Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Africa Overland in a 1950's Kombi

Through the Sahara - in a 1950s Kombi
February 1960 - A  1957 VW Kombi, loaded with three people (Raymond, Mary & Ivor), depart Bulawayo heading North to London...
More than fifty years ago, two brothers living in what was Southern Rhodesia planned a trip to London. They bought a Kombi, fitted a roof rack, bed and a Primus to it and drove straight across Africa. In the Sahara, they got stuck more times than they could count, Drive Out reader Ivor Wiid writes: Through the Sahara (originally published on Drive Out)
At the Victoria Falls, they met up with two gentlemen driving a Mercedes Benz 180D North from South Africa.  They agree to meet up in Kano, Nigeria to transit North Africa.




Barely an hour after we had left In Guezzam, the driver of the Mercedes-Benz got stuck in the sand. While he was trying to rock the car, he selected reverse too quickly and the gearbox got stuck in reverse. Try as we might, we couldn’t get it out of gear.
We had no option but to remove and strip the gearbox - right there in the Sahara.
All we had apart from a toolkit were standard car jacks and one solitary inspection light. (Apart from that, our other equipment and parts included sand mats, spades, ropes, water hoses, spark plugs and a 6-volt coil. We did have spare engine oil.)
We heaped sand next to the Mercedes, pushed it onto its side onto the sand heap, and steadied the vehicle with the jacks.

You will have to read the rest of the article on the WegRy website: Through the Sahara - in a 1950s Kombi

Additional Reading:
Africa Overland in a Land Rover Series I (1960)
Additional trip from the 1950's

Postscript:
The author of the above WegRy article mentions meeting American's  in a Jeep Forward Control:
Once while we were digging ourselves out, we heard a far-off droning. We could still hear it the next time we got stuck. The third time we got stuck, we saw a red speck on the horizon. By the fourth time we were stuck, the vehicle arrived - a Forward Control 4x4 Jeep with a group of American friends on board. They pulled us out of the sand with their winch before continuing their trip.
It might have looked something like this: