The Dalai Lama’s Land Rover Series IIA for auction

By: Alex Affat, Unique Cars magazine

Dalai Lama s Land Rover front quarter Dalai Lama s Land Rover front quarter
Dalai Lama s Land Rover rear quarter Dalai Lama s Land Rover rear quarter
Dalai Lama s Land Rover engine Dalai Lama s Land Rover engine
Dalai Lama s Land Rover interior Dalai Lama s Land Rover interior

RM Sotheby’s Auburn auction is offering some seriously divine wheels

His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama’s personal Land Rover Series IIA is coming to auction at RM Sotheby’s Auburn Fall auction August 29, estimated to fetch between US$100,000-$150,000 (AU$142,000-$212,000).

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The Dalai Lama never actually drove the car, however he spent a lot of time in the passenger seat, touring through India, Nepal, and over the Himalayas. The faithful old ‘Landie’ acted as the Dalai Lama’s personal transport for 1- years between 1966 and 1976 – a time when many of the rural roads were unpaved and treacherous.


The ’66 Land Rover Series IIA was delivered to Nepal on February 17 1966, where it was then driven by the Dalai Lama’s brother, Tenzin Cheogyal, into India where he primarily drove his Holiness throughout the following ten years of hard work.

RM Sotheby’s stipulates that Cheogyal retained ownership of the car until 2005 after it was discharged in 1976.

The car was then donated to the Dalai Lama Foundation in Palo Alto, California – with the goal of raising funds for Tibetan refugees. The car was fastidiously restored by Land Rover experts in Livermore California, who spent a year doing a full nut and bolt restoration concluding in 2006.


The original seats, various interior pieces and the original tyres were all saved throughout the restoration, and will be included in the sale of the vehicle.

The restoration documentation includes receipts totalling over US$49,000, and the car presents beautifully and exactly as it left the factory back in 1966.


The old Land Rover is accompanied by extensive and comprehensive documentation, including the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust Certificate, original Land Rover Series II owner’s manual (signed by Cheogyal), original licence plate still on the car, Indiant titles and insurance policies naming the Dalai Lama as the owner, paperwork regarding its 2005 donation to the Dalai Lama foundation, and various photos and magazine articles.

But if a possible AU$200,000 for one old Land Rover is a bit much – perhaps take a look at this 11-strong collection up for around the same price.


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