Thursday, 30 September 2010

Following in their tyre tracks.

It will be 70 years ago next year, that Ralph Bagnold was asked to form the Long Range Desert Group. Their forays behind enemy lines caused havoc amongst the Italian forces - blowing up airfields, destroying communication lines and knocking out remote desert outposts. They mainly used Ford and Chevrolet 30 cwt. trucks, but when David Stirling came along with his newly formed SAS, the Jeep gave them a big advantage in speed and manoeuvrability. Colossal distances were covered in heavily laden Willy’s MB’s and Ford GPW’s. Tales of heroic ‘walk outs’ are still unmatched today. Next Easter we shall be driving many of their routes - down to The Gilf el Kebir, 8 Bells, up to Shaw’s Cave, Big Cairn and finally, their base for much of the conflict, Siwa.

Full details will be on our web site, going live by mid October.

Link for the day!

Monday, 27 September 2010

Leaps and Bounds.

Back in September 2007 I detailed the rebuild of the first Jeep on the Blog, ‘1943 Jeep Rebuild’. (Scroll down to the bottom) That Jeep has now clocked up a trouble free 1500 miles and after a very small list of snagging problems have been sorted out, will be ready for it’s big Egyptian challenge.
The second Jeep rebuild will be detailed here, but not in so much detail, as it is much the same story.
Progress is going well, and on schedule for a completion at the end of October, or beginning of November. So far all the brakes and wheel bearing have been rebuilt with new parts and the floor of the body tub has been repaired with panels supplied by Jeeparts in Shrewsbury. The rolling chassis has now been painted in Desert Sand and the next stage will be fitting the body tub. The engine was a runner and we had an amusing run up and down the farm track with no brakes and little in the way of steering! It has now been fitted with a new clutch assembly and water pump and we shall reassess the engine condition when it’s easier to drive.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

A Grand Plan

Four of us - Myself, John Carroll, Sam Watson and Mahmoud Marai, have long harboured the dream of driving authentic World War 2 Jeeps across the Sahara, following the routes taken by The Long Range Desert Group. With the first Jeep finished and having clocked up 1500 trouble free miles and the second nearing completion in the Matt Savage Overland Preparation Barn, plans are going well for this unique adventure next Easter . Many e-mails have been exchanged, but with John and Sam up in Yorkshire, me in Leicester and Mahmoud in Cairo, the opportunities to meet up are rare.
This month, Matt had a stall at the Peterborough Land Rover Show and us three Brits were all going, so as the show drifted from shopping to partying we met in Matt’s marquee for a barbecue (hence the smokey picture) and a chat to finalise plans.
This Blog will detail the build up to our Easter 2011 departure.
The main photo is a montage of the one finished Jeep, duplicated and set against a background of the Gilf el Kebir, shot back in 2004 on my last visit. The second shot is the four of us Brits - left to right, Matt Savage, in charge of Jeep rebuilds and helping me get both Jeeps to Venice to catch the ferry to Alexandria, Sam Watson, ex Cairo resident and expert of the Long Range Desert Group, John Carroll, life long Jeep enthusiast who has driven more Jeep miles, in more countries, than most and me, enjoying a beer!