Well, it sounded like a good idea at the time… Toby Savage shares the ups and downs of planning a big Desert Expedition in two genuine WW2 Jeeps. Just how do you get your off-roader into Africa if you cannot drive it there?
Like so many good ideas, our plan to take two Second World War Jeeps to Egypt started over a few beers. Three of us, Sam Watson, John Carroll and myself shared an interest in Jeeps, the desert and the exploits of The Long Range Desert Group. Sam’s Masters Degree had been based on their accomplishments, John and I owned Jeeps in various states of disrepair and I had visited a few LRDG sites out in Libya. As the beer flowed and the conversation moved up a few decibels, a plan was hatched and by the end of the evening we had it sealed and nothing was going to stop us!
In the cold light of day, hangovers being cured by a fry up, our enthusiasm remained intact, but exactly how were we to achieve our goal and why had nobody done it before? Similar trips had been done in newer 4x4s, but old Jeeps seemed to restrict their foreign travel to the beaches of Normandy. Of course, the logistics of getting two Jeeps to Egypt would be tricky, there would inevitably be a mountain of paperwork to complete and hoops to jump through – plus none of us owned a Jeep that actually worked!
Getting two working Jeeps in ‘desert ready’ condition was a task consigned to my son, Matt Savage, up near Matlock. We started with a pair of 1943 California imports, one a Ford GPW, the other a Willy’s MB, their comfortable life in a dry climate ensuring most of the steel was still serviceable. By the winter of 2010 both were ready for an anticipated expedition over Easter 2011. While the hardware was being prepared, we turned our attentions to how we were going to jump over all the hurdles separating us from our dream trip.
Ro/Ro option at: www.autoshippers.co.uk
RAC Carnet de Passage: www.rac.co.uk
General information on Sahara Travel at:
Tracking International shipping: www.marinetraffic.com/ais/
Read more about this 4×4 adventure in the July 2012 issue of 4×4 Magazine. Buy it or subscribe here