This year Land Rover is celebrating their 70th anniversary and finally solving the mystery of what happened to a very important vehicle – one of the three pre-production vehicles built in 1948.
These cars were exhibited in the Amsterdam Motor Show to launch the line. Then suddenly, one of them went missing.
The story goes that after it was displayed in 1948 it was returned to England. Originally it had been built to be driven on the left but the setup was converted to right-hand-drive and sold in England. In 1955 it was registered only to be sold to new owner in 1961. By 1968 the car had been moved a few times and had ended up being used as a static power source.
Missing since the 1950s, this is one of the first Land Rover’s ever shown to the world in 1948. Recently rediscovered just a few miles from its Solihull birthplace in the UK, this is the world's most historically significant unrestored #LandRover. As part of Land Rover's 70th jubilee, the Land Rover Classic team is now beginning a sympathetic restoration to preserve it. See the scale of the project our team face in this image gallery. #LandRover70years
In 1988 someone bought it with the intent of restoring it. Sadly, the project never took off and it sat untouched in a garden in Solihull, UK, until it was finally uncovered in 2016.
“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,”
– Tim Hanning, the Jaguar Land Rover Classic Director
Experts at the company spent months checking all the facts and documents to confirm provenance and authenticity. In a funny twist, it was found just a few miles from where it was originally built. It is a happy ending, but the story doesn’t end here.
Because of its historical significance, Jaguar Land Rover Classic are making sure it will be preserved by getting it restored. The Land Rover Series I Reborn team has been restoring Series Is so that enthusiasts and Land Rover lovers can own a part of history, will be in charge of the project. Only 48 of these pre-production Land Rovers were made and they have some unique features. Preservation of the original features including the patina and the original light green 1948 paint is part of the plan.