The first choice – RGC 112
1955 Series 1 SWB estate
This was the original vehicle of choice for the expedition. It had started life as an airfield control vehicle, the yellow and black checks could still be seen through the Land Rover grey that my father Mike had resprayed it with.
Expedition Vehicle 1 – 714 FXO
1963 Series 2 SWB
With the sale of RGC and a helpful bank manager the deposit for a brand new Series 2 SWB was handed over to H.R. Owen of London.
Basic price £654
Extras – £258
- Heavy Duty Springs/Shock Absorbers
- Reinforced Axles
- Oversized Michelin road tyres
- Passenger windscreen wiper
- Windscreen washer
- Radio suppressors
- Heater (removed from RGC before the sale)
- Station wagon bonnet
- Extra Lights
- Jerry cans on the front bumper
- Rear windscreen wiper
- Chubb safe welded to the chassis and accessible from the space under the passenger seat
- Long range fuel tank
The vehicle was supplied by H.R. Owen in South Kensington, London on 1st June 1963. Owens were, and still are, a very grand London car dealership, more used to supplying Rolls Royce and Bentlys, so I imagine they were a bit surprised to have what to all appearances was a bog standard Land Rover sitting in their showroom, however they handled the deal superbly and FXO was delivered on time, with all the specified extras fitted and working, and at the price quoted. The only thing omitted was an H.R. OWEN sticker in the rear screen, too much to expect I suppose, however what they did get for me was a station wagon bonnet, far superior to the flat one fitted to standard Landys in those days. The Rover Company had been very unwilling to supply a Hard Top Land Rover with this special item, saying it was reserved for the more expensive station Wagon models, but a bit of pressure, plus the mention of a rival 4WD, an Austin Gypsy did the job.
A fuel tank was made, it fitted between the rear wheel arches, and was linked to the main tank via a tap at the back of the drivers footwell, it gave us a non-stop range of about 1000 miles