Restoration of first production Landie heralds global 70th anniversary celebrations
After the Second World War, the British Government had to face the uncomfortable truth – their infantry and field vehicles were no match for the light infantry motorised divisions of the Third Reich. This set in motion a set of events which ultimately led to the design and manufacture of the Land Rover. This year marks the 70th anniversary of that momentous occasion when the first Land Rover was unveiled in 1948 at the Amsterdam Motor Show.
Not all old Land Rovers survive, after all, they are made for hard work and tough conditions so many perished over the years. But, amazingly, that very first launch Land Rover was traced by Solihull to its final resting place in an English country garden.
It is now in the process of being restored and will form the focal point of Land Rover’s 70th anniversary celebrations. Describing it as the world’s most historically significant unrestored Land Rover, it is its manufacturer’s intention to bring it back to as original as possible condition, setting the stage for telling car enthusiasts why Land Rover has become such a universally recognised iconic brand.
Earlier this week, Land Rover announced it will mark its 70th anniversary with a series of events and celebrations throughout 2018 starting with the restoration of the launch Landie.
“For years the whereabouts of this launch Land Rover was a mystery. The demonstration vehicle from the Amsterdam show was last on the road in the 1960s, after which it spent 20 years in a Welsh field before being bought as a restoration project. It then languished unfinished in a garden. Following its surprise discovery just a few miles outside of Solihull, UK – where the car was first built – the experts at Jaguar Land Rover Classic spent months researching in-company archives to unravel its ownership history and confirm its provenance,” Land Rover stated.
Tim Hannig, Jaguar Land Rover Classic Director, 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.”
The Jaguar Land Rover Classic team will follow a dedicated process to restore the launch vehicle, which has 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 patina of its components will be preserved, including the original Light Green paint applied in 1948.
Timeline of the 1948 launch Landie:
1948 Built with LHD and listed as Experimental on the logbook and record of sale;
1948 Upgraded with new production parts by Engine Department, converted to current RHD;
1955 First registered on 25 June 1955 with registration SNX 910;
1961 Sold to a new owner in Handsworth;
1965 Moved to Sutton Coldfield;
1967 Moved to Stratford-Upon-Avon;
1968 Moved to Alvechurch, Worcestershire;
1968 Used in Wales as a stationary generator;
1988 Engine seized, sold to a new owner in Birmingham;
2016 Discovered in a garden, waiting to be restored. This project never came off the ground.
Watch the launch Land Rover arrive at Classic Works here: https://youtu.be/EfRibbvtWuw