Land Rover continues to honor and celebrate the legacy of the soon-to-be-discontinued Defender, this time with an historic recreation of the original production line at the Solihull, UK factory where the first Series I Land Rovers rolled out in 1948.
The “Celebration Line” exhibition details the history of the Wilks brothers, the founders of the Series I, and shows visitors what life was like on the assembly line and how the original vehicles were built, largely with only the most rudimentary hand tools. The recreated assembly line displays Series I Land Rovers in varying degrees of assembly, built from original parts specifically for the attraction.
To build the replica assembly line, the Land Rover factory consulted with Land Rover restoration specialist Phillip Bashall, curator and owner of the Dunsfold Collection, the world’s largest collection of rare and unique Land Rovers and parts.
Despite his vast collection, it took Phillip months to accumulate all of the parts for the exhibition, and five weeks to assemble the vehicles. Phillip and his cohorts even went as far as building Series I chassis and body panels from scratch. Bashall consulted with 50-year Land Rover veteran Roger Crathorne to ensure the accuracy of the display. Visitors can even don period overalls similar to those worn by the original factory workers.
The current Defender assembly line is housed in one of the original buildings that contained the first Land Rover line. Both the current line and the newly recreated Series I line are open for tours throughout 2015.
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