1954 Land Rover Series 1 - 3
Year of manufacture1954
Performance133 PS / 98 kW / 132 BHP
- Registered to the War Office as '38 BP 45' and entered service on the 22/10/1954 when dispatched to Feltham Barracks
- Officially known as 'Truck 1/4 Ton 4x4 Rover Mk3 (86 Inch)' and supplied under the very first War Office Contract 6/Veh/16223 (Dated 26/05/1954)
- It was decommissioned on 29th November 1963 and sold as Lot 428 at the Ruddington Disposal Depot Auction on the 12/05/1964
- Shipped to the Channel Islands and registered in Jersey on 27th April 1967 later appearing on the Series One Owners Club register in 1985
- Bought by our vendor in 2018 as a barn find, he commissioned an extensive ground up restoration at a cost of some £35,000
- Presented in superb order we note the unusual fitment of a 'Bikini Hood' that is perfectly suited for fair weather use
- It is extremely rare to offer a Land Rover with such detailed early history and will be offered to sale with a NOVA
As an engineering marvel, the Land Rover can still outstrip its modern counterparts, and the Series I rightly belongs in the Motoring Hall of Fame. Hugely successful globally, improvements were made throughout its long lifespan. In 1950, the lights were moved from a position behind the grille to protrude through the mesh and in 1952 a larger 2.0-litre petrol engine replaced the original 1.6-litre. The wheelbase was extended to 86 inches in 1955 to give the vehicle more stability and greater load capacity. The stronger, more reliable 2.0-litre petrol engine was standard until 1957.
With the US Army’s wartime Willys Jeep as Maurice Wilks’ inspiration for the Land Rover it is perhaps easy to assume that the military application of the Land Rover was a given from day one. However, it was the earlier Nuffield-designed prototype known as 'FV1800', presented in 1945, that pipped the Land Rover to the post. Government regulations and repeated modifications extended development over many years, and the vehicle did not enter production until the early 1950s. By that time, Nuffield had merged with Austin and the resulting vehicle became known as the Austin Champ.
The development contract committed the British Armed Forces to a large order of the Champ. In parallel to this order, the British Army purchased a trial batch of Series I Land Rovers in 1949. The earliest Land Rovers were found to complement the Austin Champ very well. The Land Rover was cheaper, lighter, consumed less fuel; and was ideal for behind-the-lines transport duties. However, the Champ was better suited as a front-line combat vehicle. Over time the Land Rover was modified, and became better suited to the British Army's needs. The initial contract order for the Champ was never expanded and production ceased after only five years. The Land Rover, in various forms, was to enjoy a seven-decade long association with the Armed Forces of dozens of countries across the globe.
Former British Army Land Rovers have long been identified as either the Series IIA Lightweight, introduced in 1968, or the matte-painted Defenders of later years. Very few military Series I Land Rovers have survived, nor identified as such, and our vendor and Silverstone Auctions are thankful to military vehicle historian John Mastrangelo for the following information. This Land Rover 86 inch was registered to the War Office as "38 BP 45" and entered service on the 22nd October 1954 when dispatched to Feltham Barracks, Middlesex. Officially known as a "Truck 1/4 Ton 4x4 Rover Mk3 (86 Inch)" and supplied under the very first War Office Contract 6/Veh/16223 (Dated 26th May 1954). It was decommissioned on 29th November 1963 and sold as Lot 428 at Ruddington Disposal Depot Auction on the 12th May 1964.
The Land Rover was shipped to Jersey and registered there on the on 27th April 1967 later popped on to the Series One Owners Club Register in 1985 by a previous owner. Bought by our vendor in 2018 as a "barn find", he commissioned an extensive ground-up restoration at a cost of some £38,789. Invoices are on file for the following:
Marshalls - new bulkhead - £2,042
Handmade front wings - £2,000
Polar Auto (bodywork & Galvanising) £6,287
John Craddock £1,136
Auto Sparks -new period loom £753
Heritage Trimming - £26,571 - strip down to bare chassis and then rebuild.
Presented in superb order, we note the unusual fitment of a "Bikini Hood" that is perfectly suited for fair weather use, with the Land Rover being used on the regular sunny days in Jersey by our vendor. The car is offered on a NOVA and we recommend that all interested parties confirm the registration process should the car remain in the UK.