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Making the Range Rover Legend (Paperback)

The 1971–72 British Trans-Americas Expedition

British History Transport Cars 19th Century

By John Carroll
Imprint: Key Publishing
Pages: 128
Illustrations: Approx. 170
ISBN: 9781913870300
Published: 30th June 2022


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At the bidding of a London-based committee, a team from the British Army undertook the challenge of driving the Pan-American Highway in its entirety from Alaska to Tierra Del Fuego. This would include finding a route for the projected road through Darién in Panama by crossing the notorious Darién Gap. The Gap was approximately 200 miles long in Panama and northern Colombia and was the missing link in the intercontinental highway’s entire length. It would take almost 100 days of concerted effort for the British Trans-America Expedition to drive, winch and float two Range Rovers through this trackless jungle terrain. The British Trans-America Expedition of 1971/72 wasn’t the first to cross the Darién Gap with vehicles as it followed in the wake of expeditions in 1960 and 1961 that variously used a Land Rover, a Jeep pick-up and Chevrolet Corvair cars. However, its Range Rovers were the first vehicles to cover the whole distance from Alaska to the southern tip of Argentina, a journey that has become legendary and did much to forge the legend of the Range Rover SUV, which was unveiled just a year before the expedition took place. This book looks at the history of the Darién region and the expeditions of 1960 and 1961 that set the scene for the epic 100 days of Darién a decade later. It contains reminiscences and anecdotes from eight members of the expedition – six soldiers and two Rover Company engineers – as well as previously unpublished photographs, decorative maps and commemorative postal covers.

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About John Carroll

John Carroll has been a full-time motoring journalist since 1989 and has worked on numerous magazines in that time, including spells editing Windscreen (the magazine of the Military Vehicle Trust) and Classic Military Vehicle magazines. He was also the editor of Classic Land Rover Magazine for many years. He is a widely published author with more than 20 automotive books to his credit. He bought his second Land Rover, a 1957 Series One 88in that required a full rebuild, for £300 in 1989 and still has it. It has now been joined by a 1953 80in, which also cost £300 and needed a full rebuild. John says he cannot put a price on the fun and numerous experiences that these two old Land Rovers have brought him.

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