der 50th with engine number 0001 (31G00001A). 31G signifies this engine as ‘Defender 50th’ spec. This 90 transpired to be the vehicle from the 2 batch of prototypes (pre-production build phase); built around 3 months earlier than the first ‘production’ VIN.
The first batch of prototype 50th vehicles were painted BRG (and one in yellow) as ‘Atlantis Blue’ hadn’t yet been mastered by Design’s colour and trim team. All these vehicles were scrapped as unsalable, and all had Japan spec engine numbers (starting 30G NOT 31G like the production cars).
This is the first of the second batch of 4 prototypes (2 UK, 1 German and 1 Japan spec), and the first vehicle painted Atlantis Blue. These vehicles were not numbered as production – but did have plaques made for them (but never fitted) with the ‘number’ XX-X on the interior and XXX-X on the exterior.
Spec wise, it is correct as a production 50th – with the following exceptions:
- Under bonnet fuse box bracket is prototype.
- Engine ECU cover is prototype (and not white as production cars)
- No aluminium transfer knob or window winders (there were a late change for production)
- No grey leather auto gear shifter (again, a late change for production)
It even has the correct early ‘square cut out mudflap’ for the exhaust, not rounded off like the later items.
Interestingly, it wasn’t released to sales until May 1998 – around 3/4 months after it was built, and wasn’t registered by Land Rover until 2 years later on a V Prefix registration.
One of the 2 UK cars from this build phase were used as the brochure photo shoot car, so we strongly believe it is that car.
This car has just undergone an comprehensive restoration, including engine blueprint, retaining originality as built.
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