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    Bronze Green
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Guide price: ??36000 - ??42000.
- An extremely rare and coveted ‘lights behind the grille' 80-inch model, first registered on the 27/08/49
- This lovely example benefits from an older quality restoration, which has now mellowed and retains a period feel
- Period-correct, 1600cc petrol engine, rebuilt in 2009 by a marque specialist Jake Wright Ltd
- Quintessentially British with enduring engineering pedigree and character
- This is the where it all started - the original Land Rover
In the aftermath of World War Two, Rover's chief engineer Maurice Wilks used a ‘demobbed' Willys Jeep around his farm in Anglesey and was impressed with its abilities. Eventually, it wore out and he was keen to replace it with a British vehicle, however, nothing remotely similar was available. Coincidentally, his brother Spencer, who was Managing Director at Rover, had reached the same conclusion as he struggled to get his Rover 10 to reach the more inaccessible parts of his estate on Islay. It was whilst the brothers were on holiday on their North Wales farm together, that the plan was hatched to produce a light agricultural utility vehicle in the style of Maurice's, fondly-remembered Jeep. They would have no idea that Maurice's resulting design would become an icon and launch a whole new industry sector. The vehicle appeared as the 'Land Rover' in 1948 and proved so popular with the military and the farming fraternity that demand massively outstripped supply.  It had an 80-inch wheelbase and a sturdy box section ladder-frame chassis and the open back arrangement with three seats in the front was undoubtedly influenced by the design of the Jeep.  Naturally, these vehicles were subject to lots of developments over a period of time and one of the most important of these was extending the wheelbase to give the vehicle greater load capacity. Originally produced with a 1,600cc Petrol engine, Land Rover replaced this with the larger 2.0-litre petrol engine which was fitted between 1951 and 1958.Silverstone Auctions has had the honour of selling several early Land Rovers but this example of the iconic design is one of the earliest we have seen. The 'holy grail' for any Land Rover enthusiast is an early Series 1, and there are a number of visual clues for an early car. The lights must be behind the grille, no exterior door handles and a 1600cc engine.The Land Rover offered here is a 1949 Series 1 80'' (Chassis number: R06100410), first registered on the 27th August 1949.  This example benefits from an older high-quality restoration, which has now mellowed and retains a real period feel. The owner informs us this professional restoration work had involvement from the well-known Land Rover expert Tom Pickford, renowned for Series 1 restoration/parts and via the Series 1 Club. Subsequently, in 2009, its period-correct 1600cc petrol engine was rebuilt by renowned marque specialists ‘Jake Wright Ltd.’ of West Yorkshire and is said to run like a ‘proverbial Swiss watch’.Following the restoration work, the current owner understands that the Land Rover spent some time in Germany where it was cherished by a previous owner, prior to being repatriated to the UK.  He was approached some time ago by the previous owner who would have liked the opportunity to buy this vehicle back if he ever decided to sell, but sadly he lost touch with the contact in common. Our vendor purchased this Land Rover from, to quote him, ‘’a simply charming gentleman who resides on a country estate in Cheshire, and being a true enthusiast of the marque, used it for trundling around the grounds and for the transportation of visiting guests’’.Series 1 Land Rovers restored to this sort of level can now cost a princely sum and can often feel ‘too new’. Retaining originality and patina are now seen as optimal and such examples are becoming much sought-after. This is where the legend started, the very basic yet ingenious go-anywhere, do-anything vehicle and this example has a patina and feel that would be impossible to fully replicate and, given the current market for early Series 1 Land Rovers, represents excellent value.

Silverstone Auctions Ltd
Silverstone House
Kineton Road
CV35 0EP
United Kingdom
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