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Land Rover labors to restore a lost love with the best Valentine’s day gift ever

This past weekend saw many of us expressing our love to those we hold hear for Valentine’s day but, while those gestures were primarily between couples, one automaker went above and beyond, reuniting a few guys with their childhood crush.

Four friends from New Zealand, Will Radford, Jeremy Wells, Anthony Dawson and James Shatwell, pulled money together while they were at university to purchase a 1957 Series 1 Land Rover Defender. The “Landy” became a fifth member of the group, taking the boys on numerous adventures across the rugged wilderness of both New Zealand and young adulthood. Time caught up with the aging Defender, however, sadly seeing it relegated to languish inoperable in a shed.

1957 Series I Land Rover
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The quartet attempted a few restoration attempts, but as marriage and family priorities grew, the young men decided to say goodbye, listing it for sale on a used car site.

Amazingly, a team from Land Rover new Zealand discovered the post, buying the car anonymously, and conspiring with Will’s wife Claire to restore it to original condition.

From there, the team took the busted vintage Defender and got to work rebuilding the chassis, engine, and just about everything else. They even replaced the original stickers that accumulated on the car over the years. What wasn’t changed were the bangs and dents the Landy had picked up along its adventures, giving the car its distinct character.

Land Rover then carefully arranged for a Valentine’s day surprise for the four adventurers that they’ll never forget. All this is made even more poignant as the Defender goes out of production this year, with every one made until now directly descending from Landy’s generation.

Sort of makes that goofy card and box of Godiva chocolate you gave/received a little weak, doesn’t?

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Alexander Kalogianni
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Alex K is an automotive writer based in New York. When not at his keyboard or behind the wheel of a car, Alex spends a lot of…
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