We bought this Series I from a chap in Glossop who’d had it for 12 years. He had bought it from a guy who’d owned it for about 14 years. It’s an ex-MoD vehicle and appears to have sat in his collection for all that time. In due course he sold off his collection and this was the last vehicle he let go.
Eventually, the guy I bought it from had persuaded the previous owner to sell it to him. He owned several Land Rovers too, and originally planned to do it up for his wife, to go on rallies; he was into Willys Jeeps as well as Land Rovers. Very sadly, his wife died before it was finished, but he completed it and kept it.
When I was looking to buy a Series I, it was the first one I went to see. I know that contradicts the usual buying advice, but it’s been absolutely excellent.
The Land Rover’s original military registration was 17 BC 79. I understand that the BC vehicles formed a big order of Land Rovers from the Army in 1950.
Sadly, the MoD overhauled this Series I in June 1955, removing the original 1600cc engine and fitting a 1952 2.0-litre, which it still has. I found this out by checking the engine number in the reference books – it’s definitely a 1952 unit. The Duck Egg Blue engine colour also shows that it’s an MoD reconditioned engine; the brass plates on the bulkhead and inner wing confirm this fact.
As far as I can tell, the vehicle’s a very straight, original-condition example. It’s still got its military split-rim wheels and there are barely any welding repairs anywhere; I haven’t found any on the chassis at all. The chassis number is a 061, as it should be. I also found out that it should really be ‘lights behind the grille’ not ‘lights through the grille’, as it is at the moment.
The fairlead for the winch is interesting. It’s not the right part; it’s from the packing line of the Kellogg’s cereal factory in Manchester. When the factory closed, the Land Rover’s then-owner went along and picked it up; his winch didn’t have a fairlead at the time and this was an ideal, local ‘upgrade’. Although it’s clearly not original,
I really like it and the story.
The engine ran quite roughly when I first had it, because the fuel had gone very ‘treacly’ due to the vehicle sitting in the guy’s collection for so long. I’ll never know how long it was laid up, but it’s running fine now.
There were four other owners, the first being the MoD, and I’ve tracked down the first civilian owner after it left them. He was a plumber and painter and he used to drive around Derbyshire with ladders on the roof. He was eventually persuaded to sell it by the second owner.
Apparently, the plumber was a tall chap with blond curly hair; so am I. I think that’s an interesting circle that’s come back around!
The guy I bought the Series I from also renovated the Dixon-Bate trailer shown in the pictures. I don’t know much about it at all. He’s done a huge amount of work, fitting new oak panels and finding the warning triangle for the back – everything works really well. Together, the 80in and trailer make a great sight and they’re both fun to own.
This owner review appeared in the March 2016 issue of LRO. Current and Back issues are available to download on digital devices here. Please note, we only hold stocks of the the last three back issues.