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Lot 031: Land Rover Series One

Classic Car, Motorcycle & Automobilia, Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers (24 June 2009)

Land Rovers have now become such a common sight on Britain's roads that it is hard to imagine life without them. However, the world had somehow struggled along without these go-anywhere marvels until Maurice Wilks had a bright idea in 1947.

Taking a war surplus American Jeep as his inspiration, the Rover chief designer messed around with prototypes on his farm in Anglesey until he perfected the vehicle that was launched at the Amsterdam Motor Show in 1948. Then as now, a distinctive feature of the Land Rover was the bodywork, constructed of a lightweight alloy of aluminium and magnesium called Birmabright.

Used solely due to post-war steel shortages and a plentiful supply of aircraft aluminium, it's resistance to corrosion was one of the key factors that earned the vehicle a legendary reputation for longevity in the toughest conditions. The early choice of colour was also dictated by circumstance  military surplus paint was the cheapest available, so it was a case of any colour you want, so long as it's green.

From 1948 until 1951 the Land Rover was only offered with an 80-inch wheelbase and a 1.6-litre petrol engine. So basic was it that 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. 1954 saw a big change as the 80-inch was replaced by an 88-inch, and a 107-inch pick up version was also introduced.

First registered in Ross-on-Wye in January 1956, this 88-inch model has remained in the town ever since and has had just four owners from new. Two of these were partners in Central Garage which owned the vehicle from 1964 right up until 2005. Apart from a new canvas hood, new rear seats and new front seat squabs, this Land Rover is said to be totally original and has never been painted or welded. It still retains its original (non-transferable) number plate.

Stored from 1996 until 2005, it has covered a warranted 40,750 miles from new. The original speedo packed up a few weeks ago at 40,223 miles but it has been retained and the current speedo reads approximately 500 miles. Due to have a fresh MOT before the sale, it is said to be in excellent working order throughout and certainly fired up readily and ran very well during the occasion of our visit to take these pictures.

Lot Details
Auction Classic Car, Motorcycle & Automobilia
Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers, Leominster
TypeCar
Lot Number031
Estimate£5000-£6000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£7000
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1956
Condition rating0
Registration numberNVJ 347
Mileage-
Chassis number170602670
Engine numberE170607235
Engine capacity (cc)1997
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors