Land Rover’s Restoring This Long-Lost Series I Prototype

Land Rover is at a vital crossroads in its history. Not only is it celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, but its core model – the legendary Defender – has been discontinued ahead of the introduction of an completely new model.

Sounds like a good time to us to look back and reflect on how far it’s come, and that’s just what it’s doing with the restoration of this vital early prototype.

One of 48 pre-production prototypes and three displayed upon the vehicle’s debut at the 1948 Amsterdam Motor Show, this Series I model was lost for a long time, but has now been found.

The prototypical off-roader (if one could ever be called that) remained in use through the 1960s, after which it sat for 20 years in a field in Wales before being bought as a fixer-upper project… but that project was never completed. Not until it was discovered, oddly enough, just a few miles outside of Solihull – the same place where it was made seven decades prior, and where Land Rover still produces the Discovery and several Range Rover models.

With the historical records now retrieved, the team at Jaguar Land Rover Classic will now undertake its restoration, which as you can see will take some work. The process will include reworking the thicker aluminum bodywork, galvanized chassis, and removable rear tub that characterized those 48 pre-production prototypes, while preserving to the greatest extent possible the patina it has accrued over the decades.

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