Rare Rides: The 1986 Lands Precedent Sportswagon, Ultimate Obscure Luxury Van Time

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides the 1986 lands precedent sportswagon ultimate obscure luxury van time

A gray, two-tone shape crossed the screen of my phone. What followed was one of those moments where one has no idea how to identify the thing upon which they are gazing. The Facebook ad was titled “1986 Other Other,” but what was it?

Presenting the Lands Precedent Sportswagon, from 1986.

It’s a bit difficult to gather information on the Lands, but the various sources around the interwebs do boil down to a consistent tale. The Lands Motor Company was established in the mid-Eighties by an unknown party, who saw the potential for a new kind of automobile. The goal was to combine the practical shapes of a wagon and minivan into a six-passenger luxury conveyance. A Precedent, if you will.

The shape was designed by Alain Clenet, who owned a coachbuilding company. Clenet made his name building the Neoclassical coupes popular in the Seventies and early Eighties, albeit of higher quality than many other examples. The mechanical portion of the Precedent was engineered by the well-known Corvette modifier Dick Guldstrand.

Guldstrand jumped ship to Ford and selected a Mustang 5.0 to power the Precedent. He combined it with the Corvette’s rear end since it was friendly to modification. The van-wagon body was made from fiberglass and used steel doors from a Citroën CX. The rear end’s large glass hatch contained integrated rear lights, which were borrowed from a Trans Am. Wheels for the Precedent were unique, and designed by Pirelli. You’ll recognize the headlamps from a Lincoln Mark VII. The whole car has a Nissan-meets-Discovery vibe to it, with Gladiator conversion style luxury.

Inside, utmost attention was paid to detail and the use of luxurious materials. Real rosewood trim covered many surfaces, while seating was stadium-style, and passengers lounged in captain’s chairs. There was also a television in the center console and an electrically-powered liquor dispenser.

The Precedent project cost a reported $1 million and saw two completed Sportswagons roll out of a factory in Elkhart, Indiana (a town known for conversion vans). One completed example was white, the other gray as shown here. One or the other has popped up on the internet over the years, usually with little information. Seemingly after the first two Precedents were complete, the company vanished.

Today’s subject is the gray one, which is presently for sale in Alabama for $9,500. With 6,324 miles on the odometer, it’s seen better days. The listing pictures are terrible, but we’ve found some from other sources when the Precedents were in better shape.

[Images: seller, seller, seller]

Join the conversation
2 of 36 comments
  • Tagbert Tagbert on Jan 03, 2021

    What you get when an ‘85 Buick Century and an ‘85 Honda Civic Wagon had a baby...

  • AlexMcD AlexMcD on Jan 04, 2021

    This is the answer to the question: If you gave a pile of random car parts to 1,000 monkeys could they design a car in the dark, while on LSD?

  • John H Last week after 83 days, dealership said mine needs new engine now. They found metal in oil. Potential 8 to 9 month wait.
  • Dukeisduke An aunt and uncle of mine traded their '70 T-Bird (Beakbird) for a brand-new dark metallic green '75 LTD two-door, fully loaded. My uncle hated seat belts, so the first time I saw the car (it was so new that the '75 models had just landed at the dealerships) he proudly showed me how he'd pulled the front seat belts all the way out of their retractors, and cut the webbing with a razor blade(!).Just a year later, they traded it in for a new '76 Cadillac Coupe de Ville (they had owned a couple of Imperials in the '60s), and I imagine the Cadillac dealer took a chunk out to the trade-in, to get the front seat belts replaced.
  • CaddyDaddy Lease fodder that in 6 years will be on the 3rd owner in a poverty bound aspirational individual's backyard in a sub par neighborhood sinking into the dirt. The lending bank will not even want to repossess and take possession of this boat anchor of a toxic waste dump. This proves that EVs are not even close to being ready for prime time (let's not even talk about electrical infrastructure). EVs only exist in wildly expensive virtue signaling status-mobiles. FAIL! I know this is a Hybrid, but it's a Merc., so it will quickly die after the warranty. Show me a practical EV for the masses and I'll listen. At this time, Hybrids are about the way to go for most needing basic transportation.
  • Jeanbaptiste The bubble free dash on the R32!
  • Dukeisduke A seven-year-old Cadillac, and a front-wheel-drive one at that? Maybe instead title this series "Overpriced User Car Review"?