R608BDU is the fourth production Freelander, the first production car being chassis 600477 which can be found in the British Motor Museum at Gaydon.
R608BDU rolled off the production line on the 5th November 1997 and went straight into the ownership of Land Rover company vehicles, being PDI’ed and road registered on the 6th November. Through research is has been found that this makes R608BDU the earliest registered factory owned production Freelander (numbers 2 and 3 were shipped to dealerships and registered in Dec 97 and Jan 98 respectively). Little so far is know of the history of the car while in Land Rover ownership, although some vehicle movement documents found with the car show that it was used on a number of occasions by the HR department.
R608BDU remained in company ownership until June 1998 and having covered 10600 miles it was disposed of through the companies usual channels. The vehicle remained close to the factory with subsequent services being carried out at Evans Halshaw Land Rover Solihull up until 68000 miles.
R608BDU was spotted by members of the CVC Register on the forecourt of A5 Automotive in Tamworth. The car stood out due to its black door tops and potential factory registration. Closer inspection revealed the early chassis number and full historic significance of the vehicle. The car was in exceptional condition, having just covered just under 83000 miles and was in factory standard condition.
R608BDU was almost lost, as when arriving at the dealership a couple were in the process of leaving a deposit to secure the car. With this in mind, we spoke to the dealer principle and explained the historic details and asked for him to pass on the details of the group in the hope that the car could be tracked. As luck would have it, shortly after leaving the dealership, the couple contacted the dealer principle to say they were unsure of their choice. Taking this into account, the dealer principle contacted us and offered the vehicle as he knew that it would be preserved by the group – the only proviso being that he was sent pictures of the car on show. A deal was struck and R608BDU joined the ranks of CVC preserved vehicles.
As R608BDU is in such excellent factory condition and low mileage, it will be preserved in this state and used primarily only during the show season with the odd run out during the summer months. As 2017 is the 20th anniversary of the launch of Freelander, R608BDU will be taken to as many shows as is practical through the year.
Research is currently underway to try to learn more of the company use of the car, as well as the initial production run of Freelanders in general.
Model: Freelander XEI 5-Door Station Wagon, RHD, Home Market spec
Model Year: 1997
Manufacture Date: 05 November 1997
Registered: 06 November 1997
Engine: 1.8 litre K Series Petrol
Chassis number: 600480
Engine number: 18K4FJ78545725
Colour: Chawton White
Trim: Ash Smokestone