Getting around India and Nepal can be challenging, so the Dalai Lama turned to a 1966 Land Rover Series IIA 88 while in exile. RM Sotheby’s has the Land Rover owned by His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama up for sale. The Land Rover was delivered new to Nepal on February 17, 1966, and was driven almost exclusively by the Dalai Lama’s brother, Tenzin Cheogyal. Tenzin drove the Land Rover to India and used it to take his brother throughout the Dharamsala region along mountains roads, where it saw plenty of hard use.
The Land Rover was used in official service for a decade, and then maintained by Tenzin until 2005, when it was donated to the Dalia Lama Foundation in Palo Alto, California. There—or more precisely in Livermore, California—it was restored. The Land Rover’s original parts, including the seats, tires, and other interior parts, were kept and then returned to the vehicle after the restoration. All told, more than $49,000 worth of work was done to bring the Land Rover back to its original condition. The restoration was finished with the classic Bronze Green paint scheme so popular with Land Rovers.
The Land Rover was featured as the cover vehicle for Land Rover Lifestyle magazine in the December 2007 issue. The listing comes with a copy of the magazine as well as plenty of documentation. The Haynes Land Rover Series II Owners Workshop Manual features Tenzin’s signature on the first page. The original license plate is still on the vehicle and there is also the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust Certificate.
The Dalai Lama spent many years in this Land Rover, spreading his message and doing his work. Maybe there’s still some of the quiet peace that he so fully demonstrates lingering in this classic automobile—and perhaps the next owner can channel a bit of that.