1963 Land Rover 80" Series I 4x4 Utility Registration no. 386 UHW Chassis no. 26104193
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, and the use of existing components - including the P3 saloon's 1,595cc, four-cylinder, sidevalve engine - kept production costs down and cut development time. Ruggedly built and simple in construction, the Land Rover proved capable of surviving in countries where conditions were primitive to say the least, a virtue that helped contribute to its worldwide acceptance. Indeed, it is estimated that two-thirds of all Land Rovers ever produced are still in existence today.
Built between 1949 and 1958, the Series I Land Rover was available in no fewer than five different wheelbase lengths ranging from 80" to 109". The original 1.6-litre petrol engine was soon superseded by a 2.0-litre unit (for 1952) and the company set about developing its own diesel, which was first offered in 1956. 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.
Known to the Land Rover Series I Club, this 80" wheelbase model was not first registered until 1963, perhaps indicating that it had been in military or government service prior to that date. The late Paul Jennings acquired the vehicle in July 2015 from John Brown 4x4 of Thirsk. The purchase invoice is on file and the Landie also comes with a quantity of expired MoTs (most recent 2015), copy V5 registration documents, and numerous restoration photographs documenting an extensive rebuild, possibly undertaken during the 1990s.