'Missing' first ever Land-Rover to be restored

| 11 Jan 2018

One of the earliest Land-Rovers is to be restored as part of the marque's 70th birthday celebrations, having been missing for the past 30 years.

The demonstration model was first shown at the 1948 Amsterdam Motor Show, but was last on the road in the 1960s. It then spent 20 years in a Welsh field, before disappearing off the radar entirely in 1988.

Finally, in 2016, it was spotted in a garden in Birmingham – not far from where it was originally built in Solihull.

Jaguar Land Rover is now embarking on a full restoration programme, with the team behind the successful Land Rover Series I Reborn scheme handling the project.

Not that it will be without its challenges; the vehicle has several features unique to the 48 pre-production models made before the firm began mass-producing the range, including thicker aluminium alloy body panels, a galvanised chassis and a removable rear tub. Even the original Light Green paint the original model sported will need to be recreated.

The project is the first of a series planned for Land Rover's 70th anniversary this year.

Tim Hannig, director of Jaguar Land Rover Classic, 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."


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