The Land Rovers

The Land Rovers amongst some palm treesThe two boys posing in some palms, Pakistan
We carried out the expedition in two Land Rovers - one was an ex-army 1972 Series III Lightweight which was already owned by Adam. The second, a 1966 Series IIa was bought by me specifically for the trip and both were subjected to full chassis-up and engine rebuilds by the team and friends.

Although the IIa was bought with a BMC engine, the previous owner had also thrown in a second Land Rover for parts, and we used the 2.25 diesel from this which matched the engine in the Lightweight.

Both were fitted with second fuel tanks and eight jerry-cans, giving a range of around 1000 miles, as well as Fairey overdrives, electric cooling fans, roll-cages, spare wheels, light meshes and various other essentials.

Crowds around the Land Rovers in IndiaStopping for repairs always meant crowds in India

We planned on sleeping in the cars for the majority of the trip, so made a few cunning conversions to make this possible. Firstly, we fitted a wooden shelf coming up to just behind the top of the seats.

These we replaced with 3 hand-made cushions each which later became a 'mattress' on the wooden board. Each of the three seats also had a vaguely cube-shaped box behind them during the day. These contained all of our non-car related personal belongings, essentially some clothes and washing gear. With the cushion-seats out of the way, these boxes were pulled forward, turned over and used to fill the space left by the removal of the seats. The steering wheels were both converted to allow for relatively easy removal each night, and so the wooden shelf and boxes reached almost to the dashboard.

The cushions were then placed along the length of the 'bed' and hey presto! We had also fitted storage space hung under the roll-cage, so the 3-man bed was actually on 18 inches or so deep. We were initially worried about it being a bit claustrophobic, especially for the person trapped in the middle, but in reality we were so exhausted for the first week or so of travelling that by the time any of us were capable of staying awake for more than a few minutes we'd got well used to it!

The Land Rovers just outside of Vienna'Resting' just short of Vienna on the return trip

We usually slept with our heads at the front so that we could make use of the windows for light and air, but in some of the hotter countries we'd switch round and leave the canvas open at the back. I think the only time we tried sleeping with the canvas fully open was on a very balmy night in India which rapidly became a torrentially wet night, and we never tried it again!

We also took tents which were only used very rarely, and ex-army GoreTex bivvy bags which we used to sleep out in the desert in Iran. I can't ever remember a more peaceful and refreshing night's sleep...

I shall add more details about the car's preparation soon, and possibly more about day-to-day routine too.