The story of finding a very rare Land Rover.
Back in 1948, there were fifteen Series 1's given a HUE number plate and of those only two have survived. HUE 166 is of course the most famous and is owned by the British Motor Museum. The other remaining one is HUE 222 which is part of our collection in Banbury.
HUE 222 was made on 17th Dec 1948 and was purchased by Mr PF Lloyd in Kenilworth on January 15th, 1949. It was not seen again until 55 years later when it was found in Florence, Italy. In a remarkable story, it was in 2004 when the unique number plate was spotted by a British tourist from the walls of the Bobili Gardens. It was sitting abandoned under a tree and even housed a wasp’s nest! It took many years to persuade the owner to sell it and finally thanks to Paulo Turnietti the car was purchased in 2010 and was restored to its former glory.
Denys Shortt purchased the car in July 2019 and further restored it with ACHSV to its current perfect condition.
- Constructed December 17th, 1948, and delivered to Midland Autocar, Leamington Spa Dec 20th, 1948. Sold on Jan 15th, 1949, to first owner Mr PF Lloyd of Kenilworth.
The Land Rover was originally offered as a single model from 1948 to 1951. It featured an 80-inch (2.03 m) wheelbase and was powered by a 1.6-litre petrol engine, producing around 50 bhp (37 kW; 51 PS). The vehicle utilized a four-speed gearbox borrowed from the Rover P3, along with a new two-speed transfer box.
A distinctive aspect of this Land Rover model was its four-wheel-drive system, which included a freewheel unit, a component also found in some other Rover cars of that era. This freewheel unit allowed the front axle to disengage from the manual transmission when coasting, creating a form of non-permanent 4WD. In more traditional 4WD mode, the driver could lock the freewheel using a ring-pull mechanism located in the footwell.
The Land Rover was relatively basic in its design, with optional extras like tops for the doors and a roof made of canvas or metal. Additionally, in 1950, the headlights were moved from their original position behind the grille to a new location protruding through the grille.
A Pioneering Journey
The Land Rover Series I was first registered in January 1949, marking the beginning of an iconic off-road vehicle that would pave the way for the Land Rover legacy.
Luxury Meets Utility
In response to customer demands for more comfort, the Land Rover introduced the Tickford Station Wagon in 1949. Built by the renowned coachbuilder Tickford, this variant offered leather seats, a heater, and other interior trim, providing a more luxurious option compared to the standard model.
The Versatile Station Wagons
With the introduction of the five-door "Station Wagon" in September 1955, the Land Rover range expanded its capabilities. These wagons were designed to serve as both commercial vehicles and people carriers, offering seating for up to ten people and featuring a "Tropical Roof" for improved interior climate control.
Evolution in Power and Dimensions
From 1948 to 1957, the Land Rover Series I underwent significant advancements. Engine upgrades included a larger 2.0-litre petrol engine in 1952 and a ground-breaking 2.0-litre diesel engine in 1957. Additionally, the wheelbases were extended, and the chassis cross-member was moved to accommodate these changes, setting the stage for Land Rovers to come.