Appearance confirmed by heroic Land Rover 86” Station Wagon from landmark 1955 expedition
Part of the famous Oxford & Cambridge Far Eastern Expedition from London to Singapore in 1955, the two Land Rovers were named ‘Oxford’ and ‘Cambridge’. ‘Cambridge’ was sold on its return to the Land Rover factory in Lode Lane, Solihull, and eventually lost when it ran off the road in a subsequent expedition to the Middle East. ‘Oxford’ continues to serve as a loyal and hugely capable 4×4, and as recently as the great British snowfall of this winter was photographed in action with owner Adam Bennett.
The 1955 expedition, led by six students from the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, was a true ‘world first’, capturing the imagination of an international audience thanks to three films commissioned by Sir David Attenborough for the BBC. Apart from the English Channel and the Bosphorus, and some necessary river crossings along the way, the team of six and their trusted two Land Rover Station Wagons completed the long journey from London to Singapore overland, becoming the first ever to do so.
First published in 1957 and since reprinted, the book ‘First Overland’ by expedition member Tim Slessor is still on sale today and is widely regarded as one of the finest exploration accounts ever written.
Subject of three Sir David Attenborough BBC documentaries, the ‘Oxford’ 86” was ‘lost’ for 50 years
On its return to the UK following the 1955 expedition, ‘Oxford’ was loaned to a British Ornithologists’ Union expedition to Ascension Island in the South Atlantic. Following completion of this expedition, the Land Rover was left with a local support worker on the island, and he continued to use the vehicle for many years, before replacing it with a later 88” and continuing to utilise ‘Oxford’ for parts. Eventually, he retired and took both vehicles back to his home on the island of Saint Helena – further south in the Atlantic. There, the vehicles remained, until British enthusiast Adam Bennett pursued a dream imagined by many a Land Rover enthusiast and, with the help of journalist Peter Galilee, convinced the islander to return both vehicles to the UK in exchange for a newer 300Tdi Defender.
Back in the UK, ‘Oxford’, thanks to its younger 88” parts beneficiary, was brought back to life by Bennett with a full and sympathetic restoration, passing its MOT at the first attempt, and was even awarded its original registration of SNX 891 back by the DVLA.
For a rare opportunity to see this delightful and thoroughly well-travelled Land Rover, complete with original patina and battle scars, and to hear the stories of its extraordinary life, repatriation and restoration from owner Adam Bennett, be sure to visit Land Rover Legends this May 26 and 27th.
Tickets for the exciting new event are available now. For more information please visit: www.landroverlegends.com.