A majestic convertible with a music royalty connection

Our "Vehicle of the Month" for June has a rather appropriate
link to royalty - musically speaking that is. 
David Barker's Range Rover was once owned by Roger Taylor, drummer of legendary rock band, Queen and, if this vehicle could speak, imagine the secrets it could tell! Fortunately, through the medium of a Car Facts Disc, it can reveal its own life-story of 'fame and fortune and everything that goes with it'. Read on as David takes you through its life as a jubilant celebrity.
The conversion was commissioned from new by Roger Taylor (drummer in rock band Queen) and undertaken by Townley Cross Country Vehicles of Bexley Heath, Kent.

Chassis no 2AA/112023 left the Land Rover factory on 12 March 1981 as a standard two range Rover painted in ‘Sandglow’. The finished car was first registered to Roger Meadows Taylor on 3 June 1981 and dispatched via Townley’s Mayfair Showroom at 16, Berkeley Street, London.


Roger Taylor’s specification included a fully automatic power operated hood complete with inner cloth headlining, power operated front windows and rear quarters, flared wing extensions, central cubby box, Wolfrace Turbovec alloy wheels, front Recaro sport seats and black paint. At the time the cost was more than double the list price of a standard model – over £200K at today’s prices.


It’s widely acknowledged Townley produced the highest number and greatest variations of Range Rover conversions; often for the Middle East market. During the 80's they produced high quality bespoke conversions specifically tailored to each customers unique specifications. Range Rover Convertibles are now one of the rarest versions of this iconic genre defining vehicle with only a few examples surviving globally.


The car has won many awards and featured in a wide selection of magazines.


Top Gear magazine recently named the car as no 6 in their article ‘10 of the most interesting Range Rovers ever built’.



Celebrating Range Rover 50th anniversary at Goodwood. 50 special Range Rovers (including mine) marking milestones in the vehicle's history were chosen to drive a parade lap at Goodwood Speed Week and create this formation.
However, it hasn't always been the shiny example we see today...
Unfortunately PMV 378W was in a sorry and unloved state. At some time in its life the car had been modified with newer parts and re-painted metallic maroon, the hood was almost completely perished and most of the leather trim was brittle with neglect. Following a thorough and sympathetic restoration based on original photographs and information, the car has now been returned to its former glory.
It's always good to take the rough with the smooth
and here is some more smooth...
Ed only just managed to fit, even with the roof down!
Tom gave it the thumbs up.
Colin ‘dug’ it!
Jonny asked me to take it to his show
Sarah said she didn’t like it! Her favourite car is a brown Morris Marina
- to each their own I suppose. Just as well I’m not easily offended
Flats loved it


The rock-star Range Rover owner by Queen’s Roger Taylor

 While Lilibet is named after the monarch, David Barker’s 1981 two-door convertible is connected to a different Queen – the British rock band.

 “The original owner was drummer Roger Taylor,” said Barker. “It was converted from new to a convertible. I don’t know if he saw it in a showroom or specified how he wanted it to be – no roof, electric windows, wood trim, leather. He owned it for about two years then sold it to Queen’s manager, Jim Beach, and Queen’s management company.”

Barker has a photograph of Taylor sitting in the car, and the documents show the musician was the first owner. But there’s a slim chance it could have been driven by an even bigger star: lead singer Freddie Mercury.

“There are rumours that this was Freddie’s car,” Barker said. But he’s not so sure. “Freddie didn’t drive. I think he sat in the back of a Rolls-Royce, mostly.”

Barker has wanted a Range Rover since he was a child, and remembers the exact moment his passion was kindled.

“I had a friend at school when I was 17 or 18, and we were both into cars. He bought himself a Renault R8 Gordini and I spent some time towing it around a field in his dad’s brand new two-door Range Rover. We never did get the Renault going but I remember thinking, ‘One day, I’m going to work hard, save up and get a Range Rover.’”

The mortgage and children’s education came first, Barker said, but having got through all that, his first Range Rover was “the icing on the cake”.

Barker has owned them ever since, and eventually got into a financial position to be able to afford a hobby car. He decided on a two-door Range Rover, and one caught his eye at auction.

“There was a rumour it might have had something to do with the band,” he said, “but that’s not why I bought it. I just wanted a two-door and this was a bit unusual.”

It took Barker two years to restore it, researching its original specification.

“It was a different colour when I bought it – a really nice metallic maroon. But the original documents showed that it was black. It also had different wheels, more modern bumpers, and had been upgraded to look newer.

“But actually, it was just a wreck: it didn’t drive; the roof was shredded; the leather was so dry you could poke a finger through it.”


Many thanks to David for sharing this magnificent story with us. What's more, not only is David the proud owner of this unique vehicle but he is also a member of Sporting Bears, a dedicated group of classic car and sports car  enthusiasts with the primary aim to raise money for children’s charities through their own social, dream rides and touring events, and to support other charitable events.
The charity has raised over £2,500,000 for children’s charities in the UK.
No mean feat and truly fantastic!

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