warehouse rests a Land Rover 110 bearing C-prefix registration, which is early by production standards but far from the first. But documentation proves the vehicle’s history as a Land Rover test mule.
Whether it left Land Rover’s Solihull factory in its current form – a cherry picker – remains largely unknown. However, there is a belief that the 110 was a test bed for exercising conversion types to test chassis strength back in the 1980s.
Rolls-Royce V12 Airport vehicle - SRV1
A further hidden gem sits at the warehouse entrance, but it isn’t a Land Rover. Rather, it looks like something Gerry Anderson would commission for a live-action Thunderbirds remake. Originally boasting Rolls-Royce power and a bespoke air suspension system, the bulky airport vehicle was an experimental build to test the market for ground support equipment.
Very little is known about the vehicle and the original powerplant has long been lost, but the vendor believes ‘SRV1’ was powered by a Rolls-Royce V12 Meteor engine. That would mean, when new, the vehicle could churn out 600bhp at 2400rpm and offer 1450lb ft of torque. Enough to tow a plane.
With the displacement figures recorded on technical drawings that accompany SRV1, the engine could also have been the Meteor’s smaller V8 brethren. Further investigation is required to find out more.
Also on site was an incredibly rare Schmidt Unimog Snow Blower, of which very few were made and virtually none have survived. You can see the early Unimog in action here:
All the vehicles mentioned are lined up for restoration. Rumour states the Lightweight Land Rover may also be for sale in the near future. We’ll keep you posted…