Yours to own...iconic green Land Rover which set River Cottage Hugh on the road to TV fame

PUBLISHED: 16:40 12 November 2020 | UPDATED: 12:21 16 November 2020

The iconic green Land Rover has been lovingly restored. Photo: John Brown 4x4

The iconic green Land Rover has been lovingly restored. Photo: John Brown 4x4

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Celebrity chef adds his signature to famous Gastrowagon restored to its former glory

Hugh was so delighted with the discovery and restoration of the Gastrowagon that when he was briefly reunited with it he signed the dashboard! Photo: John Brown 4x4Hugh was so delighted with the discovery and restoration of the Gastrowagon that when he was briefly reunited with it he signed the dashboard! Photo: John Brown 4x4

The iconic green Land Rover which launched chef Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s TV career could be yours to buy.

The Gastrowagon which the celebrity chef and food campaigner used in his first major TV series A Cook On The Wild Side has been lovingly restored by a specialist classic Land Rover supplier and is going on sale to the public via auction in December 2020.

And Hugh was so delighted with the discovery and restoration of the Gastrowagon that when he was briefly reunited with it he signed the dashboard!

In the classic TV series which first aired in 1995, the ‘star of the show’ was the distinctive green Land Rover used by Hugh to travel up and down the country, in which he cooked, ate and slept.

Through hours of research and studying stills of the DVD, the TV icon has been completely rebuilt. Photo: John Brown 4x4Through hours of research and studying stills of the DVD, the TV icon has been completely rebuilt. Photo: John Brown 4x4

While the accompanying book to the series is still available, the fate of the 4x4 icon was not clear, leaving avid fans of Hugh wondering where the Land Rover has disappeared to for the past 25 years.

When the Gastrowagon was finally unearthed and delivered to John Brown 4x4, it was in a sorry state and an array of pieces. Through hours of research and studying stills of the DVD, this TV icon has been completely rebuilt and refurbished to the original fully functioning specifications, at museum quality.

Greg Hendry, Marketing Manager at John Brown 4x4, says: “When we first completed this restoration, we intended for the car to go to a museum and stay completely pristine for years to come.

The main feature is the foldout cookery area. Photo: John Brown 4x4The main feature is the foldout cookery area. Photo: John Brown 4x4

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“However, we couldn’t leave this car to sit in a museum - we’d rather a fan of Hugh and River Cottage care for this car and enjoy its features travelling the country, the purpose for which the vehicle was originally intended.

The Gastrowagon was a big hit when it was shown at the Spring Fair at River Cottage HQ. Photo: John Brown 4x4The Gastrowagon was a big hit when it was shown at the Spring Fair at River Cottage HQ. Photo: John Brown 4x4

“We had such fun bringing this piece of TV cookery history back to life, and can’t wait to see the Gastrowagon pop up around the British countryside for years to come.”

Once the build was completed, the John Brown 4x4 crew were invited to show the iconic vehicle during the Spring Fair at River Cottage HQ. Hugh came to have a chat, reminisced about his time cooking in the wild across the UK, and kindly signed the dashboard.

Everything that viewers saw Hugh driving around and utilising throughout the TV series are included in the unique car.

The main feature is the foldout cookery area, one of the Land Rover sides is a table, and the back opens up to create a full kitchen with a two-burner hob, oven and fridge – and they all work perfectly for the ultimate camping and cooking trip. Included with this are original specification cookery equipment, such as the vintage ice cream maker which Hugh used to create gooseberry ice cream.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's first TV appearance of note was in the Gastrovan. Photo Terry IfeHugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's first TV appearance of note was in the Gastrovan. Photo Terry Ife

Other features include the boat on the roof which is the sleeping quarters, and a shower plumbed onto the car, which is fully functional and runs from a water tank also on the roof.

You can have the chance to purchase this one-off car on 11 December, at the Bonhams MPH December Sale,when the Gastrowagon will line up with 100 other modern, popular and historic vehicles in the live and online sale at Bicester Heritage, the Home of Historic Motoring in Oxfordshire,. A live auctioneer will be taking online, telephone and absentee bids, complying with current COVID-19 guidelines.

You can also book yourself in for socially distanced pre-sale viewings in the former RAF Bomber Station’s ‘Hangar 113’ – the perfect setting for the auction of this unique vehicle.

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