13th Mar, 2024 13:00

Imperial War Museum | Duxford, Cambridgeshire

 
Lot 80
 

1952 Minerva Land Rover Blindé Air Commando
1 of just 30 Air Commandos produced

Sold for £33,188

(including buyers premium)


Lot details

Registration No: WXG 256
Chassis No: 36632396
MOT: Exempt

  • Fully armoured Blindé example
  • 1 of just 30 Blindé Air Commandos reputedly produced, the rarest of the two variants and the only one known in the United Kingdom
  • Formerly part of a large Land Rover and military vehicle collection
  • Benefitting from recent mechanical improvement

The Minerva company, based in Belgium, struck a deal with the Rover Company in 1951, allowing Minerva to build Land Rovers in 'knock down' form under license in their home country. The vehicles were effectively UK-made Land Rover Series I's but with unique Belgian-made steel bodies. The Belgian armed forces used the Minerva Land Rover extensively, with the military versions having specific modifications, such as pintle hooks for towing, blackout lighting, and provisions for fitting radios and other military equipment. This played a crucial role in bolstering Belgium’s post-war military vehicle fleet. The end of the collaboration (in 1956 after some 10,000 vehicles) was reportedly due to multiple factors, including Rover’s decision to set up their own operations and sales network in Belgium.

The Minerva Series I “Blindé” was a bulletproof/armoured version of the Minerva Series I that featured dual semi-circular bulletproof glass screens which protect the driver and front gunner, a bulletproof radiator grille, and 1/4 steel armor plating. Reputedly only 66 were made in total, 36 Blindé Parachute with lighter armament, with the full armoured version, the Blindé Air Commando, of which 30 were produced. The Blindé were also equipped with dual front-mounted machine guns, a single rear-mounted machine gun, a bazooka, and a radio with a wrap-around antenna. They were finished in matte army green and typically carried a front-mounted spare tyre, and a rear cargo rack for jerry cans and other supplies. Very few are known to remain today as many were destroyed or abandoned in the Belgian Congo during the 1960s ‘Congo Crisis’.

Chassis ‘36632396’ was manufactured in 1952 and is one of the thirty fully armoured Blindé Air Commando examples produced. Fully equipped with the original radio, wrap-around aerial, and replica machine guns, it also comes equipped with bonnet mounting equipment (with ingenious spade locating design), and original netting. Imported into the United Kingdom in c.2015, the Minerva resided in a large private collection of Land Rovers and military vehicles from its import until last year, when it was purchased by the vendor. Benefitting from mechanical improvement since the vendor's acquisition, the Minerva has received a new carburettor, engine tuning, electrical attention, and servicing to the engine, gearbox and axle. Supplied with a current V5C document showing just two UK keepers, ‘WXG 256’ is the only Blindé Air Commandos known to be in the United Kingdom, and being the rarest of the two variants produced, with only around 66 in total, this is an exceptionally rare piece of military vehicle history. Potentially ideal for the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy later this year too!

For more information, please contact:
Paul Cheetham
paul.cheetham@handh.co.uk
07538 667452

 

Auction: Imperial War Museum | Duxford, Cambridgeshire, 13th Mar, 2024

An auction of classic, collector and performance motorcars to be held at the iconic and visually stunning Imperial War Museum, Duxford. Venue Details 

To enquire about entering your classic or performance car into the auction please call our sales office on 01925 210035, email sales@HandH.co.uk or click here: Enter Your Classic Motorcar 

All our professional valuations are complimentary and without obligation.

To take part in the live online bidding please click 'Register to Bid | Sign In' at the top of the page  Register to Bid

Viewing

Tues 12th March from 12pm
Wed 13th March from 9am

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All successful bids must be paid in full by midday the day after the auction at the latest.

You can collect your new pride and joy from our venue until 1pm the day following the sale or our partners are on hand to help arrange safe transportation:

               

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If so, contact one of our friendly specialists for your free valuation by completing the form below and someone will get back to you as quickly as possible.

If you prefer to speak to humans, don't hesitate to call our office on +44 (0)1925 210035

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