In case you haven’t heard, it’s Land Rover’s 70th anniversary this year. And it’s releasing a whole load of special-edition cars to celebrate the whole shebang.
Among one of those cars is a perfectly restored original Series 1 Land Rover – the precursor to the Defender. This particularly original Land Rover was actually one of the first three models that Land Rover ever produced – it was showcased as a left-hand-drive model for the European market at the 1948 Amsterdam Motor Show.
Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, it was lost, only to be found in 2016, in a back garden somewhere near the Land Rover factory where it was built. And this year, Land Rover is restoring it.
So here’s the story. This was originally a demonstration vehicle for the Amsterdam Motor Show, and was listed as ‘experimental’ on the logbook in 1948. But, it being a Land Rover, it functioned perfectly well. To that end, it was actually converted to a right-hand-drive set-up and fitted with production-ready engine parts so that it could be sold in the UK.
And sold it was – this Series 1 was first registered on 25 June 1955, with the registration plate SNX 910. It was then sold on to a new owner in 1961, before spending the next seven years going from owner to owner in the UK. Eventually, in 1968, it was moved to Wales and used as a static power source.
The hardy Series 1 spent 20 years in that Welsh field, before its engine seized in 1988. It was sold to a new owner, who wanted to restore it, but unfortunately it languished in a garden as a restoration project that never really got started.
Eventually, it was found in 2016, and Land Rover has now moved it over to the Jaguar Land Rover Classic team, who intend to fully restore the ageing Series 1.
As you’ll see from the pictures, there’s plenty to be done. Land Rover reckons that it’ll take about a year to fully restore the car to its former glory.
But, once it’s finished, the old Series 1 will be able to take its rightful place among its siblings as an important part of automotive history.