I found the first ever Land Rover abandoned & rusting after 50 years in a barn… now it's running like new again | The Sun

CAR restoration experts have revealed that they found the first Land Rover ever made after it lay abandoned in a barn for 50 years.

The museum-worthy motor had been in the hands of the Northumberland farmer since 1970, until the team at Julian Shoolheifer was tasked with bringing it back to life.

Registered JUE 477, the beautiful classic bears the chassis number 860001, meaning it is the first production Land Rover ever made, rolling off the line in July 1948.

It was originally intended to be given to King George VI as a gift but, when those plans fell through, it was sold to Professor Ewen McEwen, a lecturer at the University of Durham.

The car then changed hands several times while staying in the North East, eventually ending up with its current owner.

Unfortunately, it suffered from some severe mechanical issues, meaning it was left exposed to the elements for nearly 30 years.


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It was briefly wheeled out on display for the 50th anniversary of the iconic British manufacturer before being placed in a barn until 2017.

Until then, classic car enthusiasts didn't even know if the original chassis was even in one piece.

At that point, the owner's family called in the restorers to wind back the clock and bring the Land Rover back to its former glory.

On their website, the team said: "The task of restoring chassis 860001 was one which had a very precise, yet simple, brief and ethos behind it: retain as much of the original vehicle as was physically, and safely possible.

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"Many had already condemned the chassis as being beyond repair, but after detailed inspection based upon decades of experience, we were adamant that not only could it be saved, but that an impressive amount of the original metal would still make up the backbone of the restored vehicle."

The four-month-long process saw the original engine, gearbox and transfer box undergo a full rebuild, while most of the other components were cleaned and refitted.

The bodywork was cleaned using "ancient and modern techniques " to reduce exposure to water or heat and keep the original as intact as possible.

Shoolheifer's experts added that new parts were only used where they were essential for safety, while they retained the car's "DNA" as much as possible.

The finished car is almost unrecognisable from the rusted old wreck that was discovered in the barn six years ago.

However, it has not been over-restored and has simply been made a useable and safe classic, without glossing over its amazing history.

Faded and chipped paint as well as light rust all give away the extensive pedigree of one of the world's most famous 4x4s.

Almost unbelievably, after half a century lost to the world, the little Land Rover was driven across the Gobi Desert by a team including Ineos CEO Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

Sir Jim described the restoration as "a job that has been done by people who not only really know what they are doing, but also really care about what they are doing".

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It comes after a rare custom Ford Escort RS2000 hit auction for an eye-watering price.

Meanwhile, back in the modern day, a major car brand has discontinued its top-range EV after it was blasted by drivers.

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