The first production Land-Rover, JUE 477, has this week gone on show at the prestigious RAC Club on Pall Mall, London.
The last time this important historic Landie was on public display was 20 years ago, in 1998, when it made a brief appearance at the marque’s 50th-birthday celebrations at Shugborough Hall. Following that outing, chassis 860001 was hidden from view until the decision was taken in 2017 to find a new owner and guarantee its long-term future.
JUE 477 was officially ‘dispatched’ in July 1948, before being signed over to a member of the Land-Rover development programme and remaining within the Solihull site.
It wasn’t registered for road use until 1950, when it was sold to a professor at Newcastle University; it changed hands just once more before being purchased by David Fairless and put into use on his Northumberland farm.
It was Mr Fairless – who initially went out to buy a tractor, but returned with the 80in Series One instead – who displayed the Land-Rover at Shugborough Hall in 1998, following increased speculation as to its whereabouts and condition, before tucking it away in a barn on the family farm.
This landmark example will now be subject to a carefully considered restoration that will ensure its remarkable history, patina and unique details are retained.
All images copyright Iain Gomes