Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Land Rover Series I Expedition Vehicles

Land Rover Series 1 Advert
Land Rover entered production of the Series I vehicle in 1948.  Since that day the Land Rover has evolved into the most seen and respected expedition vehicle.  Additional information on the Series I can be found on the wikipedia website: Land Rover Series 1

In this blog post I attempt to trace early Land Rover Expeditions which have used the trusty Series 1 as the vehicle of choice.  I have also linked to a few videos and old Land Rover adverts

First up, the very well known and published trip 'First Overland'.
There is not much that needs to be written about this trip as it has been well publicised. A book, DVD and Audio book is available to purchase.
First Overland Team posing with the Land Rover's

A video, commentated by Sir David Attenborough is available:

De Londres à Singapour en Land Rover
Uploaded by Birmabright. - Car, truck, and motorcycle videos.

A DVD has been made of the movie and can be purchased via this website:
First Overland DVD Cover
Additional video clips can be viewed via these two links:
Part 1
Part 2

Earth, my Friend:
Next, a book by Group Captain Peter Townsend, written after his 1956 around the world trip (57000miles). Earth, My Friend - Peter Townsend's Personal Story of His Journey Around the World
An extract of his book from chapter one - By Road to Singapore, pg27
I come last to the car, not because it was the last question I decided one - it was one of the first - but because, having broadly considered the other aspects of the journey, I have now only to discuss the car, get into it and set off.
I at first rather vainly imagined that I could make the journey in a more or less ordinary saloon car, but my friends who had driven to India and beyond quickly dispelled any such illusion, insisting that if I really meant to go alone it must be in a vehicle with four-wheel drive, or nothing. One or two of them were a little more emphatic than I liked on the second alternative. There were four or five makes of four-wheel drive car, both English and foreign, to choose from. Without going any further into the matter, I think I can say that a Land Rover was the natural and obvious choice. For nearly a decade it had proved itself a successful cross-country vehicle; of equal importance to me, it was in use in almost every country through which I should be passing and I could thus depend on the spares and service organisation. It was clear that my own car would have to under-go the most brutal treatment over much of the journey, and maintenance was a fundamental consideration. The main draw-back to a vehicle of this kind was its comparatively low cruising speed; there was probably no road too bad for it, but it would be at a disadvantage on the good ones, at least as far as speed was concerned. As it turned out I soon became accustomed to a cruising speed of 45 m.p.h. 
So I bought a Land Rover. There was never any question of the manufacturers, or anyone else, financing or organising the journey. The car belonged to me, I paid my own way and was free to go wherever I liked. Nevertheless the Company did loan me some items of special equipment, such as the drum winch it had already been used by one of the Oxford and Cambridge Far East Expedition cars. 
The Company were also kind enough to let me attend a short technical course at the factory, where I received a great deal of invaluable advice, much of it gathered from the numerous expeditions which had used their cars. The advice I received in my preparations for the journey was too much and too varied to mention in detail; when asked for, it was freely given, and I felt deeply grateful for it. Much of it, I am bound to say, was unasked for and some of it was hardly material to the success of the enterprise. 
One gentleman, for instance, wrote and offered his motor caravan for sale; it weighed three and a half tons and was fitted with hot and cold running water and modern conveniences. But I hardly saw myself creeping through the Burmese jungle or cresting the 14,000-foot passes of the Andes in such a vehicle. A middle-aged lady was but one of many who offered to accompany me she would willingly sleep in the car, she said. But to her kind offer I could not agree; I wanted to sleep in the car myself.

Group Captain Peter Townsend - overland route

The authors Trans-Africa Route

Bwana Game
And not to forgot George Adamson and his book 'Bwana Game' ( Bwana Game).  This trip from Nairobi to London (via Congo, Nigeria and Algeria) took place in 1953 (departing Nairobi on 21st March).

In more recent years:

A few Land Rover Series I adverts:

YouTube video showing the various Land Rover Series I scenes from the movie 'The Gods must be Crazy':

Additional links:
Expedition Land Rovers through the generations
1950's Land Rover Expeditions
1960's Expeditions
LR Mad




  1. Great to walk down the history with land Rover.They are real kings in the history of time.They are dependable and sturdy and almost vintage.

  2. My uncle had a land rover when I was a boy and it spurred me to set up I would be happy to do a link exchange to give our communities twice the info on over landing, camping and land rovers!

    Thanks for the blog

  3. Hi,
    Thank you for this great post with good pictures, content and video.
    Keep it up


Comments always welcome...