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Earliest Land Rover found in garden near factory. Image by Land Rover.

Earliest Land Rover found in garden near factory
1948 Amsterdam show car will be restored in time for firmís 70th anniversary.
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What's this then?

This is a 1948 Series I Land Rover.

It looks a bit battered.

Well, you would too if you'd spent 20 years mouldering on a Welsh farm, and then another few years waiting for restoration in someone's back garden - ironically, a back garden in Solihull, just a short distance from the factory in which it was built.

What's so special about this one?

I was hoping you'd ask. This is one of the three original Series I cars built for the 1948 Amsterdam motor show, the show at which Land Rover was first introduced to a waiting world. It was built in the same batch as HUE 166, the famous 'Huey', which is generally regarded as being the oldest pre-production Land Rover.

So what happens now?

Jaguar Land Rover's Classic division will undertake a very careful restoration of this historic car, and the plan is to have it ready to show in time for the marque's 70th birthday celebrations. That's when the new Defender, the spiritual successor to the Series I, will be revealed.

I see. So the company is proud to have found this car?

It sure is. 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.

"There is something charming about the fact that exactly 70 years ago this vehicle would have been undergoing its final adjustments before being prepared for the 1948 Amsterdam Motor Show launch - where the world first saw the shape that's now immediately recognised as a Land Rover."

Neil Briscoe - 10 Jan 2018

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