It’s often been said that at the end of time there will be just two things standing, Cockroaches and an old Range Rover, and you know what? That’s probably not that far from the truth as Range Rovers, and Cockroaches for that matter, were always built to last. News then that a 1973 Range Rover driven on an epic 14,000-mile, five-month expedition from Johannesburg to Somerset is on-sale now at JD Classics was not so much of a surprise more a heartwarming ode to the longevity that was built into these old classics right from the word go.
JD Classics have explained to MotorMartin that the trip was undertaken by ex-ITN Chief Foreign Correspondent, Michael Nicholson in 1981 and that this Range Rover has survived the Nyaki Mountains in Malawi and elephants in Dar es Salaam – all chronicled in Nicholson’s book Across the Limpopo.
Nicholson was sold the Range Rover by its first owner, none other than Le Mans-winning racing driver Duncan Hamilton, who specified it in Lincoln Green with a Palomino interior and a number of factory options. Full leather upholstery and a Webasto sunroof were both fitted as extras by Nicholson who bought the car in 1976, before shipping it to Johannesburg where he was working as ITN’s Chief Foreign Correspondent.
After four years of daily use in South Africa, Nicholson was due to head back to England but couldn’t face the thought of simply waking up in the UK the next day. Instead of the 16-hour flight, he packed his family and their belongings into his Range Rover and set off for home. Incredible.
From South Africa, Nicholson headed through Zambia to the Nyika Plateau of Malawi, where he camped fearing for his family’s safety, staying up all night with a machete at hand. The Range Rover took them through Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Conversation Area, where they travelled side-by-side with wild rhinoceros, and saw them through dangerous encounters with bull elephants in Dar es Salaam.
Nicholson’s unstoppable Range Rover then crossed the Serengetti to Kenya, where it had to tackle the Weiwei Drift, a series of boggy washed away bridges where the average speed was 2.5 hours per mile.
Following its final route through Egypt, Sudan, Greece and the rest of Europe to the UK, the car was dry stored for many years. Recently it was subjected to a comprehensive bare shell restoration, completed by Range Rover specialists Bishops 4×4.
JD Classics Managing Director, Derek Hood, shared with MotorMartin that: “The classic Range Rover market is hugely popular at the moment, and this is a wonderful opportunity to own a very special part of it. From its Le Mans-winning racing owner to its incredible journey through Africa – chronicled in a book and many photographs accompanying the car – this Range Rover has perfect provenance. Add to that the recent impeccable restoration, and it’s easy to see why this Range Rover is perhaps the most desirable on the market today.”
Not just your average Range Rover.
Where will you go?