One of the original Land Rover prototypes has been found rotting in an English garden after more than 60 years.
Land Rover is planning to restore the car, described as “the world’s most historically significant unrestored Land Rover” – to mark its 70th anniversary.
The car is one of the three pre-production Land Rovers shown at the 1948 Amsterdam Motor Show where the world got its first look at a car that was destined to become an icon.
For years the whereabouts of the launch prototype had remained a mystery.
It was last spotted on the road in the 1960s, after which it is thought to have spent 20 years in a Welsh field – before it was purchased as a restoration project.
The prototype then lay languishing, unfinished in a garden.
Following its surprise discovery just a few kilometres outside of Solihull, UK – where the car was first built – experts at Jaguar Land Rover Classic spent months combing company records in a bid to to unravel the history and confirm provenance of the car.
The team behind the successful Land Rover Series I Reborn program, which allows customers to own a slice of Land Rover history with meticulously restored Series Is, will now embark on its most challenging project yet – a year-long mission to preserve this historically significant prototype and enable it to be driven again.
The Jaguar Land Rover Classic team will follow a dedicated process to restore the launch vehicle, which has a lot of special features that are unique to the 1948 pre-production Land Rovers, prior to mass production.