After production of the original Defenderceased in 2017, Land Rover launched its Land Rover Reborn program, in which the company planned to return 25 original Land Rover Series I vehicles (Land Rover did not use the term “Defender” until 1983) back home to the Solihull factory for a complete restoration using original processes and materials. Now, you have the chance to bring one to your home.
RM Sotheby's is auctioning the first Land Rover resurrected by the program dubbed “Car Zero." It’s a 1950 Land Rover series I SWB (short wheelbase) that spent its first life working as a farm vehicle in Queensland, Australia.
Land Rover restored the Series I to period-correct Bronze Green paint and green vinyl interior — army-surplus spec was understandably a popular choice at the time — with a period-correct canvas top and removable side windows. Land Rover kept the original engine, a 1.6-liter gasoline motor that put out about 56 horsepower, and the original gauges.
The truck is still basically in mint condition. The Land Rover has been driven fewer than 80 miles since its rebirth, and still has the paper delivery tags.
RM Sotheby's will sell Car Zero at their Elkhart Collection sale on October 23 and 24. The price is expected to be, by vintage Land Rover standards, reasonable; the vehicle is listed with no reserve, and RM estimates it will fetch between $90,000 to $120,000 — somewhere between the price of a new Defender and a luxury resto-modded old one. That said, remember: the downside of buying a museum piece car is, you commit yourself to maintaining it in suspended animation...or watching it plummet in value.