Friday, February 10, 2012

1953: Heading South & Heading North

In 1953, two Land Rover Series I vehicles completed a trans-Africa overland journey.  The LR Series I was only 5 years old and had recently had a major upgrade:
In 1952, it was decided to have the four wheel drive engage automatically when the low gear range is selected. This was performed with a simple dog clutch mechanism that would be used on all later Series Land Rovers. The gear box was also slightly re-designed to handle the more powerful 2 litre engine that was introduced at the same time. Source: LR History
Heading South
The Beak Family
The Beak Family - 1953
The Beak family (The Great 1953 Trek) departed the UK on the 22nd January 1953 and arrived in Rhodesia on 15th March 1953. Their daughter, Diane Stuckey, has managed to find archive photos and diary logs from their trip so worth visiting the website and reading about the family.

Heading North
George and Joy Adamson
George and Joy Adamson - Land Rover Series I - 1953
The couple left Nairobi on the 21ar March 1953 and traveled through Uganda, French Equatoria (now DRC, CAR & Cameroon), Nigeria, Algeria and eventually into Europe.  Here are a few interesting extracts from the book:
We were strongly advised not to take a trailer and warned that if we did, it would certainly have to be abandoned in the sands of the Sahara.  Although I have no love for trailers, I had had plenty of experience with them under desert conditions and felt confident of getting through.  In the event it turned out that the trailer was an infernal nuisance, not because any difficulties in negotiating the desert, but owing to broken springs, burst tyres, a broken coupling and the trouble of parking it when passing through cities.
Joy Adamson - 1953
 The drive through the Congo and part of French Equatorial Africa tended to become monotonous as the practically the whole of our route ran through the vast Equatorial forest where visibility was limited to the road ahead and a few yards on either side, only occasionally relieved by rivers. These we had to cross by ferries, some powered, others, which consisted of dug-out canoes with a platform lashed across, driven by a team of paddlers. Source: Bwana Game by George Adamson

Land Rover continued to expand its global reach and so continued people's enthusiasm to drive overland around the globe.

Additional Reading:
Expedition Land Rovers through the generations
1955 - UK to Singapore (First Overland)
1956 - Two Overland Expeditions
1959 - Cape Town to Cairo

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