Land Rover will celebrate its 70th anniversary year throughout 2018, starting with a unique restoration project: the original launch Land Rover – one of the three pre-production Land Rovers shown at the 1948 Amsterdam Motor Show launch.
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 lay languishing 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.
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.
Previous owners of this historic vehicle are being invited to Jaguar Land Rover’s Classic Works facility to share their experiences and to witness its loving restoration.
About the original launch Land Rover
|TIMELINE: 1948 LAUNCH LAND ROVER|
|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 setup|
|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 static power source|
|1988||Engine seized – the Land Rover was sold to a new owner in Birmingham, UK|
|2016||Spotted in a garden, destined for a restoration which never began|