This 1948 Land Rover was the first of the pre-production run that promoted the launch of the now-iconic Series I. This specific example, shown at the Amsterdam Motor Show that same year, went missing in the 1950s before resurfacing in 2016 when spotted in a garden in Birmingham in the U.K.
Land Rover is taking advantage of the chance to bring the discovered classic back to life as the first project of its 70-year anniversary celebration. The Jaguar Land Rover Classic Works in Coventry is leading the charge on the restoration.
JLR plans to preserve the vehicle while also maintaining the natural patina it developed over the 63 years it fell off Land Rover’s radar.
Jaguar Land Rover Classic Director Tim Hannig said in a statement, “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.”
Hannig also said that this would be the same time of the year that the pre-production Series I would have been in final stages of preparation before it made its debut in Amsterdam.
“Huey” is actually a higher spec than the production cars that would follow with thicker aluminum bodywork, a galvanized chassis, and a removable rear tub. Land Rover says the Lime Green paint will also be kept as part of the completed project.
Jaguar Land Rover’s Classic Works will host previous owners during the restoration so they can see the Series I while it’s in the shop and give some insight into its history after it went missing.
Expect to see more from this Series I at the end of the year, when Land Rover will show off the finished product, which should be in driving shape by the conclusion of 2018.