Land Rover Series I (1948 – 1957) Review

Land Rover Series I (1948 – 1957) At A Glance


+The original Land Rover, still accepted eveywhere, and still unbeatable off-road

-Noisy, crude and slow on the road

The original Land Rover was the brainchild of Rover’s chief engineer, Maurice Wilks, owned a ‘demobbed’ Jeep, was impressed with its abilities, and wanted to create his own version to build in the Rover factory in Solihull. The idea to actually build one came in 1947 as his Jeep was worn out and as there was no British replacement on the market...

The new off-road Rover was developed in double-quick time, and by the end of 1948, was shown to the public for the first time. The Land Rover and proved so popular that demand massively outstripped supply – and the Series 1 went on to become an enduring success that helped keep the rest of Rover afloat during the lean years of the 1950s. The Series 1 was originally offered in 80-inch short wheelbase form and as a 107-inch LWB, but throughout its run, the SWB was extended - first 86- then 88-inches. Engines were by Rover - first the 1.6-litre from the P3, and followed by a 2.0-litre. The earliest cars are worth the most - but despite their age, many still enjoy hard working lives.

Ask Honest John

Should I buy a Land Rover Freelander 1?

"I have a hankering to buy a great three door example of the Land Rover Freelander Series 1 facelift 2005-2007, highest spec possible and lowest mileage available. I brought a brand new one in 2000 and loved it. I am now retiring so have time for repairs etc and my mileage will be low. Am I mad?"
If you love the car – why not? Our review will give you an idea what to look out for/avoid: Naturally, a full service history is desirable and it is worth looking for a car that has been treated to an upgraded head gasket.
Answered by Russell Campbell

What's a good project car to dismantle with my son so he can learn about cars?

"I want to find a car that I can take apart with my eight-year-old son so he can learn about how a car is put together. It should be small so the components are light, not too many sealed electrical bits and the more dismantlable the better. I don't want a badly crashed one and it would be nice to have something that we can get some residual value by selling bits on eBay so he can also learn about commerce. Do you have any suggestions of what and where to buy? Should we be aware of any safety issues when dismantling? "
Ideally, you'll want something classic. Is there a particular aspect that you're looking to highlight? Something like a Triumph Herald or a Ford Anglia 105E would be perfect for the mechanical side of things - although neither are cheap now. Perhaps you could look at Series Land Rover? The older the car is, the easier it will be to see how it works - but the more expensive it will be. Have a look on eBay for a 'spares or repair' car near you - if you've got a trailer or a way of moving it, that's going to make it a bit easier. When it comes to dismantling the vehicle, then there are plenty of things to be aware of. End of life vehicles are normally handled by authorised treatment facilities that have the proper facilities to dispose of hazardous waste such as oil, brake fluid and batteries. You'll need to look at what facilities are available to you locally. Be mindful of the paperwork - keep the DVLA informed if the car is off the road or if it's been scrapped. If you don't, you could be fined up to £1000. Finally, be courteous to your neighbours. While there's no law on working on a car at home, angle grinding at midnight is unlikely to make you many friends. And if you have a pile of hazardous scrap metal dumped on your drive, then expect problems - store the car and the parts you remove safely.
Answered by Keith Moody
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