This year marks the 70th anniversary of Land Rover building some of the finest, most capable offroad vehicles the planet has ever known. To celebrate, its restoring one of the three original Land Rovers it launched in 1948 at the Amsterdam Motor Show. It’s the most historic Land Rover still out there that hasn’t been shined up and made ready for use.
This particular rig had been MIA for more than 60 years. It was driven until the mid 1960s, then spent decades rotting away in a field near Solihull, UK, coincidentally near where it was originally manufactured. The motor last turned over in 1988, but sometime that year it seized up and it’s been quietly rusting ever since.
Land Rover has a dedicated team that restores classic Series 1 models to sell them to collectors—the Reborn program—and they’ll be the crew tackling this beast of project. It’s a delicate balance. The restoration will attempt to preserve the peculiarities of the aging process the vehicle has undergone while getting it running and driving properly.
Awesomely, owners of this particular vehicle are invited to come check out the process and to share their memories of the capable little rig.
This was the offroader that truly began it all for Land Rover, paving the way for all the incredible machines they’ve made since. Originally meant as an ag-friendly farm tool that was an aside for the Rover company, which normally produced high-end urban cars, the Land Rover smashed sales of Rover’s luxury cars and they decided to keep making them.
It’ll be a real treat to watch this old horse be nursed back to health. It’d be an even better treat to take it out on the trail once again.