Rusty Rhinos


1963 Ex-Military Land Rover Series 2A SWB

Engine: 2.25 Litre Petrol.
Power: 70BHP.
Top speed: approx 60MPH (needs a few miles, and a decent tailwind to achieve it)
Nickname: Red (after its colour and a dead cat)
Creature comforts: Pen holders. Seats…?!

The requirements for a 4X4 vehicle to cross the Sahara Desert are very clear in all reference materials - it should be reliable, (mostly Japanese 4X4s are mentioned) comfortable for the many many miles, have good economy, decent performance, preferably diesel, have a long wheel base and ideally have air con etc etc. After the problems with leaf springs from the Mongol Rally 2007, we made a promise to each other never to even consider having a vehicle with leaf springs.

So what did team Rusty Rhinos look for in a vehicle? The complete opposite of course! Leaf sprung, British, short wheelbase, petrol, slow and being a very old Land Rover certainly not comfortable. In fact it is probably one of the least comfortable and slowest vehicles out there. But this is what our rallies are all about – a challenge!

The Land Rover, nicknamed “Red” (after its colour and a dead cat) was bought for the reasonable sum of £500 with only a few months MOT left. As with our previous vehicle, most people wouldn’t trust a car of this calibre to get to the local shops, let alone cover thousands of miles in the middle of no-where. But we are very happy with our choice. And not in the slightest bit put off from the references to the many Land Rover skeletons scattered across the Sahara that didn’t quite make it!

Unfortunately over the past 3 months we have been finding out all of the 45 years of neglect and slowly patching them up bit by bit. It has even more rust than our Suzuki SJ (aka the Rusty Rhino) but we will make Red roadworthy in time, and it WILL get us across the Sahara.

The car was picked up for £500 on Thursday 20th December 2007, in the dark.It was cold, the car rattly and very hardcore but at the same time, totally brilliant! Tax exempt as well! Some photos of the car when we first picked it up...


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