Millennials and Gen Zers might say the front end on this Range Rover has a cyberpunk look, based on a recent revival of interest in the visual genre. And with its genesis in the late 1970s, this Rangie even arrived around the same time as science fiction media like Judge Dredd first brought the concept to life.
But as the extensive patina and slightly dishevelled look of this 1977 Wood & Pickett conversion suggest, the ‘Sheer Rover’ that sold online through Bonhams for £21,951, including fees, comfortably over its £15,000 upper estimate, is firmly rooted in the past. And it has a previous famous owner to prove it.
That owner was Peter Sellers, known in automotive circles almost as much for his spectacular taste in motive metal as his acting and comedic roles. Over the years, Sellers owned everything from the de rigeur celebrity choices of Rolls-Royce and Jaguars, to a Ferrari 250 GTE, a Bristol 407, and a Buick Riviera.
Sellers is also known for his distinctive Radford-converted Mini with its wicker-style sides, but for the Range Rover he bought in 1979, he went to another well-known coachbuilder of the era, Wood & Pickett. Known as the Sheer Rover and developed in conjunction with Harrods, the car was delivered to Sellers at his home in Gstaad, Switzerland, but he owned it for only a short period before his untimely death in 1980, aged 54. Since then, it has been in the ownership of one family.
Unusual nose aside – with its surprisingly 1980s-style angled grille covering the traditional Range Rover front end down to the bumper – the exterior is otherwise much as Range Rover designed it, though at one point it did wear polished Wolfrace alloy wheels, which are decidedly un-Range Rover. The similarity should make restoring it a little simpler, with plenty of specialists out there only too willing to revive these classic 4x4s.
The interior, however, is rather different, from its red Draylon-trimmed Recaro seats to the extended dashboard top incorporating extra dials, extra vents, and stereo equipment. Down by the driver’s side is a distinctly 1970s-looking Pioneer graphic equalizer panel.
The car’s history file includes recent bills for just shy of £3000)to get it running and driving, but it’s not yet ready for an MOT (though, in fairness, it’s old enough not to require one), so should the new owner want to get it going properly before any kind of restoration, they’ll need a deep breath and a willing bank manager.
Wood & Pickett’s experience with the Sheer Rover subsequently led to the development of an ‘In Vogue’ special edition—a name that might sound familiar, since Land Rover has offered Vogue trim on its Range Rovers ever since.
No modern Rangie looks like this one, though. Maybe it’s time to get on the phone to Jaguar Land Rover chief creative Gerry McGovern and suggest he looks to Judge Dredd, Blade Runner, and Akira for some stylistic inspiration.