4 years ago

Onelife 25

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Look back at the birth of the original Land Rover | How Land Rover has driven adventure and scientific exploration | GQ Editor Dylan Jones talks inspiration with Chief Design Officer Gerry McGovern | Exploring the potential impact of electrification and connected vehicles | Tackling the 999 steep steps up to Heaven’s Gate in China


WORLD OF ADVENTURE 01 02 03 “EXPEDITIONS HELP ADDRESS PROBLEMS IF THEY’RE CONSIDERED PLATFORMS FOR BROADER PROJECTS, WHICH IS WHAT THE RGS LAND ROVER BURSARY HAS ALWAYS BEEN ABOUT” TOM ALLEN, RGS LAND ROVER BURSARY WINNER 01 Former Land Rover principle designer Peter Crowley was part of the 1998 Fifty 50 Challenge that had support from a military-spec Defender nicknamed ‘Goldilocks’ 02 2016 RGS Land Rover Bursary winner Tom Allen used a modified Defender to explore a proposed Transcaucasian Trail route 03 The Camel Trophy in the Amazon during 1989 proved no problem for brothers and farmers Bob and Joe Ives way with a few words of advice for the expedition team before they left: “If you have nothing else to do, then boil water.” The rest, as they say, is history. LEGENDS REUNITED Sixty-three years later, Onelife has organized a truly unique gathering at Eastnor Castle, Ledbury, Herefordshire. An unusually heavy fall of snow has transformed the landscape into a stunning winter backdrop – and no better location to talk adventure. Eastnor has been home to generations of Land Rover development engineers ever since owner Benjamin Hervey-Bathurst invited the company to test the prototype Range Rover in the late 1960s on its extensive number of varied and grueling off-road tracks. Here today, a visibly moved Tim Slessor has been reunited with one of the two Series I Land Rover vehicles used by the legendary expedition – SNX 891, otherwise known as ‘Oxford.’ The vehicles had been named ‘Oxford’ and ‘Cambridge’ by the team and painted dark and light blue to match the universities’ respective colors. Little of that original color has survived the ravages of time, but that the vehicle survives at all is down to a bit of luck and the investigative efforts and dedication of enthusiasts Peter Galilee and Adam Bennett. They found the chassis of ‘Oxford’ buried and the other parts scattered around the remote island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic. Sister car ‘Cambridge,’ registration SNX 761, remains undiscovered, believed to have ended its days down a ravine in Iran. First Overland has provided inspiration to countless expeditions and adventures throughout the decades involving Series Land Rover vehicles and Defender vehicles. In a nod to this, Onelife’s select gathering at Eastnor also featured the 1989 Camel Trophy-winning 110, owned and driven by brothers Bob and Joe Ives, as well as a military-spec ‘Wolf’ Defender 110 that supported the Fifty 50 Challenge in 1998. This raised money for charity UNICEF while celebrating Land Rover’s 50th anniversary by visiting 56 countries in 50 days. MODERN LEGACY An ongoing scientific legacy of First Overland is also very much alive, as promoted by the London-based Royal Geographical Society (RGS). Land Rover has supported the RGS’s work both in fieldwork and expeditions for more than 25 years – the Land Rover Bursary Award provides funding and a vehicle. The 2016 bursary winner Tom Allen is currently using a Defender 110 on the Transcaucasian Expedition to explore and map a route for the Transcaucasian Trail, a proposed long-distance trekking route that would follow the Greater and Lesser Caucasus mountains. Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations adapted the vehicle to suit the expedition team’s requirements, providing it with 1,000 W of usable power, three times more than an average Defender, a plethora of selfrecovery aids and even a drone-landing platform. In the field the expedition has mapped in detail approximately 60 percent of a viable route the length of the Lesser Caucasus, as well as gathering extensive data that would support the implementation of that trail. Asked about the changing nature of adventure, Tom Allen says: “Defining adventure as a journey of discovery is too narrow. The challenges faced by a great proportion of people on Earth remain real and immediate. Expeditions help address some of these problems if they‘re considered platforms for broader projects, which is what the RGS Land Rover Bursary has always been about. Our project is niche – but it‘s an example of the kind of issues that expeditions can tackle today, which might not be immediately obvious on a global scale, but still matter on a local level. “We should continue to encourage those armed with the knowledge and determination to tackle issues to leave their offices and seek them out on the ground, where they are real and tangible. To me, that‘s what the future of expeditions is about.” Perhaps some things don’t change after all. PHOTOGRAPHY: ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY (1) 32

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Land Rover Magazine 39


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