1951 Land Rover Series I

In the end, who cares about their pug-like looks. They work and they
can’t be killed

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Land Rover is one of the most charismatic names in the motoring world, with a rich history around the globe. Its beginnings were humble-it was designed as a utility vehicle and mobile power source for ranchers and farmers. There was a provision for front center and rear power take offs (PTOs) and an optional engine governor to keep the machinery speeds constant despite the load. Eight forward speeds and two reverse with selectable four-wheel drive completed the functional package.
Steel was rationed, so aluminum was used for the body and reinforced with galvanized steel cappings. The heavy 14-gauge steel frame resembled railroad tracks and gave the vehicle immense strength and durability. Mechanical components came from the advanced Rover P3 sedans, including the 1,595-cc inlet-over-exhaust engine.
The Land Rover Series I offered here is a 1951 LHD export, model number 1613-2801, an example of the original specification produced from 1949-51. It is one of the earliest Land Rovers to be imported into North America and was found in Williams Lake, British Columbia, which is in the center of Canada’s westernmost province. A two-owner vehicle, it showed just 35,000 miles on the odometer. The aluminum panels were in remarkably good shape, in part due to large steel brush bars that had been welded to the front and rear frame members.
What followed was an epic seven-year, $60,000 restoration (not including more than 1,000 hours of the owner’s time) that took place between 1997 and 2004.
The vehicle retains its original engine, transmission, transfer case, and front axle. The fenders, bonnet, grill support, seat box, and rear box are also original. Three other early Series I Land Rovers were used as donor vehicles.
This Land Rover comes with a period accessory Brockhouse trailer and a Coventry Climax fire pump.

Paul Duchene

Paul Duchene - SCM Contributor

Paul grew up in England and has been riding, driving (and mostly writing about) cars and motorcycles since 1958, when he bought a 1939 James Autocycle for $5. He’s written for daily newspapers and magazines for 40 years, including the Chicago Tribune and New York Times, and has owned upwards of 200 cars and 30 motorcycles, most of which survived to be sold. His daily driver is a 1984 Cadillac Seville in Palomino Firemist, but on sunny days you’ll find him grinning over the windshield of a 1968 Siata Spring.

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