The Last Overland, a team reversing the famous 1955 Oxford & Cambridge Far Eastern Expedition concluded their journey from Singapore to London last month.
The Oxford & Cambridge Far Eastern Expedition - The First Overland - made history in 1955 by being the first to drive from London to Singapore. That young team inspired generations of adventurers through their extraordinary endeavor, showing many remote corners of the world on film for the first time.
Two Land Rover 86” station wagons were loaned to the 1955 Oxford & Cambridge Far Eastern Expedition: ‘Oxford’ & ‘Cambridge’. The car being used for The Last Overland was dubbed 'Oxford'. After the original journey was complete, the car ended up on remote Saint Helena in the mid-Atlantic. As time progressed, most of 'Oxford' was dismantled and left rest to rust, but in 2017 a determined Yorkshireman - Adam Bennett - recovered, refurbished and brought back to life in the UK.
In recreating The First Overland, the team forged the path through some of the densest jungles, highest mountains and most arid deserts on the planet, returning the car from Singapore to London.
The modern-day expedition lasted 114 days and was supported by Land Rover on a large number of stops along the way, including the flag-off in Singapore in August and a visit to Nitra, Slovakia where the New Defender is built.
Nitra collegues welcomed the expedition team with great enthusiasm. The team were treated to tour of the new Jaguar Land Rover facility before heading off site to explore Nitra's surroundings and sample its delicious cuisine. The expedition team led a convoy of Defenders around Nitra to explore the local area, including Nitra Castle, Drazovce Church and Chateau Appony, set within the beautiful Slovakian countryside. The team commented that it was one of the best days they had experienced on the trip.
Commenting on the overall expedition, member of the expedition team, Alex recounts, “This journey has definitely been an action packed one, filled with many ups and downs, and I can’t believe how quickly the eighteen months that went into planning this journey has brought us here, all in one piece so far! We’ve managed to drive this incredible 64-year-old car once more, to so many remote and fascinating parts of the world, through tropical monsoons, -20 degrees and at more than 5000m above sea level. Oxford has taken it all in stride. From Nagaland to Tibet, from Turkmenistan to Serbia, the welcome we’ve received has been unbelievable.”
There to meet them at the finish line – just steps from the original expedition finish line in 1956 - was a New Defender 110 with specially commissioned Oxford & Cambridge Expedition livery. The new Land Rover came face-to-face with “Oxford” the 1955 Series I Land Rover which completed both the 1955 and 2019 expeditions.