One of the three original launch cars of the 1948 Land Rover has been discovered, and will be restored this year in celebration of the brand’s 70th anniversary.
The car went missing for a large portion of its history, sitting forgotten in a field in Wales for two decades. A subsequent owner bought it to restore, only for the Land Rover to end up in much the same situation again, just a few miles from where it was first built in Solihull. The car’s previous owners are being invited to the Classic Works facility in Solihull to watch its restoration.
Jaguar Land Rover Classic, JLR’s division in charge of restoring heritage cars, has been responsible for numerous high-profile jobs during its short history and will complete the restoration of this car to a driveable standard.
The restoration is being carried out in time for Land Rover’s 70th birthday, celebrations of which culminate in the reveal of the next Defender towards the end of the year, ahead of a 2019 sales launch. It will be two years since the previous Defender, which had a production run of 67 years, last rolled off the line.
As one of the division’s first projects, the JLR Classic team carried out restorations on Series 1 Land Rovers, with a run of 25 each fetching between £60,000 and £80,000.
It’s likely that the restoration will pump up the value of the recently discovered car far beyond this. However, as a near-priceless example – with one-of-three status as a 1948 Amsterdam Motor Show car – it won't be sold.
JLR 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.”