In 1955, two Land Rovers with six college students left London to see if they could trek all the way to Singapore. Officially, the adventure was tagged “The Oxford and Cambridge Far Eastern Expedition”, but eventually it became known simply as First Overland.
The two Series I Land Rovers were christened “Cambridge” and “Oxford”, with one painted the light blue of Cambridge and the other the darker blue of Oxford. The six adventurers and their Rovers, were helped out by a young BBC producer by the name of David Attenborough. Attenborough supplied the film that would document the expedition.
After successfully driving to Singapore, the young men returned home in 1956, and the footage was turned into a documentary film. Tim Slessor would write the now iconic expedition story: “First Overland”. The Land Rovers, however, would follow a different road.
Cambridge found its way to Iran a few years after First Overland was completed, and was never seen, nor heard from again. The other, Oxford, journeyed to the Ascension Island, which is in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean. There it was used until sometime in the 1990’s, when it was parked, and has been rotting away since then.
Finally, Adam Bennet of York saved the tired, old, metal traveler from its apparent fate. The Land Rover was returned to the U.K., where it has been brought back to life. It has a few more battle scars, but it is back in driving condition.
BBC has a video out with the surviving members of the Far Eastern Expedition getting behind the wheel of Oxford for one more drive.