Off-Road

1948 Land Rover 4x4 Discovered 63 Years After It Disappeared

Not a bad way to celebrate its 70th anniversary.

It was way back in 1948 when Land Rover prepped its very first 4x4 for the Amsterdam Motor Show, and a new era was born. As Europe continued to recover from the destruction of World War II, people, especially farmers, needed a vehicle that was durable and could handle rough terrain. Following its motor show debut, that original show vehicle went missing. Turns out it was sitting in a Welsh field for two decades. Someone found it, bought it with the intention to restore it but never did. It just sat (again) in garden for years.

Jaguar Land Rover Classic has now not only purchased it but plans to give it a complete restoration. Amazingly, it was found only a few miles outside of Solihull, where it was built 70 years ago. JLR Classic acknowledges this will be its most challenging restoration project to date. The launch vehicle has many features unique to pre-1948 production Land Rovers, specifically thicker aluminum alloy body panels, a galvanized chassis and a removable rear tub. None of that made it to mass production. What’s cool is that the restoration team will preserve its patina components, including the original Light Green paint first applied in ’48.

JLR Classic is even inviting the launch vehicle’s previous owners to come by its facility to hang out and watch various stages of the restoration take place. “This Land Rover is an irreplaceable piece of world automotive history and is as historically important as ‘Huey’, the first pre-production Land Rover,” said Tim Hanning, JLR Classic Director. “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.”

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