Land Rover looks back on 70 years of adventure and expedition

Our video of the week is a celebration of some of the more spectacular endurance feats and races that Land Rover has been involved with during its 70-year history.

Created to mark the anniversary, the clip features several adventurers recanting their 4×4 endeavours through some of the world’s most inhospitable terrain. Tim Slessor was part of the famous Oxford and Cambridge Far Eastern Expedition that travelled from London to Singapore by road in 1955-56, a journey that had never been made before. The six-man team was supplied with two Land Rover Series 1 Station Wagons, one painted in the blue of each university. Leaving Hyde Park in September ’55, they arrived in Singapore on March 6 the following year. It’s a journey that simply couldn’t be made today given the hostilities in the Middle East and the closure of the Ledo Road between India and Myanmar.

In 1971, Gavin Thompson took part in the British Trans Americas Expedition, driving two Range Rovers from Anchorage in Alaska to Cape Horn, virtually the entire length of North and South America. The expedition included traversing the notorious Darien Gap that links Panama and Columbia. Home to political insurgents and drug runners, the dense jungle is the only break in the Pan-American Highway, and the expedition averaged just two and half miles a day when hacking its way through. According to this account of the adventure, petrol, mail and supplies were parachuted into the team by the Army Air Corps, and rafts were used to ferry the vehicles across some of the area’s more deadly swamps and rivers.

Land Rover

The Ives brothers back in their 1989 Defender to celebrate the anniversary

Lastly, we hear from Bob and Joe Ives, the brothers who formed the only UK team to ever win the Camel Trophy. Held between 1980 and 2000, the 4×4 challenge became something of a showcase for Land Rover, with the Range Rover, Discovery and Defender all featuring as the official event vehicle at various stages. In 1989, the Ives brothers tackled some of the toughest terrain that the Brazilian Amazon had to offer, spending three weeks on the go in their Defender 110.

“To this day, here we are nearly 30 years later, feeling that we are winners of the Camel Trophy,” explained Joe. “We feel very proud.”

Indeed, the pride of all the adventurers is plain to see, as is that of Land Rover in helping make these expeditions possible. It’s a fitting tribute to mark the 70th anniversary, and The Engineer wishes Land Rover many happy returns.