Jaguar Land Rover is making hay in every direction and every epoch. The English group posted best-ever sales in the US and globally last year, and so far 2016 is cooking with gas. Digging back through the loam of chronology, Jaguar Classic is making nine continuation XKSS roadsters, two years ago it produced a run of E-Type Lightweight coupes, and head designer Ian Callum turned out his spectacular take on the vintage Jaguar Mk II. The Leaping Cat’s sister brand has now put some aluminum in the game: Land Rover Classic announced its “Reborn” program during the Techno Classica in Essen, Germany with an Australian Series I restored to 1948 specification.
That Bronze Green Aussie project was the first in a series of 25 restorations. Land Rover Classic is a new concern, so before it accepts private vehicle restorations it will demonstrate the depth of its talent by selecting 24 more Series I donor vehicles from around the world and resurrecting them for chosen clients. Each 4×4 – either a two-door short-wheelbase or four-door long wheelbase – will be stripped and rebuilt using the original parts wherever necessary, Land Rover Classic will install or fabricate new parts if required. The return to 1948-showroom-new means buyers get a choice of five original colors – Light Green, Bronze Green, RAF Blue, Dove Grey and Poppy Red – and period-correct interior coverings. A Classic representative will shepherd buyers through the process, and the new owners can watch their Landies resurrected in the Solihull, England workshop where Reborn projects are, ahem, reborn.
Each restoration will take from six to nine months, comes with a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty, with prices said to range from £60,000 to £80,000 (about $85,000 to $110,000 Benjamins). Classic car valuator Hagerty doesn’t list the Series I, but values a concours-level Series II at $44,000. The ever-inflating sums in the present classic car market mean there’s a good chance of eventually recouping the investment, if that were the goal. Ironically, though, for a brand that earned bona fides through farming and going hub deep in tropical muck for weeks at a time, Land Rover’s own in-house efforts will convert its seminal product from an expedition king into a garage queen.