Friday, November 30, 2012

Anatomy of a Land Rover Defender 110 200Tdi

Anatomy of a Land Rover Defender
Choosing your vehicle for your overland adventure is probably the hardest decision you will make... If you opt for a Land Rover Defender, you will be choosing a vehicle that has completed the majority of Trans-Africa journeys and has every accessory you could possible need (and want).

The 'Anatomy of a overland vehicle' series was started by Nick Bradshaw and detailed the various modifications he did to his Defender 300Tdi before and after his epic Trans-Africa adventure.
Be sure to read his post via the Langebaan Sunset blog. My previous blog entry detailed the anatomy of a 1968 Land Rover Series II 109" which I purchased in 1999 and spent a few months driving around Southern Africa.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Anatomy of a Land Rover Series II

When last did you drive a Land Rover Series?  Did you dream of driving a Series through the African veld, the front air vents fully extended in the hope of getting fresh air into the vehicle?
Did the smell of EP90 gearbox oil make you look at the complex, yet simple, gear lever combinations and wonder if you were leaving an oil stain behind?
Land Rover Series II 109"

My first drive in a Land Rover Series was the day I offered to buy a 1968 Series II 2.286L diesel.  She was named Jaboa (after the previous owners: Jenny and Brian's overland adventure) and was perfectly modified for expedition travel.  Her steering wheel wobbled in my sweaty hands as I drove her North from Johannesburg.  Traffic congested behind me as I double-clutched in an attempt to select the right gear for the smooth but hilly motorway.  The radio, mounted on a wooden roof console, struggled to be heard over the clatter of the diesel engine. The Fairey overdrive required a punching action on the gear lever to get it to engage and would squeal brutally under load.  Equally, the brake pedal required a strong shove to pump enough brake fluid through the pipes to engage the ancient drum brakes.  Sounds tough, but it was a pure pleasure!

I spent the next few months in 1999 driving around Southern Africa, mostly in silence, as it was difficult to keep shouting to my passenger, over the racket of the gearbox and engine!  She was renamed to 'Mrs Golly' for Grand-Old-Lady, as she had a fine presence about her which attracted many admirers, and a few detractors who voiced their opinion about Land Rover.   You can read all about my first overland adventure in this very amateur blog, which I created in 1999 (with very low resolution scanned photos): To Africa & Beyond

I have borrowed the concept of 'The Anatomy of a Land Rover' from Nick at Langebaan-Sunset blog.  His idea of labeling the external and internal features of his Land Rover Defender is a good and practical way for all overlanders to ponder what accessories we considered worthwhile.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Overland Dream

Land Rover 109 - Overland Expedition Prepared
The Overland Dream, for me, needs nurturing and feeding.  The dream needs to grow... it needs to expand... to needs to be fulfilled.  It needs to be kept inspired, kept fresh and sometimes it needs to be shared.

One way I keep my overland dream alive is to admire photos from overland-related websites.  I first started searching independent overland expedition websites in the mid 1990's.  It was an extremely slow process of attemping to search via an internet dial-up connection.  The content was hard to find, and when I did, the photos were generally scanned using a low resolution.  However tedious the process seemed, each new website was inspirational and the photos I viewed made an impression on me.  I liked the grey sketched image (on the left) but have no idea where I found it.

I used the following quote on my first overland website...

The original websites have long vanished from web servers but a few remain... Here is one of my favourite websites:
In and Out of Africa - Derek Tearne

What inspires and keeps your overland dream alive?

21-Nov-12 Postscript:
Thanks to the wonders of the internet and image search features, I found the front of the Land Rover image (above).  The Land Rover turned out to be a Series II.  Unfortunately the person who took the photo is still anonymous.

Monday, November 12, 2012

An infectious dream...

Do you recall the moment when you first had the desire to do an overland adventure?  Can you recall scanning the pages looking for a 4wd vehicle within your budget and dreaming how it would explore those remote roads whilst travelling overland?

An infectious dream...
Some say that the vehicle you drive is simply a means of transport... others say your vehicle is part of you; You give her a name ; you listen to her heartbeat and can tell when joints are creaking; Some say Land Rover's have a soul (link).

I found these photos in my archives which Colin, the owner at the time (1999), took on a  short trip to test the vehicle and equipment -he was in the planning stages and preparing for an 18-month African overland adventure.   The Defender had already completed one full trans-Africa trip and in passing to new owners, inspired new dreams...

Perhaps it's true and testament in this 1991 Land Rover Defender...

Defender fitted with Brownchurch rooftop tent and awning

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Why we own a 4wd vehicle...

Do you own a 4wd vehicle?  If you do, why do you own one? 

Andrew S. White from 4xForum offers a fabulous introduction to the reason why we enjoy owning a 4wd vehicle...

Monday, November 5, 2012

Unique vehicle: Mercedes Benz G-Wagen Camper

Wolfram & Iris
When last did you see a Mercedes Benz G-Wagen complete a trans-Africa trip?   It has certainly been years since someone drove South from Europe destined for Cape Town... until this year!

Wolfram & Iris kitted out their G-Wagen with a camper conversation.  A very neat German affair...

Their website, in German, describes the vehicle as follows:
The driving force comes from the car from the familiar 3.0 liter CDI engine class, with a capacity of 135 KW. A 5-speed automatic transmission directs the power through a propeller shaft to the transfer case. Both the transfer case and the rigid axles can be locked by pressing a button to 100%, if the terrain requires. The three differential locks are individually activated in logically predetermined order. The switching can be done while driving, so it is not necessary to stop.
Missing a wheel traction, the force is distributed to the wheels with the best grip. The Professional comes standard with anti-lock brakes (ABS), which turns off when the transfer case lock and electronic brake force distribution (EBD).
You can view the interior of the vehicle directly on their website via

A few additional photos from the website:

More G-Wagen overland trips...

Interested in more Mercedes Benz G-Wagen overland trips... watch this BBC video clip:
Gunther Holtorf
Here is a Mercedes Benz 300D which recently completed a trip:

Friday, November 2, 2012

Morocco... contrasting adverts...

Planning your trip to Morocco?  What vehicle are you opting to use?  If you have plenty of cash available, Land Rover would like you to purchase and take their new Range Rover... 

You will get the luxury of driving in refined comfort as per the video clip below...

or you can take your current Land Rover and head along more unusual pistes as per the DVD created by RoamingYak:


Regardless what vehicle you opt for, I suggest that if you live in Europe, that Morocco must be on your list of countries to visit... start by booking the ferry!