Land Rover has sympathetically restored a ‘missing’ Land Rover which was a demonstration car at the 1948 Amsterdam Motor Show and lost since the 1960s.
Whether you think the newly revealed new Land Rover Defender is a perfect embodiment of a Defender for the 21st century, or just another ‘posh’ Land Rover, much of what Land Rover stands for is wrapped up in the iconic original Defender.
True, it was well in to its long lifespan when it became the Defender, starting life as just ‘Land Rover’ before adding ‘Series’ suffixes as it changed over time.
But keeping the Defender’s history alive is a key part of Land Rover’s identity, so discovering an original 1948 demonstration Land Rover – ‘lost’ since the 1960s – in a garden near Solihull in 2016 spurred Land Rover on to put it back on the road as it celebrates the arrival of its newest successor.
Land Rover Classic has spent a year putting the 4×4 back in to working order using a mix of traditional skills, original drawings and a dose of modern technology to get everything just so.
Stripped down to its component parts, LR kept as much of what was original as possible, returned it to its original LHD, reinstated the original ‘organ stop’ controls for high and low and two and four-wheel drive, recreated its original Lockheed brakes, and recreated panels where needed and painted them to have ‘original’ patina.
They even went to the extent of involving the Forestry Commission to identify and source wood sections for the rear of the front seats and fitted a fully rebuilt engine using pre-production spec high-compression pistons.
Having trollied off to the Goodwood Revival, this true survivor joins the active vehicle collection at the Classic Works facility in Coventry.