Land Rover re­vive the orig­i­nal Landy

4WDrive - - Contents - Words by Budd Stan­ley, pho­tos cour­tesy of Land Rover

“They just don’t build them like they used to.” It is a say­ing that echoes in my mind al­most daily. Yes, grumpy old men have been ut­ter­ing th­ese words for mil­len­nia, likely even longer, but the in­flux of in­cred­i­ble lev­els of tech­nol­ogy, per­for­mance, lux­ury and safety sys­tems is hav­ing an ad­verse ef­fect on mod­ern ve­hi­cles. Yes, they are safer, faster and can make more com­pu­ta­tions per sec­ond than the en­tire fleet of Space Shut­tles, but with ev­ery ad­vance, to­day’s ve­hi­cles seem to lose a lit­tle bit of soul. Or at least that’s how I feel; new ve­hi­cles just don’t ex­cite me any­more.

Then Land Rover an­nounced that they are go­ing to build 25 “new” Se­ries I’s! When I read that head­line on a press re­lease that came across my desk, I damn near fell off my chair. We have long been call­ing on Land Rover to of­fer us at least one model that harks back to their roots, a sim­ple back to ba­sics 4WD the av­er­age off-road en­thu­si­ast can afford. Does the re­turn of the Se­ries I an­swer our dreams?

Sadly, no, our hopes soared as Jaguar of­fered up six brand new E-Type Lightweights last year in a bril­liant scheme that worked loop­holes in to­day’s car build­ing reg­u­la­tions and stan­dards. Long story short, Jaguar could never “build them like they used to” as an E-Type Light­weight breaks so many mod­ern motor­ing laws they’d likely find them­selves in court.

The sav­ing grace is that Jaguar put 18 chas­sis codes into the books back in 1964, but they ac­tu­ally only built 12. This meant that there were six cars still left in a “state of con­struc­tion” al­low­ing Jaguar to build th­ese cars as they did back in the 60’s. Surely, with six left over chas­sis codes for such a small pro­duc­tion run, Land Rover must have heaps when it comes to the mass pro­duced Se­ries I?

Un­for­tu­nately not, or they do but haven’t said so. In­stead, th­ese 25 “new” Se­ries I’s will be com­plete restora­tions of worn down Se­ries I’s that have al­ready seen 68-years of ser­vice. This is all part of Land Rover’s Re­born Ini­tia­tive put to­gether by Land Rover Clas­sics, the branch that is tasked with the restora­tion

of old Land Rovers.

The spe­cial­ists in the Re­born Ini­tia­tive have hand­picked 25 Se­ries I chas­sis from Land Rover’s global net­work, in both short and long wheel­base. Each model will un­dergo a com­plete restora­tion keep­ing to the brand’s orig­i­nal 1948 fac­tory spec­i­fi­ca­tions and us­ing Land Rover Clas­sic Parts to pre­serve au­then­tic­ity. This in­cludes the choice of five pe­riod fin­ishes in­clud­ing Light Green, Bronze Green, RAF Blue, Dove Grey and Poppy Red.

Each of the 25 Re­born cus­tomers will be able to se­lect their pre­ferred restora­tion base, and a Land Rover Clas­sic spe­cial­ist will guide them through the build process from start to fin­ish. Co­in­ci­den­tally, all work will be per­formed at the Land Rover Clas­sic HQ that just hap­pens to re­side in the orig­i­nal De­fender pro­duc­tion cen­tre at Soli­hull. Once th­ese 25 ex­am­ples are gone, Land Rover Clas­sic will con­tinue to pro­vide restora­tion ser­vices to Land Rover

mod­els that have been out of pro­duc­tion for longer than 10 years.

Prices for com­pleted Se­ries I’s are said to range from £60,000 to £80,000 ($110,000-$147,000 CAD), so they will likely be go­ing straight into a col­lec­tors her­met­i­cally sealed garage rather than out into the field. Re­gard­less, we have to ad­mire Land Rover for what they are do­ing. We ap­plaud a com­pany that will take in old prod­ucts they built decades ear­lier and use le­git­i­mate fac­tory parts and work­ers to re­store that ve­hi­cle back to its for­mer glory. So yes, the Se­ries I has re­turned, but Land Rover is not putting them into pro­duc­tion.

It does give me great plea­sure to sup­ply you with the spec­i­fi­ca­tions for th­ese 25 ve­hi­cles, the orig­i­nal spec­i­fi­ca­tions of the Se­ries I. Th­ese are num­bers that younger minds likely can’t even fathom in this mod­ern age. You gotta love it.

A clas­sic shape. Funny enough, Land Rover is back into con­vert­ibles with the new drop top Evoque.

It only pumps out 50 hp, but you can fix it with a ham­mer.

“Is it fin­ished… where’s the sat­nav?”

No push but­ton FOB’s, just a sim­ple metal key.

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