Land Rover will celebrate its famous Defender model, which ceases production at the end of this year, with a parade of cars at the Revival.
A hand-picked selection of vehicles produced by Land Rover between 1948 and 1966 will do a parade lap of the historic Goodwood Motor Circuit at noon on each day of the Revival.
The group of cars include the rare, the whacky and those with extraordinary human and historic tales behind them, all of which serve as a poignant reminder of how woven into the fabric of ‘Britishness’ the Defender is.
Perhaps the most significant cars among the 55 attending – although there’s an extraordinary tale behind each of them – is the gathering of 11 pre-production Series I Land Rovers, all coming from the Dunsfold Collection, a registered charity dedicated to preserving Land Rovers. It will be the largest gathering of pre-production Land Rovers seen in motion.
Another car of note in the parade is, surprisingly, a replica, built in 2005, of the very first Land Rover ever built, the 1947 Centre Steer. The idea behind the original car was a vehicle that would serve both right-hand- and left-hand-drive markets. However, because the engine was mounted in the north/south position, the steering layout offered very little legroom and the idea was swiftly dropped. Only the one original Centre Steer was built, and its fate remains something of a myth, but it’s thought it was converted back into a Jeep and used on the family estate of the Wilks (Maurice Wilks famously drew the first sketch for a Land Rover on an Anglesey beach in 1947).
Brightening up the parade will be a 1952 Series I used by the AA, which bought its first Land Rovers in 1948 for use on night breakdown shifts in London (also proving that SUVs in London have been round longer than feared). There will also be at least seven Series I and II converted Land Rover fire engines, many complete with original hoses and equipment.
One of the most eye-catching contributions to the parade is a 1950 Leyland Beaver; unremarkable in itself, but this one is an original Land Rover delivery truck, replete in its livery with “Helping Britain’s export drive” painted across the flank.
Other Land Rovers taking part that raise a smile and touch on the human tales behind these extraordinary machines include a 1952 Series I in fantastic condition used by a mobile welder, a 1954 Series II Station Wagon believed to be the oldest still on the road, a 1953 Minerva ambulance complete with stretchers and medical equipment, a 1957 Series I used by the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation as a snow blower, a 1963 prototype turbodiesel truck, built for military trials with the Belgian army, a 1965 amphibious Land Rover built for the Australian army and, perhaps most brilliant of all: a bright yellow 1950s Series I that was built and adapted by Bertam Mills Circus, specifically to give the impression that Kam, the circus elephant, was driving the car.
They come in all shapes and sizes, those Defenders…