How Land Rover Found Its Long Lost 1948 Prototype

The utilitarian star of the 1948 Amsterdam Motor Show was not in "concours condition" when Land Rover dug it out of somebody's backyard. Not by a long shot.

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Jaguar Land Rover

Land Rover celebrates its 70th anniversary this year, and the party just got better now that the company got back one of the three pre-production Land Rovers shown at the 1948 Amsterdam Motor Show launch.

What is now called the world’s most historically significant unrestored Land Rover has been missing for the last 63 years. But now she is back at Jaguar Land Rover Classic Works, getting all the love and care from the experts behind Land Rover's Series I Reborn program.

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The first 48 pre-production Land Rovers are different than all the Series 1s that came after, and JLR's not-so-secret crazy car collection has more than one S1 at the heated garage of its Classic Works division. That's one of the benefits of aluminum construction.

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Land Rover

The unique features of these early trucks include thicker aluminum alloy body panels, a galvanized chassis and a removable rear tub. Interestingly, Land Rover's long-lost show car was discovered just a few miles from Solihull, the plant where it was built, along with another 67 years' worth of Series and Defender vehicles.

The demonstration vehicle from the Amsterdam show was last on the road in the 1960s, after which it spent 20 years in a Welsh field before being bought as a restoration project. It then stayed in that garden, slowly rotting until Land Rover's recent discovery.

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Land Rover
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Land Rover's experts will not only preserve the prototype's patina and original, light green paint, but also invite previous owners of this truck to share their experiences, and witness the sympathetic restoration process at the Classic Works in Coventry.

Once finished, the Amsterdam Special will join ‘Huey,’ the first pre-production Land Rover, also on display at the Classic Works' showroom.

From all of us at Road & Track: Happy birthday Series 1!

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Land Rover
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Land Rover
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Land Rover
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Land Rover
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