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 aluminum 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.
In 1952 and 1953, a larger 2.0-litre petrol engine was fitted. This engine has Siamese bores, meaning that there are no water passages for cooling between the cylinders. During 1950, the unusual semi-permanent 4WD system was replaced with a more conventional setup, with drive to the front axle being taken through a simple dog clutch. Around this time the Land Rover’s legal status was also clarified. As mentioned above, the Land Rover was originally classed as a commercial vehicle, meaning it was free from purchase tax. However, this also meant it was limited to a speed of 30 mph on British roads. After an appeal to the Law Lords after an owner was charged with exceeding this limit, the Land Rover was classified as a “multi-purpose vehicle” which was only to be classed as a commercial vehicle if used for commercial purposes.
The Land Rover offered here was originally bought and used by the RAF until being retired from the force in 1983. Used regularly by her 4 previous owners it was decided that an overhaul was required. The Land Rover was the subject of a 2 year bare chassis restoration using either new-old-stock or refurbishing the current components to as-new condition. The car is fitted with a fairey overdrive, original clayton heater, rear seats, period battery and contactless fuel pump and distributor. The restoration was so complete that the car was featured in Classic Land Rover Magazine. There is a large history file complete with full photographic documentation of the restoration, current MOT and V5C registration. This is a wonderful opportunity to purchase a Series 1 Land Rover in as good condition as the day it rolled out of the factory.