Vehicle 8 of 15
Chassis number: SALLNABA7WA600682
Registration number: R326 BDU
Engine type: 1.8 Petrol
Gearbox type: 5 Speed manual
This vehicle was built in October 1997 and is an early production car. The first production vehicle is in the British Motor Museum, Gaydon and was signed by the development and build teams. Most of the early cars up to SALLNABA7WA600477, the first production vehicle, were used for production set-up and development testing and then destroyed by Land Rover. The first external clue to this being an early car is the black paint around the door tops. This process was stopped very early in the production build due to manufacturing costs.
Many of the pilot-production models built in 1997 (some of which became the press launch fleet in Spain) had registration numbers in the R-BDU series. Several early production Freelanders were registered by the company in the R-BAC series, and among these were the first press fleet demonstrators. There were also factory-registered Freelanders in the R-CDU sequence.
These were the first vehicles to have the new hill descent system using the ABS in reverse to have a controlled descent, which is found on all Land Rover models now. The Freelander is a capable off-roader and can hold its own on the right tyres. A batch of the early cars were even used on the famous Camel Trophy in 1998.