1953 Minerva Land Rover Series I

RM Open Roads February 2021
Friday, 19 February - Sunday, 28 February 2021
€11,550 ($13,976)
Sale Price
€20,000 - €30,000
Est. Range
26 February 2021
Sold Date
Lot Number
Visually maintained, largely original
RM Sotheby's
Auction House
Chassis no. 36633393; Engine no. 36136506. Green over burgundy. 2.0-liter four, 4-speed manual, side exhaust, wing mirrors, rear-mounted spare.

Evaluation: Located in Italy. Relatively rare Series I Land Rover assembled by Minerva for the Belgian Army from knock-down kits supplied by Rover. About 2,500 were built. Mostly original but not necessarily abused and recently had a full fluid flush. That said, every surface top to bottom is dull and aged, and it looks like it spent much of its life outside.

Bottom Line: During the prewar years Belgium’s Minerva built some of the world’s finest, largest, and most expensive motorcars. By the 1950s, however, it had been reduced to building Land Rovers under contract for the Belgian army and by 1956 was defunct.

With just a few built for hard military use, Minerva Land Rovers are much harder than their British-built counterparts. And given that the Belgians mostly used steel bodies instead of the aluminum used on British Land Rovers, the Minervas didn’t last as long, either. None of this means that the Minervas are particularly prized, however. In car collecting, home-grown vehicles are almost always worth more than versions built under contract in foreign countries, and this is no exception. Even with a protracted back and forth that totaled 48 bids and several 2-minute extensions, this Rover sold for a few grand less than a British Series I in identical condition would have.

by Andrew Newton
6 March 2021
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Condition definitions
Condition #1: Concours
Condition #1 vehicles are the best in the world. The visual image is of the best vehicle, in the right colors, driving onto the lawn at the finest concours. Perfectly clean, the vehicle has been groomed down to the tire treads. Painted and chromed surfaces are mirror-like. Dust and dirt are banned, and materials used are correct and superbly fitted. The one word description for #1 vehicles is “concours.“
Condition #2: Excellent
#2 vehicles could win a local or regional show. They can be former #1 vehicles that have been driven or have aged. Seasoned observers will have to look closely for flaws, but will be able to find some not seen by the general public. The paint, chrome, glass and finishes will all appear as excellent. No excessive smoke will be seen on startup, no unusual noises will emanate from the engine. The vehicle will drive as a new vehicle of its era would. The one word description for #2 vehicles is “excellent.“
Condition #3: Good
#3 vehicles could possess some, but not all of the issues of a #4 vehicle, but they will be balanced by other factors such as a fresh paint job or a new, correct interior where applicable. #3 vehicles drive and run well, but might have some incorrect parts. These vehicles are not used for daily transportation but are ready for a long tour without excuses, and the casual passerby will not find any visual flaws. “Good” is the one word description of a #3 vehicle.
Condition #4: Fair
#4 vehicles are daily drivers, with flaws visible to the naked eye. The chrome might have pitting or scratches, the windshield might be chipped. Paintwork is imperfect, and perhaps the body has a minor dent. Split seams or a cracked dash, where applicable, might be present. No major parts are missing, but the wheels could differ from the originals, or other non- stock additions might be present. A #4 vehicle can also be a deteriorated restoration. “Fair” is the one word that describes a #4 vehicle.
Condition #5: Poor
Running, but battered, incomplete, and perhaps rusty.
Condition #6: Parts car
Parts car.
Hagerty only assigns condition ratings to vehicles we can inspect in person or, for online listings, via high-quality photography.