In the footsteps of great explorers

Why do we love the new Defender?

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Land Rover is preparing a surprise for the American fans of the brand. An ultra limited edition of only 220 Land Rover Defender Trophy Editions will be manufactured to honour past Camel Trophy Land Rovers.

 The limited edition inspired by the Sandglow Yellow colored classic off-road challenge cars that competed between 1980 and 2000.

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It’s not only the color, but the cars’ special equipment that define Camel Trophy for two decades. The vehicles were heavily modified by Land Rover Special Vehicles with a range of expedition, recovery, and safety equipment. A few examples: 

  • Safety Devices roll cages
  • Under body protection and steering guards
  • Modified electrical systems
  • Winches
  • Tow hitches
  • Upgraded suspension and transmission components
  • Bull bars and bush wires…
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…and snorkels.

These special equipments were absolutely needed, for the Camel Trophy pitted man and machine against the toughest terrains on Earth, providing the ultimate test of endurance.

Throughout the history of the Camel Trophy, Range Rovers and Land Rover Discoverys have been racing, but there were six Trophy years when the international teams joined in with classic models as well.

1983  Zaire           Land Rover Series III 88″        

1984  Brazil          Land Rover 110   

1985  Borneo        Land Rover 90     

1986  Australia     Land Rover 90

1988  Sulawesi     Land Rover 110   

1989  Brazil          Land Rover 110


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Generally speaking, except for support and specialist vehicles, the Land Rovers were only used for one event. Some competitors purchased their vehicles and many remained in the host country. Consequently, those vehicles that returned to the United Kingdom were highly sought after. Although they were low mileage – but they were „Camel Trophy miles”.

They were stripped of most of their equipment by Land Rover before they were released, and restoring the vehicles to their original condition is expensive and time-consuming.

By the late 80s the Camel Trophy had become quite a big deal; in 1989 over a million would-be explorers applied for positions to represent their countries in one of the most demanding challenges on Earth.

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The applicants were people who wanted to go the distance, fighting the forces of nature and the most extreme conditions in the footsteps of great explorers.

But the Trophy was no simple long-distance drive; with all-amateur teams crossing some of the most inhospitable terrain on Earth, testing not only driving skill but mental and physical endurance as well.

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Averaging four hours sleep per night, which was almost nothing, considering that the teams had to drive over vast areas never before crossed by cars.

Throughout the years, the Camel Trophy visited Borneo, Siberia, Mongolia and several South-African locations, which needless to say brought a huge marketing success for Land Rover.

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The world has seen countless pictures as Sanglow Yellow English off-road vehicles fighting their way through the dunes in deserts or malaria-ridden rainforests.

No one needed proof that the Land Rovers were fit for these tasks.



Peter Faidt

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