A sharp-eyed farmer who spotted the great man's name on an old Land Rover's log book is about to make a great deal of money – although it has taken 39 years for the investment to mature.

The story stated in 1954, when Land Rover gave Winston Churchill the car for his 80th birthday, complete with the registration UKE 80. The specification included an extra wide passenger seat, a leather grab handle, a footwell heater for the open car, and a box to accommodate Churchill's trowel – apparently his hobby was bricklaying.

The car was inherited by his son-in-law, Lord Soames, who sold it for £160 in 1973. The buyer asked his neighbour, Frank Quay to help him transport it from Tonbridge Wells to Orpington. Mr. Quay spotted probably the most famous name on any UK log book, and bought the Land Rover for £320 there and then.

He used it for a few years, and then took it off the road in 1977, only bringing it out for charity fund-raisers. Mr Quay's son Leslie, 49, is now selling it through Cambridge auctioneers Cheffins.

The car only has 12,932 miles on the clock, which would make it a very valuable Series One in its own right. However, the normal value of around £15,000 - £20,000 has been increased to £50,000 - £60,000 by the inclusion of Churchill's name on the log book (and it really does have a log book, unlike a modern car)

The auction will take place in Sutton near Ely on October 20. Jeremy Curzon, associate auctioneer at Cheffins, said, not unreasonably: "In view of Churchill's position as the foremost statesman of the 20th century, we expect a lot of interest."