The Last Overland Recreates Iconic 1955 Land Rover Expedition

Back in 1955, a team of adventurers set out on what would become one of the most iconic journeys of the 20th century. The Oxford & Cambridge Far Eastern Expedition sent the group –– which was made up of Antony Barrington Brown, Adrian Cowell, Patrick Murphy, Nigel Newbery, Henry Nott, and Tim Slessor –– on an 18,000-mile (28,968 km) overlanding trip from Singapore to London.

They traveled in Land Rovers across Asia and Europe in the process, demonstrating the hardiness of those vehicles at a time when such length journeys were still a bit of a rarity. Now, more than 64 years later, the last remaining member of the original team is set to recreate that adventure.

In August of this year, The Last Overland expedition will set out from Singapore to attempt the same route using the same vehicle as the 1955 crew. 87-year old Tim Slessor will join 31-year old filmmaker Alex Bescoby on this journey, which looks to explore not only the heritage of the original expedition, but the changes to the world that have occurred since 1955. The duo will be filming their travels as part of an upcoming documentary, which will share their experiences while en route to a whole new generation.

Slessor and Bescoby will make the trip in a 1955 Series One Land Rover (“Oxford”) model. That is the same vehicle that the original team used on their epic journey, which lasted 6 months and 6 days.

The modern-day recreation isn’t expected to take nearly as long, with the two men estimating it will require about 100 days to drive from Singapore to London this time out. That said, they’ll be exploring dense jungles, hot deserts, snowcapped peaks, and other challenging terrains while en route, making this a true challenge, even in the 21st century.

The Last Overland is expected to get underway on August 25, setting out from Singapore just as the original team did more than six decades earlier. You can find out more about the project, the team, and their intended route by visiting the expedition’s official website. It should be quite a fun expedition to watch unfold.

Kraig Becker