Land Rover’s 70th Anniversary gets under way with restoration of missing 4x4

Posted on Tue 16th Jan 2018 at 10:52

To mark its 70th Anniversary, Land Rover will put on a series of celebrations and events during 2018, starting with the restoration of the Land Rover that started it all – one of the three pre-production Land Rover vehicles shown at the Amsterdam Motor Show launch in 1948. This was the World’s first look at the shape that would become recognised as a Land Rover in a moment.

The location of this missing Land Rover has remained a mystery. Last seen on the road in the 1960s the demonstration vehicle then spent 20 years in a Welsh field before being purchased as a restoration project; although sadly then lay unloved and unfinished in a garden. After it was eventually found just a few miles outside of Solihull, UK – where the car was first built – the Jaguar Land Rover Classic experts spent months looking into the company archives to check its ownership history and confirm its provenance.

The team behind the successful Land Rover Series I Reborn programme will now start their most challenging project to date: a assignment to preserve this historically significant prototype to allow it to be driven again; they estimate this could take a year!

Jaguar Land Rover Classic Director, Tim Hannig, said: “This Land Rover is an irreplaceable piece of world automotive history and is as historically important as ‘Huey’, the first pre-production Land Rover. Beginning its sympathetic restoration here at Classic Works, where we can ensure it’s put back together precisely as it’s meant to be, is a fitting way to start Land Rover’s 70th anniversary year.

“There is something charming about the fact that exactly 70 years ago this vehicle would have been undergoing its final adjustments before being prepared for the 1948 Amsterdam Motor Show launch – where the world first saw the shape that’s now immediately recognised as a Land Rover.”

A dedicated process to restore the launch vehicle will be carried out by the Jaguar Land Rover Classic team to include a lot of special features that are unique to the 48 pre-production Land Rovers that were produced prior to the mass production vehicles, such as thicker aluminium alloy body panels, a galvanised chassis and a removable rear tub. The original finish of its components will be preserved, including the original Light Green paint applied in 1948.

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