When vehicle manufacturers celebrate a major milestone in their history, it’s quite common for them to produce anniversary models that pay homage to a vehicle from the company’s early days, or to roll out some historic models for an event or photoshoot. Well, Land Rover is going right back to the very beginning to celebrate its 70th anniversary in 2018, by restoring a vehicle that effectively started everything for the British brand.
The vehicle being restored is one of three pre-production Land Rovers that were originally shown in 1948 at the Amsterdam Motor Show Launch. That was the moment when the world was given its first glimpse of the iconic vehicle shape that would forever become synonymous with the Land Rover name.
Even though almost half of all Land Rovers ever built are supposed to still be on the road, the whereabouts of this one was something of a mystery for quite a while. The demonstrator from the 1948 Amsterdam show was last reported to have been on the road in the 1960s, but after that it ended up residing in a Welsh field for something like 20 years. After its stint in the field it was bought as a restoration project, but like many such projects, it then went on to lay unfinished in a garden.
Thankfully, the vehicle was eventually discovered a few miles outside Solihull where it was originally built, and then it was up to the experts at Jaguar Land Rover Classic to spend months researching company archives to decipher its ownership history, and to confirm its provenance.
But now the really hard work begins as the team behind the successful Land Rover Series I Reborn program, which lets customers own a slice of Land Rover history with meticulously restored Series I models, now embark on their most challenging project ever. And that project is a year-long mission to restore this significant prototype to its original glory, and eventually make it possible for it to be driven once again.
Another nice touch will see previous owners of this historic vehicle invited to Jaguar Land Rover’s Classic Works facility so they can share their experiences, and bear witness to the loving restoration of this iconic vehicle.
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