incredible car number 7
“Everything that Land Rover is today began with this special car.”
Until 48 years later, a customer walked into Reg Mason’s auto repair shop…
Since no relevant records could be found, Land Rover experts once speculated that the “SNX 910” had been scrapped. It probably “worked” on a dairy farm for ten years before Rigg Mason called it a “rotting car” and bought it, then spent another 20 years of hard work on a pasture in Wales .
There, it was used as a static power source during logging.
No matter what it’s being used for, one cursory look at the No. 7 car will tell you it’s not going to be easy. The battle-tested car body is covered with various colorful marks and scars.
Even Alexander Madison’s widow, Joan Madison, has no idea what happened to her husband’s model after 1969.
For her, it was an emotional reunion.
She recognized her husband’s handwriting immediately from the 1967-68 entry on the car registration.
“Alexander had several motorcycles and cars at that time,” she said. “It included several Land Rovers, and this was one of them.” It’s likely he didn’t know the significance of the car at the time.
keep the classics
Today, at its factory near Coventry, the momentous number 7 car will be restored to its former glory by Jaguar Land Rover Classic.
Veteran engineer Susan Tonks, project manager for the restoration, said: “After a thorough mechanical overhaul, we planned to keep all the patina from the age on the vehicle. Come down and restore it more beautifully. It will participate in the “MOT” test like other existing models of the company. (MOT is the Ministry of Transport, which refers to the inspection of vehicles by the British Department of Transport.) So you don’t have to worry about it at all driving safety. However, it will still look like a 70-year-old car after restoration, just like it does now.”
Fortunately for Tonks, the hood of the No. 7 car and most of the body panels can be repaired, and even the original windshield and front and rear surrounds are miraculously intact.
It’s all thanks to the galvanized chassis and thickened aluminum body structure of the Land Rover Series 1 prototype. The rest of it needs a lot of restoration work.
“The cockpit bulkhead is completely rusted due to being buried for so long. We had to decide what to do with the rust. We also had no way of knowing the exact state of the chassis until it was removed. Nevertheless, we will be full of confidence. We will try our best to fix any leaks and make sure it is safe. Then, we will re-check all the repair work, so that the newly repaired places can better integrate with the car itself.”
At the same time, the car’s original 1.6-liter gasoline engine and gearbox will also have the opportunity to restore their former glory.
Cracks in the engine block will require welding repairs, and to match the car’s exterior, the restoration team will retain as much patina as possible on the engine and transmission.
For safety’s sake, car No. 7 will receive an all-new braking system, complemented by a look and handling that match its era. In addition, the period character wheels will be replaced with brand new tires.
Inside, the number 7 car will have a functioning dashboard and all new seats. That sounds like a lot less work for Tonks and her handpicked team of artisans.
However, as an experienced engineer, Tonks himself didn’t think so.
She said: “Based on the condition of the car, we think the restoration will take at least nine to 12 months to complete. We will start work after Land Rover’s 70th anniversary celebrations in April this year. So by 2019 In the middle of the year, car No. 7 will be restored and can be on the road again.”
Tim Hannig, director of Jaguar Land Rover Classic, said: “Of all the Land Rover models we can no longer find, this is the most important one. Everything that Land Rover is today began with this special car. Model. It can be said to be the originator of all Land Rover models, and has the same pivotal position as the first pre-production version of the Land Rover Huey model, which is now collected in the British Motor Museum, so L07 has become the most collected here An early Land Rover classic. With Land Rover celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, we couldn’t think of anything more relevant.”
What does Land Rover have in mind for the once-mysterious pre-production model once it’s restored to its former glory?
Henin replied with a smile: “It will stay in our classic car factory and be taken care of.”
There will be no more toil, no more decay and erosion. — After 70 years of trials and hardships, this original Land Rover model has returned to its homeland.
It will be visited and admired in front of its loving public, as it was at the Amsterdam Motor Show in 1948.
Text: LUKE PONSFORD
PHOTO: NICK BALLÓN