Jan 15th - Westminster Bridge - London

Mud were at Number 1 in the singles charts with 'Lonely this Christmas', Ralph McTell was pushing at the top spot with 'Streets of
London' at Number 2. President Ford and Secretary Kissinger have said that in case of strangulation of the West by oil producers, they would use military force and the Viet Nam war was over. China officially adopts a new constitution and Margaret Thatcher was only a couple of weeks off becoming the first woman to lead a UK political party, The rest, as they say, is history.
Back in London, Ralph McTells streets were the host of another historical event. On the 15th January 1975 The British Joint Services Expedition led by Squadron Leader Tom Sheppard set off across Westminster Bridge to mark the official start of the "West East Sahara Expedition".
The vehicles were four of the new 101 Military 1 Tonne Forward Control Land Rovers specifically modified both at Rover in the Solihull works and then by the RAF at Uxbridge. The lead vehicle (60 FL 38) was the very first production model off the line. The other three (76 FL 64, 76 FL 65 and 76 FL 66) were fitted with the optional trailer drive. All were fitted with Michelin 900x16 XS tyres.
This was the very first time the 1 Tonne was to be seriously tested. Not a dry run over Salisbury Plain, no rolling roads, concrete blocks or drop tests could prepare either vehicles or team for what was to be an incredible and outstanding adventure.
On 26th January they left Dakar carrying 900 Gallons of fuel and 340 Gallons of water. Average load per vehicle was 2,553lbs, 43lbs over their original assesment of capacity. Team members were allowed a 50lb personal kit allowance. The expedition took 100 days, covered 7,494 miles with 288 navigational stops, 609 gravitational readings, Geophysical, Geological and zoological studies (including analysis of the life cycle of the Bilharzia Blood Fluke). The team survived on a mere 4,000 cups of tea!
Weepages and seepages from, amongst others, steering box, swivel pin housing seals, bell housing drain hole, gearbox and transfer box together with engines overheating, problems with black plastic swarf in the carburettors and a number of loose bolts were to set the scene for what has become a 30 year love-hate relationship with what, notwithstanding, is surely the finest of the superb range of products to emerge from Lode Lane. Incredibly, their 101s only needed one oil change, in Nigeria.
Due to organisational logistics the team postponed their Christmas until the 13th of February.
Many will have seen Pete Bradys quite superb film: The Widest Beach in the World (shameless plug, this is available on the copy of the 101 Club Video). Carefully documenting the journey, Ive been showing this film on my wide screen field cinema on the club stand for the last couple of years during various shows. No matter how many times I see it, it continues to capture my attention and I can always guarantee an assembled audience of young and old, in all weather, glued to the screen.
To celebrate and mark the expedition, a few members intend to informally gather on the 15th of January in London and drive across Westminster Bridge (being a Saturday the congestion charge does not apply). A further informal event the 101 Christmas Dinner, obviously to be held on the 13th of February (if possible, duplicating the original fare) has also been suggested. If any member would like to join us for either event, please contact me directly for arrangements on 0114 255 4101 or by email.
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Mother wrote:

...being on LPG, we could do it on a Friday morning and really upset Red Ken.
Steve
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On Tue, 04 Jan 2005 16:53:03 +0000, Steve Taylor

I'm living in sincere hope that the event doesn't upset _anyone_.
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we tried to avoid congestion in our 95 LPG Discovery but were told we gotta pay as its not an 'approved vehicle' while the series 2 Discovery is!

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In 1973 when Larry's landie was new, he was just about legally able to drive but his first encounter with a motor was a year or two off (lambretta scooters)
I think Ted Heath was still in power three day week and all that, and Larry had flared trousers (aaaaargh)
Well was that the year the Wicker Man came out on the big screen or was it 74, any way I saw it.
Do what you will on the 15th but unfortunatly I have to be in London on official business and will use the train, cos there aint no where to park my landie, and the hotel I usually stay at has a height limit.
Anyway 101's or whatever, they ain't series 3's and series 3's aint series ones and 88 inches aint 80's but nobody dare say that 80's aint a jeep :)
--
Larry
Series 3 rust and holes
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Didn't they use series 3 landrovers first to test part of the route? Adrian Ford

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On Tue, 4 Jan 2005 11:44:30 -0000, "Adrian Ford"
Ooohh.... Bin doing some 'omework? :-)
They did use Series 2 landies to conduct some measurements on the reccie from Dakar, and Series 3s whilst in Egypt. The 101s were the only vehicle to ever have managed the trip* 'as they did it', which, obviously (as they were 101s), went the slightly longer way about it.
* This still stands true. It would be impossible to duplicate the expedition these days, sadly, as one would almost certainly never return alive.
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wrote:

And sandals I hope?

Classic, timeless, many a wasted thought etc...

So, see you on Westminster Bridge at around Noon then Larry :-)
Everyone welcome - a 101's a bonus, but not mandatory.
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