Auto

Coming in from the cold

BY BRIAN BONITTO Associate Editor — Auto and Entertainment bonittob@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, February 07, 2014    

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TWO years after restoration work began on Bob Marley's iconic 1976 Land Rover series III, the vehicle may soon be coming in from the cold.

"We're looking at the end of February," said Stephen James, ATL Automotive's master technician.

Entrusted with the task of reviving the relic to its former splendour, James and his team transported the Land Rover from the Bob Marley Museum grounds on Hope Road in Kingston to ATL Automotive's St James facility, in January 2012. The vehicle had been immobile for more than three decades.

"So far, all the body work has been done and it is painted. We had to change out parts. The axle has been repaired and we're rebuilding the chassis. We're putting it back together," said James.

The restoration — a collaborative effort by the Marley family; Land Rover and their worldwide distributors, ITC; and ATL Automotive — is in the region of US$70,000.

James said the project sees him putting in at least four days per week.

"It's long, hard work... tedious at times. But you get satisfaction seeing the vehicle restored to its former condition. It's something good to have your name against," he said.

The late reggae king is not the only 'royalty' to have owned a Land Rover. It is the official off-road vehicle of Britain's royal family and has found its way into sun-kissed palaces of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Dubai.

The second-oldest four-wheel-drive brand in the world after the Jeep, the Land Rover originates from a 1947 model by Maurice Wilks, a British automotive and aeronautical engineer. The company, however, has only existed since 1978.

Marley's Land Rover series III had a 14-year production starting in 1971. The two-door, off-road pick-up had a 2.25-litre engine which produces 73 horsepower.

Bob Marley died May 11, 1981. He would have been 69 yesterday.

In addition to Jaguar, Land Rover and Range Rover brands, ATL Automotive Limited is the authorised dealers for Audi, Volkswagen and Honda.

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