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JLR Classic to restore pre-production 1948 Land Rover

JLR Classic to restore pre-production 1948 Land Rover Classic and Performance Car

One of the very earliest pre-production Land Rovers has been discovered, and will be restored this year.

Land Rover will be celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2018, and part of the company’s planned activities will include the restoration of a recently discovered pre-production Series 1. 

Originally built in left-hand drive form to star at the 1948 Amsterdam Motor Show, the pre-production Land Rover found its way into private hands back in the UK. Converted to right-hand-drive at the factory, all of the prototype components were replaced before it was sold. 

Last on the road in 1960, it was thought to have been lost for years. It spent 20 years in a Welsh field, and then again spent many years hidden away in someone’s garden destined for restoration. It resurfaced in 2016 close to Solihull, with researchers at Land Rover taking time to authenticate the discovery, and trace its history.

Land Rover Classic says that this is ‘the world’s most historically significant unrestored Land Rover’. While the restoration is likely to be extensive, the team behind the Series I Reborn programme are said to be sympathetically restoring the car. 

There are many things unique to the pre-production Land Rovers that will need to be carefully preserved. Unique to the pre-production models are the thicker aluminium body panels, galvanised chassis and removable rear tub. The Light Green paint applied in 1948 will be preserved, as well as the ‘patina of its components’.

Tim Hannig, Jaguar Land Rover Classic Director, 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.’


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

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