Inspired by the US Army’s wartime ‘Jeep’ the Land Rover entered production in 1948 with what was later termed the Series I. This was launched at the Amsterdam Motor Show. It was originally designed for farm and light industrial use, and had a steel box-section chassis, and an aluminium body.
Originally the Land Rover was a single model offering, which from 1948 until 1951 used an 80-inch (2,000 mm) wheelbase and a 1.6-litre petrol engine producing around 50 bhp. The four-speed gearbox from the Rover P3 was used, with a new two-speed transfer box. This incorporated an unusual four-wheel-drive system, with a freewheel unit (as used on several Rover cars of the time). This disengaged the front axle from the manual transmission on the overrun, allowing a form of permanent 4WD. A ring-pull mechanism in the driver’s footwell allowed the freewheel to be locked to provide more traditional 4WD. This was a basic vehicle: tops for the doors and a roof (canvas or metal) were optional extras. In 1950, the lights moved from a position behind the grille to protruding through the grille.
The earliest model of Land Rover Series 1 with their ‘Lights behind the grille’ are without doubt the most desirable of all Land Rovers, and on offer here is one of these examples.
Further details that denote this as a rare model from the beginning of production are the bulkhead mounted sidelights and spade-shaped seats.
With only one previous keepers, this wonderful 1949 (80′ chassis) is in very good and all-round original condition. Built in 1949 and registered on 5th of January 1950, the land rover was purchased by a farm-owner with whom it remained with until his grandson took ownership upon his death in 1988. It was from him that the current owner purchased this special Land-Rover from in 2012. Wheels stamped November 1949, this lot presents the rare opportunity to purchase a very well-kept yet unrestored example of the most desirable model of the Land Rover range.