Bob Marley's 1977 Series III receives a makeover courtesy of Sandals Resorts.
The vehicle that once belonged to the musician whose fame is in part attributable to his reggae classic Redemption Song has seen considerable redemption itself.
Jamaica-based Sandals Resorts International took the 1977 Series III Land Rover that reggae icon Bob Marley once travelled around Jamaica in, undertaking the restoration of what had become a dilapidated vehicle sitting unused in Marley's one-time home, into one that's now viewed by tens of thousands of people annually during visits to a facility that chronicles the life of the musical legend.
The vehicle had fallen into such disrepair that Sandals chairman Butch Stewart has publicly conceded that there was a time when he would have attached little if any value to a vehicle coated “with nothing but cobwebs. It really was junk. If it had been in my garage, I would have thrown it out [if it hadn't belonged to a household name].”
But Caribbean tourism powerhouse Sandals – in a goodwill gesture to its Jamaican home base, where Marley is lionized – decided instead to acquire and restore the Land Rover as part of a tribute to what would have been Marley's 70th birthday. Work saw the vehicle disassembled and then put back together, often with parts gathered from as far afield
Marley's daughter Cedella, a prominent Jamaican fashion designer, designed a new interior, and in a nod to her father's Rastafarian faith, opted for seats that sport the red, black, gold and green Rasta colours.
The Marine Blue Land Rover is now displayed in Kingston's Bob Marley Museum.
“This is the vehicle he would have used to go to gigs – driving it around Jamaica with his gear in the back,” says Sandals spokesman Stephen Hector, who states that the Land Rover is “easily the most famous vehicle in Jamaica”.
“It's not refurbished to brand-new. It's refurbished to how it was when he was driving it.”
The vehicle is now carried on a flatbed truck when it travels outside of Kingston for promotions, although Sandals CEO Adam Stewart – a self-confessed Land Rover enthusiast – says it “would be great to drive. It was Bob Marley's prized possession after all.
“There are exotic vehicles in Jamaica but that's the most iconic,” he continues. “In terms of legacy and history, there's nothing like it.”