I purchased my first 4×4 in 1982. It was a 1972 Range Rover. It had 42000 miles on the clock. Since then I’ve owned 11 4x4s, including another Range Rover, a Defender, a Discovery, two G-Wagens and five Land Cruisers. I’ve covered an estimated 800 000 kilometers in them. Here is my story told in pictures.
What follows is a record of about four images depicting each year, since May 1982. And there are a few before then, when the inspiration for all this struck, with my father’s Range Rover in 1974.
2012 – 2013
For mid 2012 until March 2013 I had on long-term loan, a Discovery-4, a vehicle that I grew to really love. Here it is pictured in Zimbabwe.
In the latter half of 2012 I test the VW Amarok in Namibia, a vehicle I was determined not to like very much, but I was disappointed. It’s a very good pickup.
This Land Cruiser-78 ‘World Cruiser’ is my current vehicle. This picture brings to an end my celebration of 30 years since I purchased my first 4×4 in May 1982.
Toward the end of 2011 I took my final trip in my Cruiser-105 was to Augrabies Falls in the Northern Cape on a TV shoot for Jurgens Trailers. This became the ‘bonus’ episode on Take A Deep Breath, season-1.
I took delivery of my 78-Troopy having drawn up the idea for the ‘ultimate world-Cruiser’ project.
In 2010 I went on what was the most ambitious and to date, the most exciting expedition thus far – to follow the course of the Okavango River, from source to end. The TV show, Take A Deep Breath, season-2 was made.
2007 and I purchased a Land Cruiser-76 Wagon with the 4,2 diesel. This pic, and the one below, were taken during a mapping project of the Transkei coast
In 2006 I went on one of my most memorable expeditions, to explore the red southern Kalahari and Sowa Pan with Mike Main. I drove my new Toyota Land Cruiser 105GX, 4500 petrol.
In 2004 I fell in love with my second G. This one was a NATO-spec vehicle with higher clearance and stiffer springs. Never had I driven a vehicle with such brilliant off-road ability.
2002 I took delivery of a new Land Cruiser 79, 4,2D pickup, which was converted into a double-cab.
2000 – 2001
Early 2000 and my first Mercedes 290GD arrived. It was a year old with 40 000 kms on the clock.
With the old 4xforum.com logo on the door
A trip to the Richtersveld to photograph the plants in my 1996 Range Rover Classic
I also tested the Nissan Terrano. This photograph was taken at Peace of Paradise, the campsite on the banks of the Orange River
I sold my Land Rover 110, had a sponsored Toyota Prado for a while, then purchased the last of the Range Rover Classics
Not a particularly active year in my 4×4 – as I spent most of my time power flying and gliding
One of my favourite overland pictures. Our convoy of One-Tens camped on the bank of the Orange River at Pooitjiespram.
The image that made it on the cover of my first book, published in June 1993. The picture was taken in 1984.
Researching my second book in the Karoo National Park
1994 was the first year I began driving lots of different 4x4s, including Isuzu trooper, here seen on the beach in Natal. I was preparing my second book that year.
1991-1992 was not a big year for me and 4x4s because i was running a lodge in the Okavango, where no vehicles were allowed. But i did drive my One-Ten there. it was the first vehicle to reach the camp is five years!
The camp we ran in 1991/2. Delta Camp, Nr1, Boro River, Okavango Delta, Botwana
The camp staff giver the one-Ten a wash
Late 1992 was when I began working with 4x4s and video
1990 and I married my sweat-heart Gwynn on the top of a mountain and the only way to the top was to ferry all the guests up in a convoy of 4x4s. This took place in the Waterberg in October
Game drive for the guests in the morning prior to the ceremony
The two of us taking a stroll
Gwynn and our One-Ten, now named ‘Darien’ on Sowa Pan, Botswana
View from the hill on Kokonje island, Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, Botswana
Early in the year I changed the Range Rover’s gearbox
… and entered the Land Rover Owner’s Club rally
… and purchased a brand new Land Rover One-Ten V8
1989 was the year I began writing my first 4×4 book, and this was later to become the ‘author’s picture’.
Accident on a remote road in northern Botswana tore the front end of my Range Rover – off. The Land Cruiser I hit was almost undamaged.
A crowd from an overland tour truck soon gathered. I’m working on the steering which was badly bent.
With everything gathered, it was time to put her back together again.
After the accident I decided to have her resprayed Lincoln Green.
I won a LROC event in my newly painted, Range Rover
My girlfriend Gwynn, who three years later was to marry me
Another Land Rover Owners Club rally
This was the year I met my future wife. She’s the one in the middle giving me a scornful look
The year my brakes failed due to pirate brake pads. A written-off renault-5, a 12ft wall and a bent chassis was the result.
Insurance co wanted to write my Range Rover off. So I took the cash and repaired it myself.
The first time I took myself to Botswana.
My first time exploring what has become a favourite place – the Makgadikgadi Salt pans
While pulling the yacht (see 1985) from the water, my V8 ingested water, and needed a full rebuild
Removing the engine. Friends Charles and Jonty Bradfield are lending a hand
Not a lot happened with my 4×4 in 1985. I continued racing lazer dingies. This is how I transported it in my Range Rover
… and the year I took up flying
Did a lot of sailing. This boat caused me to wreck my Range Rover’s V8 the following year.
This is one of very few images i have of my Range Rover that year. My friend Jonty Bradfield
This was the very first time I used a winch. It took two hours to dig myself out after the winching failed. CLICK THE PIC to go to the YouTube video of this exact event..
My first trip into true desert. Sossusvlei in the Namib, October 1984
Competing in a Land Rover Owner’s Club rally
I really loved being in my Range Rover
Clean and shiny
The beauty of a good four wheel drive – when we found a way into the opposite shore from the camp ground and set up camp. Loskop Dam, 1983
After my very first overland expedition to Kosi Bay, Natal. Don’t know why I didn’t take any pics on the expedition itself? Maybe I was too focused because it was the first time I drove in thick sand.
One of the earliest images of my Range Rover off road. Taking pictures of my 4x4s was eventually, many years later, to become my profession.
One of my first trips, down to the Drakensberg, Natal.
Stuck in the mud at my first event at the Land Rover Owner’s Club rally.
The first day i ever drove off-road. I had had my Range Rover for just one day. May 1982.
Soon after taking delivery, I fitted carpets to keep the interior noise levels down.
I soon discovered that the only way to learn this 4×4 thing was to get stuck.
My father’s Range Rover, brand new then, in 1974
Crossing the Darent in Eynsford
I belive this is the very first picture of me and a 4×4. February 1974
before the beginning