Just in time for what would have been his 67th Birthday
Bob Marley is a musical icon known all across the globe. Like most posthumous celebrities, the relics of Bob’s life that endure after him have been lifted up to almost sacred heights and are carefully taken care of. This is no less true for Bob’s 1977 Series III Land Rover Defender.
The Rover is arguably one of the world’s most iconic vehicles lasting until today. Following Bob’s death, in 1981, the famous vehicle had fallen into a state of disrepair. At present, the car is in a less than desirable, run-down state and in desperate need of repair. To this end, Caribbean hotel group, Sandals Resorts International, has announced a renovation project on the vehicle.
Marley’s 67th Birthday would have been February 6, 2013. Incidentally, restoration work has begun on the vehicle less than a month away from what would have been Bob’s 67th birthday. Before this, the van had been on display for several years in Bob’s home-turned-museum, the Bob Marley Museum, located at 56 Hope Road in Kingston.
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Memories of the Rover
In the Rover’s heyday, Marley was regularly seen driving around the streets of Kingston, using it to transport his famous band, The Wailers, and their equipment to gigs throughout Jamaica. Julian Marley, international musical star and Bob Marley’s son recalled fond memories of the vehicle, “I have always loved my father’s Land Rover and I remember driving in it from where my family lived, to nearby Hope Road and from Kingston to Nine Miles, St Ann (in North Eastern Jamaica) where my father was born” Julian said. He continued, “I love what the team is doing and would love to take the refurbished Land Rover for a test drive when it returns home.”
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Under Sandals Resorts’ direction, the vehicle will be remodelled by ATL Automotive (Sandal’s Jamaica-based sister company). According to another of Bob’s son, Rohan Marley, “We are very happy with the work that has transpired so far in restoring our dad’s car to its original condition. It has been a very technical process to locate all the parts from various countries, including an original 1977 engine from Ethiopia. We look forward to completing this project with the ATL Group in early 2013.”
The company has begun the scheduled two month long project by carefully dismantling the vehicle piece-by-piece before completely restoring its chassis to full working condition. The Land Rover’s body panels will be replaced as well as a complete electrical rewiring and replacing of electrical components throughout. Marley’s Land Rover will also receive a replacement engine chosen from an African-based military vehicle that perfectly matched the engine of the original vehicle.
The vehicle’s interior will undergo complete re-upholstering, an element of the project, undertaken by Marley’s first born daughter and internationally acclaimed fashion designer and musician, Cedella Marley. Cedella was recently credited worldwide for designing the Jamaican Olympic Team uniform worn by record-breaking athletes Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake at the London Olympics earlier this year. The renovation project is expected to be completed by January 2013 and will return to the public eye in The Bob Marley Museum, Kingston, Jamaica.
Returning the Rover to its former glory is an extraordinary feat, not simply because it is one of the most famous vehicles in automotive history, but because of what it represents. Marley has inspired the world through his music, as such, it is only right to ensure his legacy continues to inspire for many years to come.
By Norvan Martin