After three decades of immobility, reggae icon Bob Marley's 1976 Series III Land Rover is on the move again. The vehicle, which has been on display for years at Marley's Hope Road address, now a museum, was moved to the ATL Automotive facility in Montego Bay on Wednesday for restoration to its former glory. It is estimated tha the restoration work will take about one year and will cost about US$50,000. It is to be a collaborative effort between the ATL Group and Land Rover headquarters in the United Kingdom. When it is finished, the Bob Marley Museum and Jacqueline Lynch-Stewart, the Bob Marley Foundation's general manager, said, the 1976 Land Rover will be put back on display at 56 Hope Road saying. 'It has been at the museum since it opened. It is always at the front. After having been exhibited in the open air under a covering but no sides for a quarter century so over the years, it has naturally deteriorated.'
Adam Stewart, deputy chairman of the ATL Group, said he was pleased to be part of this historic venture, 'We are deeply honoured that members of the Marley family have entrusted ATL Britannia, a division of ATL Automotive, with the restoration of Bob Marley's most treasured vehicle, his Land Rover.'
He added, 'Few projects are as unique and monumental as this one. A great deal of credit must go to the parties involved in this project; the Marley family for their passion and their desire to pay this tribute to Bob; Land Rover and its worldwide distributors, ITC for its support and vision without which it would not be possible; and the ATL Britannia service team, whose expertise is unrivalled.'
Stewart explained that the ATL Group would be supplying the labour, while Land Rover UK would provide the parts and, at the end of the project, the vehicle is to be returned to the Marley Museum at Hope Road. Steven James, technician at ATL for Jaguar, Land Rover and Range Rover, is the man entrusted with reviving the relic. 'We're obviously going to try to keep as much of the body of the vehicle as possible so as to retain its originality,' said James, who moved to Jamaica from the United Kingdom and has been working in Jamaica for the last 14 months. 'It's a lot of work. We will have to put in a new engine; redo the brake lines and the suspension; and overhaul the gearbox, the tranfer box, the diffs and the chassis so it is roadworthy. The project will mean working nights and weekends.'
Steven added that an initial review showed that the original glass, frame and fabric are in good condition and would be reused in the restoration process.
'Few Land Rovers are as famous as this one. I'm sure if Bob Marley was still with us, he'd be happily driving it on the roads of Jamaica today,' Adam Stewart concluded. Bob Marley died on May 11 1981. Another Marley vehicle, a Volkswagen bus, is at Culture Yard in Trench Town, St Andrew and the possiblity of getting it restored as well is not being ruled out.
ATL Automotive Limited holds franchises in Jamaica for Audi, Jaguar, Land Rover, Range Rover, Volkswagen and Honda.