The original Land Rover Series I was designed by Maurice Wilks and launched by the Rover Company of Solihull on 30th April 1948. It had an 80-inch wheelbase and a sturdy box section ladder-frame chassis. The open back with 3 seats in the front design was heavily influenced by the American World War Two Willys Jeep. The Land Rover quickly became popular with both the army and the farming fraternity (not least because it had a 'power take-off' or PTO as standard). The wheelbase was extended to 86 inches in 1955 to give the vehicle more stability and greater load capacity. A canvas top also became a practical addition. The strong, reliable 2.0 litre petrol engine was standard until 1957 when, with the introduction of the Series II model, a diesel engine was offered as an alternative.
This 1955 Series One 86" petrol Land Rover was supplied new to F. Dobson Limited of Bexhill-on-Sea on 8th September 1955. The car was originally painted L1 Green and was a RHD Home Market example according to the Heritage Certificate. The last owner was an avid Land Rover enthusiast and set about restoring chassis number 170600255 over a ten year period between 2002 to 2012. As detailed by invoices for parts and photographs in the history folder, this Series One was taken back to the bare chassis and all corrosion attended to. The bulkhead was stripped and removed, all rust was removed and new footwells were welded in. Pictures show the car as a complete rolling chassis. Where original parts were in good condition they were cleaned and repainted as necessary. New parts that were fitted during the restoration included: brake wheel cylinders, brake pipes, brake shoes, shock absorbers, upholstery, hoses, wiring loom, clutch, front bumper, windscreen frame, tyres, water hoses and voltage control regulator. Where specialist work was required, the owner sub-contracted accordingly. The gearbox and front axle were rebuilt by marque specialists JSF Norwich. The brake master cylinder by Past Parts of Bury St Edmonds and the SU fuel pump by Land Rover Orphanage. Many hundreds of hours were dedicated to the rebuild and the car has covered only 500 miles since completion.
Presented in standard specification, HSL 826 has been lovingly preserved for generations to come. In October 2012, the exact same model, although formerly the property of Sir Winston Churchill, achieved £140,000 at auction. This consignor is no stranger to world record beating Land Rovers, and with the demise of the Defender this year, this is a great opportunity to purchase a superlative example of a 'proper' Land Rover.