1951 Land Rover Series I 80" 4x4 Utility Registration no. USJ 436 Chassis no. 26101172
Inspired by the US Army's wartime 'Jeep', developed in haste and intended for short-term, small-scale production, the Land Rover would defy its creators' initial scepticism. Rover bosses the Wilks brothers saw the need for a tough, four-wheel-drive, utility vehicle to serve the needs of the agricultural community in the immediate post-war years, but the Land Rover's runaway success took the company by surprise. The necessity of using corrosion resistant aluminium panels at a time of severe steel shortage turned into a positive virtue in the Land Rover's sphere of operations, while the use of existing components kept production costs down and cut development time. In the course of more than 60 years in production the supremely versatile Land Rover would prove itself adaptable to innumerable civilian and military roles. Its replacement is keenly anticipated.
Previously the personal project of an experienced garage owner, this Series I Land Rover was chosen as a restoration project because of its original condition and comprehensive maintenance records. It is a 1952 model and one of the first to benefit from the newly introduced 2.0-litre petrol engine. The then-owner's aim was to thoroughly yet sympathetically restore the vehicle while retaining its patina of age. The chassis was stripped, repaired where necessary and finished in bronze green semi-gloss coachbuilders' enamel before Waxoyl injected. All the original galvanised parts that had been removed were shot blasted and re-galvanised, following which the vehicle was bare-metal re-sprayed in the its original bronze green cellulose finish. After-market indicators that had been fitted to the wings were removed and their function transferred to the sidelights for a more correct appearance.
Every component - horns, wiper motor, brackets, air cleaner, shock absorbers, body panels, headlamps, etc - was removed, cleaned, shot blasted, meticulously restored, and repainted to the highest standards. This Land Rover has also had all oil seals, new gaskets, and new bushes fitted, and a complete new exhaust system. New seats were made by marque specialists Exmoor Trim to the correct pattern and with hessian backing as per the original specification. Other works carried out included a complete electrical re-wire; windscreen and door tops stripped down and restored with new seals throughout; and new door and tailgate seals fitted. In addition, this Series I comes with a complete new hood and a new galvanised hood frame. A photographic record of the restoration is available.