1953 Land Rover Series 1


  • Used as a farm vehicle in Australia by same family from new to 2017
  • Highly original matching numbers early Land Rover from dry climate
  • One owner since import to UK
  • Significant recent mechanical expenditure
  • Mechanically overhauled but beautiful aesthetic patina retained
  • Tax and MOT exempt
  • Bought as a project, has received significant expenditure, now ready to use

The Appeal

This beautifully aged 1953 Land Rover bears visual testament to the life these early versions were destined for.  Its 64 years working on the same family farm in dry, semi-desert Australia is told on every panel.

A matching numbers Series 1 its chassis number confirms that it was a RHD Complete Knock Down (CKD) model sold for export.  It was re-imported to the UK in 2017 and its one owner has expended considerable sums restoring it mechanically whilst carefully preserving that lovely patina.  It is fresh from that work.  It is a distinctive, highly original early Land Rover that is ready to use and enjoy on a new stage of its interesting and varied life. 

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The History And Paperwork

  • Exported in January 1953 to Melbourne
  • Built by Regent Motors in Melbourne and sold to a farmer in semi-desert Australian outback
  • 924th of 2,240 Complete Knock Down (CKD) 1953 RHD export models
  • Re-imported to the UK in 2017 
  • One owner since returning to the UK
  • Large history file documenting all expenditure since its return to the UK
  • Invoices exceeding £9000 for parts alone since 2017

The Interior  

  • Seats re-trimmed in period correct green vinyl at cost of £375
  • Instruments refurbished and reconditioned
  • Original sun-bleached patina
  • Land Rover rubber mats

The beautiful simplicity of the interior of this Land Rover is enhanced by the patina, every mark and fade of paint telling its own story of a life lived half a world away.

The Seller has successfully walked a fine line between preserving that character and improving this vehicle so that it is useable.  That is particularly evident in the interior, which retains the beauty of its age but with nods to comfort like the retrimmed seats.  The refurbishment work has been done well, the green vinyl being period correct.  

Reflecting the same ethos, the instruments have also been refurbished so that the Land Rover can be reliably used on the road.  Again, this work has been done cleverly, the refurbished dials blending nicely with the overall patina of the interior.

Elsewhere there are nice original touches like the metal Rover dash emblem and even a diecast replica of the Land Rover in front of the steering wheel.

The Exterior

  • Original chassis and bulkhead both in good condition 
  • Nicely patina’d bodywork with likely original paintwork
  • Bodywork repaired and refitted during restoration as needed
  • Canvass roof in good condition
  • New tyres and reconditioned steel rims
  • Rare radiator chaff guard 
  • Optional and rare working Power Take Off (PTO) fitted to rear of vehicle
  • Axles professionally rebuilt including new bearings 

The exterior of this Land Rover continues the theme of blending originality with careful improvement.  It is a fully matching numbers vehicle – there is a list of the parts numbers in the photographs – and the Seller has restored the structure and body where required and retained it where possible.  The result is a very useable, very original Land Rover with a story glinting off every sun-bleached panel. 

This Land Rover was exported to Melbourne as a Complete Knock Down (CKD) kit and then built by local garage Regent Motors.  The chassis number confirms this story.  It retains its rare radiator chaff guard and the optional PTO unit, one of the early upgrades that made these Land Rovers so useful as farm vehicles.  The Seller states that the PTO is fully operational.

The restoration work since the vehicle returned to the UK in 2017 has included repairing the bodywork where needed and refitting the original panels wherever possible to maintain its historical appearance.  The chassis is original as is the bulkhead, which the Seller says are in excellent condition and the photographs appear to confirm.  Both axles were professionally reconditioned during the restoration, including the bearings, and the springs were also replaced.  

The structure of this Land Rover is complete, including the canvas roof, which appears to be in good condition.  The paintwork also appears to be original, however there are obvious and extensive areas of deterioration to the paint.  But on a vehicle such as this that would seem to be a large part of its appeal.

Reflecting the Seller’s approach of preserving originality but making the vehicle useable, the tyres are new and the steel rims are the original ones.

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The Mechanics

  • Matching numbers vehicle
  • Reconditioned 2litre 4cyl petrol engine 
  • Reconditioned manual gearbox
  • New exhaust
  • New petrol tank 
  • Steering box, radiator, carburettor, dynamo and starter motor reconditioned 
  • New Land Rover water pump fitted
  • Over £9000 spent on parts during the refurbishment

While this septuagenarian workhorse wears its hard life on every panel, beneath the surface it is much more sprightly.  The Seller has invested in excess of £9000 in parts alone to bring new life to the mechanicals.  This has been done with care, with parts refurbished where possible and only replaced where absolutely necessary.  

The extensive work is listed above and includes professionally rebuilding both the engine and gearbox, including reconditioning the original starter motor, dynamo, carburettors, distributor, and radiator.  In keeping with the Seller’s approach to the work, the specification has been kept original, for example the ignition has not been upgraded to an alternator.  

Other  improvements include a new petrol tank, new Land Rover water pump and a new exhaust.  Since the work was completed the vehicle has been garaged when not in use and only used to attend local classic car shows.

The Land Rover is tax and MOT exempt and has recently been serviced, including an oil and filter change. 

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The patina on this Land Rover is so sculptural that it would be tempting to simply buy it and admire it.  But fortunately the Seller has expended considerable sums to overhaul and restore the running gear.  He has created a historic vehicle that feels like the best of both worlds: one that carries the beauty and character of age with the reliability of mechanical restoration.

The restoration work has been very sympathetically and professionally conducted and this lovely, much-historied Land Rover looks ready for a retirement life being loved, enjoyed and admired.

Notice to bidders

This item is sold on an ‘As is Where is’ basis. The condition of this item is the opinion of the seller and may differ from your own opinion. Photos and listing descriptions are for guidance purposes only*.** Car & Classic do not warrant listing accuracy. Full inspection is recommended. Viewings are at the seller’s discretion. Buyer is responsible for delivery and collection of any item purchased.*

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1953
  • Make Land Rover
  • Model Series 1
  • Colour Patina
  • Odometer 34,432 Miles
  • Engine size 1997
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Town Poulton-Le -Fylde
  • Location Lancashire
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
28 bids
  • st•••• £20,250 13/04/23
  • ru•••• £20,000 13/04/23
  • st•••• £19,750 13/04/23
  • ru•••• £19,500 13/04/23
  • st•••• £19,250 13/04/23
  • ru•••• £19,000 13/04/23
  • ru•••• £18,750 13/04/23
  • To•••• £18,500 13/04/23
  • To•••• £18,250 13/04/23
  • st•••• £18,000 13/04/23

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