Land Rover opens replica 1948 production line

As production of the legendary Defender nears it end, Land Rover has introduced a new tour at its Solihull plant to celebrate the life of the vehicle.

The Defender tour includes an authentic replica of the 1948 production line, recreating in detail how Series I Land Rovers were built at the plant just after the Second World War.

Jaguar Land Rover heritage director, John Edwards, said: “Land Rover has a rich heritage based around the Series I and Defender models, and we wanted to create something extra special that would give visitors and enthusiasts a unique insight into how it all started back in 1948.

“It has been a huge task to recreate a production line from almost 70 years ago, from sourcing original parts for the Series I models, to authentically re-creating the working environment and uniform of employees who were here. The team involved has been meticulous in their research, planning and creation of what is a fitting tribute to the legendary heritage of Land Rover.”

The manufacturer worked with independent Land Rover specialist Phil Bashall to help create replica models of Series I Land Rovers in various states of production. Once Bashall had gathered parts from his extensive collection, it took him and his team at Dunsfold Land Rover five weeks to put the models together.

He said: “It’s been a struggle at times, but a real labour of love to source all of the original parts needed for vehicles that stopped production so many years ago.”

Roger Crathorne, known as “Mr Land Rover”, came out of retirement to oversee the project.

He added: “No other car maker in the world has anything as authentic and with such meticulous attention to detail as our heritage line. It has taken months of searching and dedication to put this project together, but it has been worth it.”

The Defender Celebration Tour takes approximately three hours and costs £45 per person.