Carole Nash
Content Writer
Published: 20th February 2018

2018 will mark the 70th anniversary of Land Rover, and they will be celebrating throughout the year – starting with the unique restoration of an original launch Land Rover.

The 1948 show car’s whereabouts had been a complete mystery for over 6 decades. Now newly re-discovered – the car is to be meticulously restored by a team of experts at Jaguar Land Rover Classic Works, Coventry.

We will be taking a look at the history and relevance surrounding this historically significant prototype…

Where It All Started

The original design and concept for what’s now known as the Land Rover, was started by Maurice Wilks, whilst holidaying at his North Wales farm. It was 1947, and Wilks planned to produce a light agricultural utility vehicle, in the style of the Willys Jeep.

Little did he know at the time that his idea would eventually become an automotive icon, and help launch a whole new sector of the industry.

The Land Rover was first presented to the world at the Amsterdam Motor Show in 1948, and it revolutionised rural transport. It was widely considered to be an engineering marvel and the Land Rover Series 1 earned its place in the Motoring Hall of Fame.  

It has been hugely successful globally, and dozens of improvements have been made throughout its long production run.

A Piece Of Automotive History Found

The recently discovered show car was one of the first three pre-production models featured at the original launch, during the Amsterdam Motor Show.

The demonstration 4×4 was registered in 1955, and was last seen on the road during the 1960s. It then spent many years being used as a static power source in a Welsh field, awaiting restoration. Records of its whereabouts ended after 1988 – and the prototype was thought to be lost.

The puzzle was finally solved in 2016 – The show car was discovered by experts near to Solihull, the models spiritual home where it was built in 1948. A team spent months researching company archives and realised it was the missing mystery model.

An Anniversary Project

The restoration of the vehicle will not be a simple task, as the model had numerous unique features that were removed before it went on sale.

It originally supported thicker aluminium alloy body panels, a galvanised chassis and a removable rear tub. The light green paint used back in 1948 will also need to be remade to bring the 4×4 back to its former glory.

The company has described the model as the world’s most historically significant unrestored Land Rover.

The classic car featured the iconic Land Rover shape – immortalised in all the preceding Series 1 and Defender models.

This restoration project will begin the first in a series of events that will celebrate Land Rover’s past, present and future throughout 2018.

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