Classic Van Auction Talk

Thursday, 23 April 2015

1952 LAND ROVER SERIES 1 80" - Silverstone Auctions 23-05-15

23rd MAY 2015
Registration: HDM 742 (TBC)
Chassis Number: 26103530
Engine Number: 26106279
Number of cylinders: 4
CC: 2000cc
Estimate (£): 26,000 - 28,500

A restored Series 1 80 inch in concours condition direct from Ken Wheelwright, the master restorer.
When Maurice Wilks, Rover's chief designer, came up with a plan to produce a light agricultural utility vehicle in 1947 he would have no idea that his design would become an icon and launch a whole new industry sector. The original Land Rover was presented in sage green with a canvas roof and revolutionised rural transport. As an engineering marvel it can still outstrip its modern counterparts, and the Series I rightly belongs in the Motoring Hall of Fame. Hugely successful globally, improvements were made throughout the production run. In 1950 the lights moved from a position behind the grill to protrude through the grill and in 1952 a larger 2.0 litre petrol engine replaced the original 1.6 litre.
One man who has come to be known as the leading authority on early Land Rovers, and indeed the go-to restorer for leading collectors and Land Rover themselves, is Ken Wheelwright. Working from his Yorkshire farm, Ken's restorations include three early pre-production prototype Land Rovers, two Tickford Station Wagons, the first Automobile Association restored 80 inch now on display at the Coventry Motor Museum and a Tickford Land Rover for the British Heritage Motor Museum. Four other vehicles are in a German museum collection, along with an exact replica of a Land Rover factory Transporter which took two years to build from archive pictures only. The most notable of Ken's achievements came when he was chosen as one of the Land Rover factory's preferred restorers, having supplied them with two Series I Land Rovers in dark bronze green that have featured on television programmes worldwide.

As a testament to his unsurpassable reputation Ken was commissioned by Land Rover to restore Stephen Wilks' Series IIA Land Rover which had been presented to his father Maurice on his retirement from the Rover Company in 1965. This vehicle now forms part of Land Rover's own heritage collection, joining Ken's other restored Land Rovers. As befits the work of a no nonsense Yorkshireman we will end the superlatives here and move on to the Land Rover itself. Originally supplied by the Grosvenor Motor Company of Rhyl, Flintshire to Roger Hughes & Co Ltd, Civil Engineers of Colwyn Bay, North Wales to be used by their site engineer.

When Ken became the Land Rover's third owner he undertook a full nut and bolt restoration, so comprehensive that it would require a full page to list everything that was done. A brief summary includes the galvanising of the original chassis, painted in the period correct deep bronze green and most original components reconditioned. When some parts were found to be beyond repair, original Land Rover new-old stock components were used. The engine was completely rebuilt at the same time and re-bored with new pistons and camshaft. In addition a new wiring loom and brake components were fitted as was a new canvas roof and bench seating for four in the rear. The odometer reads 13,824 miles at the time of consignment, and we assume it has gone ‘round the clock'.

Sold complete with a British Motor Industry Heritage Trust certificate and a fresh MoT, this 80" Land Rover Series I has every box ticked. Restored by an award winning world authority, trusted by Land Rover themselves and presented in concours condition in the period correct deep bronze green, this car is the most desirable variant of the Land Rover and will add the finishing touch to any collection. The last Series I 80" we sold realised £38,250, including premium, at the NEC Practical Classics Show in November 2014 and this example therefore offers exceptional value in a rising market

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