06 October 2023
To celebrate 75 years of the Series I, Newark Vintage Tractor and Heritage Show will be recognising this historic moment with several iconic vehicles.
Mike Fincher, who has owned and restored Land Rovers since 1986, will be bringing a 1955 Series I, which started life with the Ministry of Supply. Typically, MoS vehicles were drafted into the auxiliary fire service and the civil defence organisation, although Mike is unsure of how his was used. “The earliest record of ownership I have found is in the Borough of Lewisham, which it has painted on the vehicle door tops along with the Lewisham crest,” he reveals. Most of the mechanical components were in a dire condition and needed rebuilding or replacing, but Mike has managed to retain the original chassis and bodywork.
Mike collecting his Series I
The engine comes out
Nearing completion. You can see the finished restoration at the Show
Also being displayed is a 1952 Minerva Land Rover Series I purchased, unseen, from eBay. “I went to collect it and most of the bodges were well disguised, so it was only when I got it home I realised how bad it was,” he says. “I had some major welding work to do, and it was worse on its chassis and bodywork than I had assumed. It led to the replacement of the gearbox, clutch and rear axle.”
Mike's restored Belgian Army Minerva will also be there
As a military vehicle, it had spent 43 years of its life with the Belgian Army. It’s documented to have a rebuilt engine installed after 20 years, but Mike doesn’t know with which unit it served or where it served, because, curiously, it’s a Belgian government secret.
Fans of the Series I and other Series Land Rovers can celebrate the vehicles at the Newark Vintage Tractor and Heritage Show, 4 and 5 November 2023. For a limited time only, discounted tickets are available from: newarkvintagetractorshow.ticketsrv.co.uk/tickets/. For more information about the show, visit newarkvintagetractorshow.com.