Land Rover Series One
JUE 477 holds a unique place in the history of the British motor industry, the first production Land Rover in a series that has been manufactured for over 70 years and counting. Chassis Number One (1) had been hidden for almost 20 years until its re-emergence in 2018.
This 80-inch Land Rover was ‘dispatched’ in July 1948, before being immediately signed over to a member of the Land Rover development programme, remaining within the Solihull site in much the same way as pre-production number seven and HUE 166 (‘Huey’), the world’s oldest Land Rover. It was not registered for road use until 1950, being bought by a Newcastle University professor in February that year. Over the following 20 years JUE 477 changed hands just once before being purchased by Mr David Fairless, when a trip to buy a tractor resulted in the acquisition of Chassis Number One instead.
After using this Series One model on his Northumberland farm for a while, 860001 was eventually parked up. Continuous speculation and interest as to its whereabouts and condition led to Mr Fairless briefly revealing the vehicle at a celebration of Land Rover’s 50th birthday at Shugborough Hall, Staffordshire in 1998. Following the interest generated by its sudden appearance, JUE 477 was then moved out of the public eye into a barn on the family farm until the decision was taken in 2017 to seek out a new owner to guarantee its long-term future.
From 2018-20, Chassis Number 860001 underwent a carefully considered restoration process, by a team headed by Julian Shoolheifer, that has preserved its remarkable history, and maintained its original components and unique details. In the words of Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Founder & Chairman of Ineos: ‘painstakingly restored by some uniquely talented people, steadily transforming it back into a vehicle that can once again do what it was designed to do’.
Its history and restoration has also been written up in a book, JUE 477: the remarkable history & restoration of the world’s first production Land Rover, by Martin Port, that was shortlisted for the Royal Automobile Club’s Motoring Book of the Year Award in 2021.
Displayed courtesy of Ineos Automotive Ltd