1952 Land Rover Series 1 - 3
Year of manufacture1952
1952 Land Rover Series I 80'' 4x4 Utility
Chassis no. 36633777
Engine no. 36141134
Produced for the European market and more specifically for the Belgian Gendarmerie, this Land Rover Series I 80" was fitted with equipment specific to its intended use. Indeed, from the beginning of the 1950s, coinciding with the Land Rover's arrival on the market, the Belgian authorities called on the British firm to supply its armed forces, commencing in 1951. Rover delivered nearly 75 units that year, all painted in the Blue Piletta typical of the Belgian Gendarmerie's equipment. The Land Rover was to be the principal vehicle of the Belgian Marshalsea for many years, sometimes supported by Minervas taken from the Royal Army.
It was at the end of the 2010s that this 1952 Series I was found by a restorer from Bordeaux, who specialised in 'Series'-type Land Rovers and Defenders. This 1953 model, which was put into circulation in September 1952, was worn out by its years of service, which had been followed by a long period of storage. Elephant Factory Classic completely dismantled the Land Rover and commenced a total body-off restoration. Many of the major parts were preserved and fully restored, including the chassis, engine, gearbox, front and rear axles, and the majority of the fragile aluminium panels typical of the early 'Series' models.
Of course, the details specific to the Gendarmerie version were retained, whether it be the bumpers mounted on shock absorbing fittings; the hooks fixed to the front of the chassis; the additional indicators; the body reinforcement; the modified wiring harness; the Bosch electric equipment; the storage tray in the passenger door; or the drilling of the windscreen frame to mount a rotating beacon. To complete the restoration, matching Navy Blue upholstery was installed, together with a new soft-top.
Having covered fewer than 200 kilometres since its restoration, this Land Rover is in exceptional condition. The engine starts without problems and the gearbox does not creak, which is unusual on these models.
Sold with a Belgian title and photographs recording its restoration, this desirable Series I Land Rover represents a rare opportunity to acquire a military vehicle that served in Belgium. Currently in civilian configuration, it will stand out amongst the other Series Is in their more common olive green. It could also be returned to its original specification with a few coats of arms and other accessories.