Iconic British brand Land Rover marks its 70th anniversary in 2018. The firm launched at the 1948 Amsterdam Motor show with three pre-production Land Rovers – and it's one of those original show cars that the firm has discovered, 63 years after it vanished.
The company calls it "the world's most historically significant unrestored Land Rover", and over the course of 2018 will bring it back from its rather sorry state to a perfectly finished, drivable vehicle once again.
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The car was last on the road in the 1960s. Its whereabouts were a mystery from there on out – with Land Rover unearthing it only recently. The company found out it had spent 20 years in a Welsh field, before languishing in a garden as a 'restoration project'. Surprisingly, it was eventually discovered just a few miles from where it was originally built in Solihull, Birmingham.
Following months of research to confirm its provenance, the team at Jaguar Land Rover Classic – the firm's restoration and heritage arm – agreed it was indeed one of the original launch vehicles.
Jaguar Land Rover Classic Director Tim Hannig 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."
The team intends to restore the car back to drivable conditions, but will retain its rough aesthetic – preserving the original paint from 1948, for example.
"There is something charming about the fact that exactly 70 years ago this vehicle would have been undergoing its final adjustments before being prepared for the 1948 Amsterdam Motor Show launch – where the world first saw the shape that's now immediately recognised as a Land Rover," said Hannig.