In 1986, the Channel Tunnel was soon to be built, linking the UK with mainland Europe. In theory, it would now be possible to drive from the UK, all the way to New York, effectively around the world overland. The sticking point would be the Bering Strait, but if a vehicle could cross the sea ice, it would be possible to cross from Russia to Alaska. The concept of a TransGlobal Expedition was born.
Fast forward 10 years, and multiple failed attempts at the route. Sir Ranulph Fiennes, the worlds greatest living explorer, took on the challenge, and together with his team, approached Land Rover for sponsorship. With Land Rovers support, the team devised a set of unique and powerful vehicles, based on the military ‘Wolf XD’ platform, and modified with tracks to cover the sea ice sections. Land Rover Powered Catamarans which would cross the Strait, and begun major preparations for what was now known as the Land Rover Global Expedition. The full story can be found here. http://www.maxadventure.co.uk/land-rover-global-expedition/
For multiple reasons, the Expedition never happened, and 6 of the best expedition vehicles ever made, lay dormant for years. This is the story of the TransGlobal Wolves.
R651 BAC – The Lone Wolf
I found the Lone Wolf by accident, as I had decided to try and find a characterful Land Rover for our project, and had travelled to the Camel Trophy museum, in Shropshire to look at various restored vehicles. The Wolf was parked alongside, and when Mike Robson explained the story, and that the vehicle was on loan from the owner, I contacted him and made an offer. I did not know at the time what a great decision that turned out to be.
Following the Expedition, I kept the Wolf for many years, eventually selling to an enthusiastic new owner who restored and upgraded the vehicle considerably.
R652 BAC – Wolf 2
A few years after moving to Thailand, and having sold the Wolf, I was browsing the internet, and found R652 for sale. I contacted the owner who told me that they had to sell, as they could not import the vehicle to the country they had moved to. We agreed a deal, and only later found out that the person had moved to live 2 streets away from us, here in Thailand. I realised a year later, that I could not ask people to store the vehicle, and that with our growing family it was not the ideal expedition vehicle for children. A such, we sold this second wolf shortly afterwards.
R653 BAC – Goldmember
I believe that R653 is used a private vehicle on an estate, possibly for hunting trips. It did briefly appear on eBay, and I tried to buy it, but the auction ended early.
R654 BAC – Project Athena
This is the Expedition Athena vehicle. Kelley Shin (a double amputee) and her daughter headed out in September 2001 to raise awareness for landmine victims, the expedition was hampered by political storms after 9/11. Eventually the trip was halted by the various factors. The vehicle was then donated for use clearing mines in Bosnia. It was painted silver for the expedition, after concerns were raised over the Gold colour scheme. Eventually the vehicle made it back to the UK, and was restored by Mike Robson to its former glory. It’s new owner contacted me a few years ago, searching for info about these unique vehicles.
R655 BAC – Golden Wonder
I believe that R656 is used as a factory work vehicle at Land Rover.
R657 BAC – Land Rover Fifty50 Challenge.