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Land Rover Classic 1948 restoration

Original 1948 motor show Land Rover brought back to life

Land Rover Classic 1948 restoration

The car that introduced Land Rover to the world has been brought back to life. The 1948 Amsterdam Motor Show star has been off the road since the 1960s and lost for decades before it was found in 2016. But Land Rover has now treated this historic vehicle to a ‘sympathetic restoration’.

Land Rover was determined to keep the car original, as seen in 1948, with left-hand drive, a prototype brake setup and alternative all-wheel-drive controls.

It was stripped back to its individual components and each part was restored and reused if possible, to maintain maximum originality.

Restoring a classic Land Rover

Series 1 1948 restoration

“It was important to strike the right balance when restoring the launch Land Rover,” said Calum McKechnie, head of Land Rover Classic.

“While there was a need to replace some parts, we were keen to keep as much of the original vehicle as possible in order to retain the unique characteristics of this 70-year-old model. The team has done an incredible job and the end result is a testament to the unique expertise and tireless passion of the experts at our Classic Works facility.”

So while the front axle, for example, was found to be in a respectable condition, the rear axle wasn’t so clean. To get a feel for the axle’s condition on the inside, the team X-rayed it. They concluded it was strong enough to be restored and reinstalled, rather than replaced.

Series 1 1948 restoration

The ‘organ stop’ controls for the all-wheel-drive system were also saved. It’s a rare setup that was replaced with a simpler system on production cars. 

Even more difficult for the technicians was reproducing this prototype’s unique rear brake setup. It had been removed in a previous life, so they used period drawings to recreate it.

On a technical level, this Series 1 has been brought back to its 1948 Motor Show standard. As a ‘show car’, however, it’s been left a little more rough around the edges. Land Rover wanted to maintain a period patina.

Land Rover Classic 1948 restoration

Some new bodywork was required. Alloy panels, as fitted to early prototype Series 1s, were re-manufactured in the 2mm-thick original specification. These were then painted and aged, to match the worn original panels that didn’t need work.

Technical illustrations helped Land Rover stay true to other quirks. A combination of reference photographs, diagrams and study of other pre-production Series 1s helped the marque recreate this prototype as it was in 1948. 

The restored show car debuted on the Land Rover Classic stand at the Goodwood Revival, just days after the long-awaited reveal of the new Defender.

Land Rover Classic 1948 restoration

“Bringing this historically important Land Rover back to life was a huge challenge, given its wear, tear and decay from the elements since the 1960s, but also a real pleasure,” said Michael Bishop, Land Rover Classic build engineer.

“Being able to open up our archive and revisit the original Land Rover engineering programme from over 70 years ago was a great privilege for the whole team.”

You can now buy a new Land Rover Defender LEGO kit

Lego Land Rover Defender

Worried about how you’ll find £45,000 for a new Land Rover Defender? Fear not, there is a cheaper way. Meet the Lego Technic Defender.

The new Lego kit was developed in collaboration with Land Rover for immediate release after the car’s debut. Consisting of 2,573 pieces, there’s no pre-ordering and picking this one up from the dealership. You’ve got to build it yourself. 

The model features replica body panels and wheels from the real thing, as well as four-wheel drive and three differentials. The Defender’s independent suspension, which disappointed some hardcore off-road enthusiasts, is also recreated here. There’s even a working winch.

Lego Land Rover Defender

“I’m very excited about this new model – a truly impressive job done by our Lego Group designers,” said Niels Henrik Horsted, marketing director at Lego.

“Together with Land Rover, we’ve blended elements, design and innovative engineering into a set that shows the boundless creativity of Lego play, and that with Lego Technic you can build for real.”

Lego Land Rover Defender

The Lego Defender joins a rapidly growing stable of Lego vehicles, including the Bugatti Chiron, Porsche 911 GT3 RS, McLaren Senna and Porsche 919.

In case you were completely shut away from society yesterday, click here to learn everything you need to know about the new Land Rover Defender. 

Lego Land Rover DefenderThe Above and Beyond collection

If you fancy some Defender merchandise, but Lego is a bit childish for you, there’s also a new clothing collection. It’s a collaboration between Land Rover and Musto, a manufacturer of technical sportswear.

A series of jackets, gloves and other bits of adventure clothing are available, as well as some gadgets. All useful for when you’re off adventuring in your Defender.

Frankfurt Off Road Future

Opinion: New Defender is perfect for now, but Audi has seen the future

Frankfurt Off Road FutureAfter months of speculation, leaks and teaser photos, the new 2020 Land Rover Defender is finally here.

And judging by the reaction at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, the second-generation icon is already a major hit. 

However, there’s another vehicle on show in Frankfurt that reveals how off-road driving may look further into the future

Days of future past

Frankfurt Off Road FutureLand Rover has been under immense pressure to deliver with the new Defender. It needed something built on shared components, rather than the labour-intensive bespoke platform of the previous version.

It also needed keep Defender purists happy, if possible. Yet, to make the project commercially viable, the Defender had to appeal to a wide array of customers. 

In a world where buyers clamour for luxury SUVs, building another no-compromise utility vehicle would have been commercial suicide.

Frankfurt Off Road FutureThe result is a new Defender that needs to be all things to all people. The wealth of options available from the off shows that Land Rover wants buyers to customise their cars. A £45,000 starting price is just the beginning… 

Not even the 2020 Defender can escape the lure of chequer plate trim, which covers the surface of countless original versions. Deep down in the options list is a £312 kit that adds the same effect, albeit in plastic, to your new Defender. 

It is a neat reminder that this is a modern reinterpretation of a classic off-roader. While packed with technology, and likely to be deeply impressive in the rough stuff, it is still a traditional 4×4 at heart.  

Where we’re going, we don’t need roads

Frankfurt Off Road FutureIf the new Defender is a modern 4×4 for now, Audi has very different vision of the future

Although very much a concept, the radical AI:Trail Quattro envisages automated driving technology being used in a world without paved roads.

Forest trails and dirt tracks do without the neat painted lines and consistent surfaces that self-driving vehicles rely upon. As such, Audi admits the driver will need to intervene when the going gets tough. 

However, the AI:Trail’s automated systems let the driver know when they are near the limits of the vehicle, and help avoid collisions using ultrasound and radar.

Frankfurt Off Road FutureEach wheel in the AI:Trail is driven by an individual electric motor. This allows up to 737lb ft of torque to be sent to the tyre with most grip, but without the need for transfer cases and differentials. 

The lithium-ion battery pack offers up to 310 miles of range on tarmac, but this halves to around 155 miles in the dirt. Range anxiety could quickly become ‘range fear‘ in the middle of nowhere.

A substantial glass cabin, inspired by the cockpit of a helicopter, is likely to require serious climate control to keep the occupants from cooking, too. 

Flights of fancy

Frankfurt Off Road FutureAudi has even dispensed with traditional headlights for the AI:Trail. Instead, an autonomous collection of five drones fly ahead, illuminating the ground with LED searchlights. 

These dock with the roof rack to recharge automatically, and can even be used to project navigation guidance, or help illuminate a campsite. 

Clearly, unlike the new Defender, the AI:Trail is not something to be bothering your local dealership about. At least not yet.

Frankfurt Off Road FutureThe new Defender looks set to be a major hit for Land Rover, even with its hefty price tag. It should be capable enough to keep the traditional fans happy, yet still appeal to urban warriors. 

However, there is the question of whether Land Rover could, and should, be looking further into the future. Vehicles like the AI:Trail, while fanciful in some ways, show that Audi is considering how off-roading could work in a world of electrification and autonomous tech.

Land Rover has the Defender for the current age sorted. But what will the Defender for the next generation look like?

New Land Rover Defender revealed: the headline facts

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

This is the first-ever all-new version of the original Land Rover, first launched back in 1948. We have waited years for it, and the Frankfurt Motor Show marks its international debut. Land Rover describes it as an icon reinvented for the 21st century. Here are the crucial facts you need to know.

Launched as a 110

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

There will be an entire family of new Defenders, but it debuts in a five-door 110 guise. The short-wheelbase 90 will follow a little later, with two commercial Defender vans due in 2020.

Instantly recognisable

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

It looks, well, like a Land Rover Defender. It has short overhangs, an upright stance, a side-hinged tailgate, an externally-mounted spare wheel and even Alpine light windows in the roof.

Satin finish

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

A key option from launch is Satin Protective Film. This is a ‘sustainable, solvent-free and completely recyclable wrap’ that guards against both off-road and on-road scrapes. It’s a factory-fit option for those choosing Indus Silver, Gondwana Stone and Panega Green paint colours.

Packed with accessories

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

No Land Rover has ever had such a wide range of accessories as the new Defender. These include a rooftop tent, inflatable waterproof awnings, a remote control electric winch – plus more commonplace add-ons such as tow bars and roof racks.

Diesel is still here

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

With two commercial versions set to come, the new Defender still has the potential to work for a living. Engine options reflect this, including two four-cylinder diesels, offered in 200hp and 240hp outputs. A four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine with 300hp, plus a range-topping 3.0-litre inline-six with an impressive 400hp complete the launch range.

Electrified performance

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

The name might be old, but the drivetrain technology underneath the new Defender is totally modern. On the 3.0-litre petrol engine there is even a mild-hybrid system, which includes an electric eSupercharger. This uses power stored in a lithium-ion battery pack to reduce the level of turbo lag below 2,000 rpm. A full plug-in hybrid will join the range next year.

Defender for the world

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

Land Rover will sell the new Defender in 128 countries across the world, making it a truly global new car. It is to be built alongside the Discovery at the firm’s Slovakian factory in Nitra.

Defender for a New Age

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

Land Rover design boss Gerry McGovern says the new Defender is respectful of its past, but not harnessed by it. “This is a Defender for a New Age. Its unique personality is accentuated by its distinctive silhouette and optimum proportions, which make it both highly desirable and seriously capable.”

Structure exposed

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

Inside, the Defender intentionally has a stripped-back feel, with Land Rover exposing structural elements normally hidden behind trim. The emphasis, it says, is on simplicity and practicality.

Lots of seats

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

Mounting the gear lever on the dashboard has cleared space for an optional front-centre ‘jump seat’. With three-abreast seating, the Defender offers five, six or 5+2 seating. The 90 will have this jump seat option as well, to ‘accommodate six occupants in a vehicle the length of a compact family hatchback’.

Rubber floor

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

Like the original Land Rover, you’ll theoretically be able to hose out your new Defender (if you’re brave), thanks to rubberised flooring. It’s just one of many practicality-focused details of the new Land Rover.

95 percent new

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

The Land Rover Defender is based on an aluminium monocoque architecture called D7x. The ‘x’ stands for extreme. It is 95 percent new compared with the Land Rover Discovery, and is the firm’s stiffest-ever body structure. Remarkably, it is three times stiffer than a traditional body-on-frame design.

Testing, testing

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

Apparently, more than 62,000 individual tests have been conducted on the new Defender ahead of sign-off. Land Rover is particularly proud of its Extreme Event Test, which repeats immense, sustained impacts ‘above and beyond the normal standard for SUV and passenger cars’.

Wading ability

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

Land Rover has endless figures explaining how good the Defender is off-road. We particularly like the fact it can wade through 900mm of water (that’s over 35 inches). It can also tell you if it’s safe to drive into such daunting depths thanks to a new Wade setting in the Terrain Response 2 system.

The best 4x4xfar

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

The new Defender ‘redefines breadth of capability, raising the threshold for both off-road ruggedness and on-road comfort,’ says Land Rover. ‘It can negotiate crowded city streets as effortlessly as climbing mountains, crossing deserts and withstanding freezing temperatures.’

System updates from the cloud

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

With a vast array of electronic components controlling the new Defender, Land Rover has included the potential for over-the-air software updates. The 14 onboard control modules can be improved without the need to visit a dealership. Land Rover even suggests that a satellite phone connection could be used in remote areas to receive data for updates.

Keep everything charged up

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

Proving that the Defender has certainly evolved with the times, a total of five 12-volt charging sockets can be found throughout the interior. Potentially perfect for powering camping and lifestyle accessories. In addition, up to five USB charging ports are also included, dependent on seating capacity. It might make you think twice about hosing out that rubber floor, though,

Even the key is ready for activities

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

Land Rover will offer the second-generation of the Activity Key for the new Defender as an option. This allows the driver to lock and open the Defender using a device similar to a smart watch. Being shock-proof and water resistant lets owners engage in a range of lifestyle activities without the need to carry around a traditional key fob.

Ready to order right now

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

If you are excited by the new 2020 Defender, Land Rover is already accepting orders for the 110 version right now. There is also an online configurator ready to help you plan your dream 4×4. The short-wheelbase 90 will be available to order from the middle of 2020, whilst the release of the commercial variants will be detailed nearer the time.

Land Rover Defender UK prices

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

The Defender 110 costs from £45,240 for the D200 diesel, up to £78,800 for the range-topping P400 petrol. Defender 90 and Commercial prices will be announced nearer their respective launch dates, but expect to pay from £40,000 for the 90 and £35,000 (plus VAT) for the van.

2020 Land Rover Defender: in pictures

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Land Rover expedition to reveal the new Defender

Land Rover Defender expedition to Frankfurt

Land Rover plans to give the new Defender a fitting debut, with an expedition from Kazakhstan to the Frankfurt Motor Show. The car will be revealed in full on Tuesday 10 September 2019.

Most new cars make their way from a factory to the show floor via locked container. The Defender has much more to prove. As such, it will begin its journey in the Valley of the Castles in Kazakhstan’s Charyn Canyon.

The journey is intended to prove the Defender’s adventurous credentials, which the last model – as well as the original Series Land Rovers – traded so heavily on.

Convincing Defender diehards

Land Rover Defender expedition to Frankfurt

The new Defender is going to be quite, well, new. It’s a modern, high-tech reinterpretation of what the original Land Rover did for over 70 years.

The trouble is, old-school Land Rover diehards don’t really like modern tech. They’re more ‘low range’ than ‘Terrain Response’.

Jaguar Land Rover CEO Ralf Speth has said the Defender “won’t be an easy launch” given how much expectation there is surrounding it. “A new Defender has to be geared towards its community of fans,” he said.

Land Rover Defender expedition to Frankfurt

Land Rover is thus hoping this Kazakhstan adventure will help cement a reputation as the ‘most capable and durable 4×4’.

The new Defender is expected to come in short- and long-wheelbase versions. Engine specifications aren’t yet known, but don’t be surprised if the mild-hybrid units from the new Evoque make up the majority of the range.

You’ll be able to watch the debut of the new Defender on 10 September on YouTube and Facebook. The live streams will go live at 8:50am on 10 September.

Jaguar Land Rover wants use more recycled plastics in its cars

Jaguar wants recycle more in its cars

Jaguar Land Rover has partnered with chemical company BASF to tackle the challenges of plastic waste, with a joint project called ChemCycling.

The plan is to take the plastic waste that cannot be recycled and develop a way to re-use it. ChemCycling transforms the plastic into pyrolysis oil using a thermochemical process. The resulting product is then used in the same manner as oil in BASF’s plastic production process.

The resulting plastic could be used in future Jaguar and Land Rover models for integral pieces of the vehicle. That’s the important point – integral. It’s not just a case of a dashboard feeling nice to the touch. It’s a piece of the front end carrier for instance. It has to behave in very specific ways during an accident, or under stress.

Testing is currently underway with I-Pace prototypes serving as the guinea pigs. The new materials have to pass a series of rigorous safety and quality tests in order to be approved for use in JLR cars.

Plastics are vital

Jaguar wants recycle more in its cars

It is hoped that a good deal of the millions of tonnes of waste plastic we produce could go to use. It’s predicted that by 2050, we’ll be producing as much as 12 million tonnes of plastic waste every year.

JLR is no stranger to implementing recycled plastics in its cars. The Range Rover Velar and Evoque use a material that combines a wool blend with a suede cloth. Each car uses 53 recycled plastic bottles.

“Plastics are vital to car manufacturing and have proven benefits during their use phase, however, plastic waste remains a major global challenge,” said Chris Brown, senior sustainability manager at Jaguar Land Rover

Jaguar wants recycle more in its cars

“Solving this issue requires innovation and joined-up thinking between regulators, manufacturers and suppliers.

“At Jaguar Land Rover, we are proactively increasing recycled content in our products, removing single-use plastics across our operations and reducing excess waste across the product lifecycle.

New Land Rover Defender is first up the Goodwood FOS hill

Land Rover Defender opens Goodwood FOS

The Duke of Richmond, the man behind the Goodwood Festival of Speed, opened this year’s event in style – at the wheel of a disguised new Land Rover Defender. He was first to drive up the famous Goodwood hill.

The Duke must also be one of the first people outside Land Rover itself to drive the Defender. And although it was effectively camouflaged, there’s no hiding that recognisable Land Rover silhouette.

Land Rover Defender opens Goodwood FOS

“The new Defender will redefine breadth of capability for the 21st century, combining unrivalled off-road ability with assured and engaging on-road dynamics. I am really excited to be putting it to the test on the hill,” said Land Rover chief engineer, Mike Cross.

You’ll able to see the Defender on the hillclimb at the Goodwood Festival of Speed every day over the course of the weekend. After today’s (Thursday’s) three runs, it will have a further five runs up the hill over the course of Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The Duke of Richmond actually has the last chapter of the Land Rover story in his collection, in the form of a Works V8 Defender. It’s fitting, then, that he should open this year’s event with the new-generation car.

Land Rover Defender opens Goodwood FOS

“Few vehicles in the world can claim to be an icon, but that’s the only way to describe the Land Rover Defender,” said the Duke of Richmond.

“It’s extremely close to my heart and a vehicle that I’ve had a close connection with over the decades, so to be able to open this year’s Festival of Speed by driving it up the hill was a real privilege.”

Jaguar I-Pace green icon

Jaguar Land Rover and BMW to team up on EV tech

Jaguar I-Pace green iconBMW and Jaguar Land Rover are to co-develop next-generation electric motors and drive systems, the two firms have revealed in a surprise announcement.

A joint engineering team will develop the new Electric Drive Units (EDUs) and they will be built in each firm’s manufacturing facilities – including the JLR Engine Manufacturing Centre in Wolverhampton.

The companies will concentrate on developing the motors “to deliver the specific characteristics required for their respective range of products”. The joint team will be based in Munich.

BMW i3S

JLR engineering director Nick Rogers revealed the partnership with BMW Group will help the British firm rise to the challenge of taking electric cars mainstream.

“We’ve proven we can build world-beating electric cars, but now we need to scale the technology to support the next generation of Jaguar and Land Rover products.

“It was clear from discussions with BMW Group that both companies’ requirements for next generation EDUs to support this transition have significant overlap making for a mutually beneficial collaboration.”

BMW iX3

In a statement, BMW said its fifth generation eDrive system, dubbed ‘Gen 5’, will be launched in the BMW iX3 electric car (pictured above in concept form).

“The Gen 5 electric drive unit will be the propulsion system upon which subsequent evolutions launched together with Jaguar Land Rover will be based.”

By working together, the two firms will benefit from shared R&D and production planning costs, as well as economies of scale in buying components from suppliers.  

“Together, we have the opportunity to cater more effectively for customer needs by shortening development time and bringing vehicles and state-of-the-art technologies more rapidly to market,” said BWM board member for development, Klaus Frohlich.

New Land Rover Defender put to work tracking lost lions

Land Rover Defender testing in Africa

A prototype new Land Rover Defender has completed its testing programme with the Tusk Trust in Kenya.

The 4×4 has been helping the charity with lion conservation, tracking down a male that needed his inoperative tracking collar replaced.

Tusk operatives were furnished with a Defender prototype decked out in a unique camouflage to suit the territory. The car came with a snorkel air intake to help it traverse tough terrain, ford rivers and pull trailers, all inside the 14,000-hectare Borana Conservancy.

Land Rover Defender testing in Africa

“This year marks Tusk’s Year of the Lion,” said Charles Mayhew MBE, chief executive of the Tusk Trust.

“Our aim is to raise awareness of the alarming decline in lion populations across Africa. Fortunately, within the Borana Conservancy, there are a number of prides of lion, and tracking and monitoring their movements across this vast and tough environment is vital in order to protect them and reduce any conflict with neighbouring communities.

“The new Defender took everything in its stride, from deep river wading to climbing rocky trails.”

Land Rover Defender testing in Africa

Any worries that the new Defender won’t be battle-hardened like the original should be quelled, at least in part.

“We are now in the advanced stages of the new Defender’s testing and development phase,” said Nick Collins of Jaguar Land Rover.

“Working with our partners at Tusk in Kenya enabled us to gather valuable performance data. The Borana reserve features a wide range of challenging environments, making it a perfect place to test to the extreme the all-terrain attributes of the new Defender.”

Land Rover Defender testing in Africa

The new Defender is expected to debut by the end of this year, and will come in a multitude of body styles.

Whether the new car becomes the backbone of UK infrastructure that the old one was, remains to be seen. Evidently, Land Rover is readying it for more than the school run…

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New Range Rover Astronaut Edition: for space travellers only

CLand Rover Range Rover Astronaut Edition

Land Rover has unveiled a Range Rover Astronaut Edition, and it’s rather exclusive.

While you might have to buy a few ‘regular’ Ferraris to get access to the special stuff, the rules for buying an intergalactic Range Rover are even more strict.

In short, you have to be a member of the Virgin Galactic Future Astronaut community.

What makes the Range Rover Astronaut Edition special?

Land Rover Range Rover Astronaut Edition

Marking out this special Range Rover is the aptly-named ‘Zero Gravity Blue’ colour scheme.

Unique details include puddle lamps with a silhouette of the Virgin Galactic ‘SpaceShipTwo’, alloy handles with the ‘Future Astronaut Community’ constellation design and ‘DNA of Flight’ graphics.

Inside, you get custom cupholders featuring pieces of one of the Virgin Unity Spaceship’s front landing skids. Once you go into space, one of these is swapped out for a piece of the skid from ‘your’ ship, with details of the flight inscribed. The other has Richard Branson’s “See you up there’”quote inscribed on it.

The DNA of Flight graphic also features on the carbon fibre front console lid, while the seats can be embossed with a silhouette of SpaceShipTwo. 

A rocket-powered Range Rover?

Land Rover Range Rover Astronaut Edition

Sadly, the Range Rover won’t have its own rockets, although the P400e plug-in hybrid and 5.0-litre supercharged V8 aren’t bad substitutes.

“The Astronaut Edition Range Rover is the next step on this journey and the chance for the Future Astronaut Community to celebrate our two brands’ shared values of pioneering spirit and true sense of adventure,” said Gerry McGovern, chief designer at Land Rover. “This vehicle really will take them Above and Beyond.”