Recognising the pride of ownership that’s kept Land Rover going over the past 67 years, Land Rover Heritage, which joins Jaguar Heritage at JLR’s Special Operations, will cater for models that haven’t been made over the past decade. To begin with, body, trim and servicing parts will mainly be available for Range Rover Classic and P38, as well as Discovery 1 and D2, with selected parts for Series I, II and III.
Land Rover Heritage aims to reintroduce more part numbers over time, manufactured using original tooling methods. They will all carry a warranty, although terms vary, depending on the part.
Additionally, Land Rover has confirmed it will supply replacement parts for Defenders for 15 years after the model goes out of production. So, after 2030, Defender parts will fall under the Heritage Parts scheme.
That’s assuming Heritage Parts lasts longer than its loss-making predecessor. In 2004, four years before Tata took over, Land Rover launched Land Rover Classic Parts. The logistics side of LRCP was handled by Unipart’s Automotive arm in Cowley, Oxfordshire, but LRCP was wound-up at the end of 2007, while the Jaguar equivalent continued.
In LRO’s December 2007 issue a Land Rover spokesman told us: ‘There has been a steady decline in demand to the point the (Unipart) operation was no longer viable in its current form. Further decline is forecast.’ As we reported in our January 2008 issue, the parts reverted to Land Rover’s standard spares department, handled by Caterpillar, and the Classic Parts brand was dropped.
Some reports suggest only 325 in-demand part numbers were re-added to the standard Land Rover parts inventory, while the rest of the 10,000-strong product line were apparently destroyed.
Unofficially, sources close to the operation suggested Land Rover owners were less willing to pay a premium for genuine parts, compared to Jaguar owners (especially with so many alternatives on offer from the likes of Britpart), but the Range Rover and Discovery-centric product lines can’t have helped.
So, why is Land Rover trying again? The classic car market has continued its relentless rise since 2007, and Range Rover Classics and Series Land Rovers are very much part of that scene. Land Rover wants a slice of the action. It also complements JLR’s heritage programme for Jaguar. As well as the parts business, there will be an increased focus on Land Rover Experience Heritage Drives at a 200-acre test facility in Warwickshire, launching this summer.
Whether enough Land Rover owners choose to buy genuine parts from a Land Rover dealer this time round, rather than OE-spec or reproduction items from a third-party, will surely decide Land Rover Heritage Parts’ fate. We welcome it, and wish it well.