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Old 5th September 2017, 11:44   #1
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Default Vintage Overlanding! Driving Cross-Country back in the day

Over the years we have seen many cool pictures and articles of motorists driving (or riding) long distance and cross-country. These were true pioneers, given the infancy of infrastructure and communications as we know it today. When we talk of overlanding in India we usually think of the many hippie busses that drove through, like this - however there were so many more
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I thought it'd be a good idea to collate these into one dedicated thread.

Bombay to Rawalpindi in a Daimler.
This piece appeared in a June 1947 issue of The Autocar, featuring a 2.5 litre Daimler saloon driving 1300 miles across undivided India. Unfortunately it seems a page is missing. More pages here
Vintage Overlanding! Driving Cross-Country back in the day-daim.jpg

Calcutta to Calais in a Land Rover.
An interesting piece from a September 1951 issues of The Autocar magazine, sharing experiences of an overlanding Land Rover. More images here
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London to Bombay in a Hillman Husky.
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Calcutta to London in 12 days in a Studebaker!
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To Europe and the Middle East - in a 1951 Dodge Station Wagon
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Italy to Bombay - Two Italians on their Ducatis passing through Bombay. More posted here
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A Minor Adventure - Europe and the Middle East in a Morris Minor
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India to Nepal in a Mahindra Jeep!
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Dutch traveller in his VW van
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London to Bombay in a Vauxhall in 23 days.
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A large contingent did drive from Geneva to India, here are some of them
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Cycling around the world - two youth from Bombay cycled around the world in 1927. Incidentally S. R. Engineers grandsons are in the restoration business, who's services I patronize
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Czechoslovakia to Calcutta in a pair of Skodas - there was an expedition where young students drive two Skoda Populars from Czechoslavakia to Calcutta as a PR exercise, but I cannot find the ad at the moment. There was also a case of a Polish gent and a Parsi gent driving either to or from Europe to Bombay in a Skoda. I don't have a copy of the article though. I did find this old ad though.
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Here is another car that was driving long distance in 1939.
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Transcontinental Triumph Speed Twin
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I am sure there are many more such gems on the forum like this - please list them here!

Last edited by karlosdeville : 7th September 2017 at 11:50.
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Old 8th September 2017, 11:59   #2
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Default Re: Vintage Overlanding! Driving Cross-Country back in the day

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Vintage Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 8th September 2017, 12:43   #3
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Default Re: Vintage Overlanding! Driving Cross-Country back in the day

Quote:
Originally Posted by karlosdeville View Post
I thought it'd be a good idea to collate these into one dedicated thread.
Thanks for sharing this interesting and one-of-a-kind thread karlosdeville! Seeing those vintage beauties is always a delight; learning about these trips is an enlightenment!
Cheers!

Last edited by Shekhar2509 : 8th September 2017 at 12:50.
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Old 8th September 2017, 12:49   #4
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Default Re: Vintage Overlanding! Driving Cross-Country back in the day

Posting this here

Quote:
Originally Posted by harit View Post
In 1935 to 1936 one Paul Hartlmaier led an expedition of 3 DKW F5 Meisterklasse cars through India. They were a two seater convertible, a cabriolette and a station wagon. All had a two-stroke 2 cylinder engine. They started from Mumbai, drove along the Agra road, and reached Delhi where a grand reception was held. They crossed 71 rivers, and went across 562 Maharaja states, maybe small Jamindaris were also counted in this. The Agra road was good, but the interiors were extremely dusty. Later the roads had all but disappeared. The only non-standard feature in these cars was an encapsulated dynamo and a raised air intake for the carbs.
They moved from Agra to eastern India, came upto the Himalayas, then down the Bengal plains to Kolkatta, from there by ship to Chennai, down to south India and by boat to Sri Lanka. Then the cars were shipped back and were subsequently destroyed in the war.

After Agra roads were bad and non existant, except for Banswara where the Maharaja had built good roads for his use. Almost every state hosted them grandly, and at other places they stayed at Dak Bungalows. Knorr was one sponsor and they carried a lot of Knorr conservatives. There were no breakdowns, only some mechanical damage when the chassis hit rocks and damaged some brake parts which were fixed on the way. The complete journey took 18000 KM.

One of the drivers was Hermann Sepp who is now 99 years old and was inteviewed. Search on google and some links can be found, some on Audi sites.
My memory says that something about this has been mentioned earlier, but I can't find that link. They started from Bombay at the DKW dealer who may have been common with the Chrysler dealer, Bombay Cycle and Motor Agency?

Cheers harit
Quote:
Originally Posted by KartikeyaL View Post
pictures have been seen before, but these are larger ones

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source : http://quattroxpedition.evoindia.com/?p=121
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Old 8th September 2017, 15:21   #5
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Default Re: Vintage Overlanding! Driving Cross-Country back in the day

Interesting thread Karl. The Daimler is very similar to my car

Some sourced from the net

Quote:
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In 1967 I was posted back to serve with the British Brigade of Gurkhas..........

To get there I led a four man vehicle expedition overland through Europe, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Nepal, down to Calcutta.
The 9000 mile journey took about 8 weeks. The vehicle was an old 2 liter diesel land rover.

Source
Quote:
They were known as the overlanders; mainly young Europeans, North Americans and Australians in search of alternative tourism, who traveled as cheaply as possible from the late 1950s to the 1970s,


Sandy and Iris, an English couple who had ridden out to India on a BMW motorcycle and sidecar combination
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Australians Bruce Thomas and Stuart Harper purchased a 1961 Fiat 600 Multipla for $175 (perhaps $2000 today) for their overland voyage (see the full album here). Pictured in Rameswaram, 1969 (c) Bruce Thomas
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The Fiat overlanders decide to travel on together with Sandy and Iris, who they met at the Ellora caves. Pictured in Rajasthan, India (c) Bruce Thomas
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Source
Cheers

KPS

Last edited by karlosdeville : 8th September 2017 at 17:21. Reason: Spelling
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Old 8th September 2017, 16:13   #6
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Default Re: Vintage Overlanding! Driving Cross-Country back in the day

Forgot this one, posted earlier here

Quote:
10th September 1931 The Menon family prepare to set off on a London to India motor tour

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Old 8th September 2017, 16:24   #7
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Default Re: Vintage Overlanding! Driving Cross-Country back in the day

Another very important one missed, posted earlier here

Dutchman Wim Dussel was riding cross country in the 1950s astride his Maico Mobil scooter. The images are absolutely stunning!

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There were also 4 guys from Pune who went riding to Italy on their Lambrettas in 1969 - can anyone find reference posted earlier? I can't find details now.

Last edited by karlosdeville : 8th September 2017 at 16:26.
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Old 8th September 2017, 16:45   #8
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Default Re: Vintage Overlanding! Driving Cross-Country back in the day

Few more from our forum

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Originally Posted by schakravarthy View Post

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"This BMW R25/3 owned by a family of bikers from Coorg is one of the most iconic BMWs in India.

It was ridden by Codanda Nanjappa Jairam, all the way from Germany in the 1960′s on his trip home after college.

After his graduation, he was backpacking through Europe on his way home, when he decided to buy a motorcycle and travel back to India.

And so he bought a second hand BMW R/25 and rode back via Turkey, Iran, Pakistan to India – back to his home at Boikeri, Madikeri, Kodagu District.

Quote:
Originally Posted by travancore View Post

Vintage Overlanding! Driving Cross-Country back in the day-india-london-bus-bell-family-1934-tbhp.jpg

Mrs. and Mr. Bell and their three children journeyed from Lucknow to London in their "motor caravan", ca 1934
Quote:
Originally Posted by moralfibre View Post

Quote:
April.52,
Mr. Douglas Wilking and Mr. Warren Wilkins, popularly known as Wilkins Brothers, have come from Canada to India, during their round-the-world tour. They visited New Delhi recently. This photograph showing them along with their touring jeep was taken at the Young Men’s Christian Association lawns, where they were staying. The jeep bears the national flags of various countries visited by the tourists.
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Old 8th September 2017, 16:49   #9
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Nice thread!

Coincidentally, I got this picture on a WhatsApp group today.

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Reverse image search led me to this description - "People of Bundi curiously flock around writer-photographer Volkmar Wentzel. His vehicle – an old U.S. Army ambulance – provides an excellent vantage point. In the late 1940s, Wentzel surveyed India pictorically."

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Last edited by schakravarthy : 8th September 2017 at 16:52.
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Old 8th September 2017, 17:20   #10
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Wow, I am so glad to see so many more pouring in!

Another important one, though of more recent times, is the incredible story of the Zapp family here

Vintage Overlanding! Driving Cross-Country back in the day-001.jpg
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Old 8th September 2017, 17:48   #11
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Default Re: Vintage Overlanding! Driving Cross-Country back in the day

This is a stunning thread and very thanks for collecting so much of details.
Very interesting to see how over-landing concepts have evolved over years when it comes to vehicles and equipment in particular.
I am going to keep an eye on this thread!

I'm sure I have shared this link before, however I think it best suits this post.

Land Rover Expedition to Singapore



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Old 9th September 2017, 02:54   #12
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Default Re: Vintage Overlanding! Driving Cross-Country back in the day

Quote:
Originally Posted by karlosdeville View Post
There were also 4 guys from Pune who went riding to Italy on their Lambrettas in 1969 - can anyone find reference posted earlier? I can't find details now.
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I do not recall the Lambretta trip, but here is one I had, ca 1955
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Old 9th September 2017, 12:38   #13
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Land yacht trip : trailer takes the thaws from Paris to India

This is about the land yacht travels of two adventurous travelers, The Lawrence Copley Thaws .

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/pre-wa...ml#post4124347 (How rich were the Maharajas before Independence! Cars of the Maharajas)

Vintage Overlanding! Driving Cross-Country back in the day-13445543_10201700880999042_839018238250685780_n.jpg
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Old 9th September 2017, 13:31   #14
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Its heart warming to see such adventurous!! the most fascinating was london to bombay in 10/5 HP Husky!! Imagine what would these guys do with present age machines.. probably take them to the moon
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Old 9th September 2017, 14:00   #15
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My dad used to talk about his professor in Calicut Medical College, Dr Madathil Govindan Sahadevan (popularly known as Dr MGS) who drove his Hillman Minx all way down to Calicut from London in the 1960s . He remembers him as a great professor and a mentor

Quoting from Royal College of Physicians' webpage:

Quote:
In 1959, he went to the UK, for postgraduate studies. He was a senior house officer and a registrar, and, from 1961 to 1963, a registrar in neurology at Hammersmith Hospital, where he worked with Christopher Pallis [Munk’s Roll, Vol.XII, web]. He returned to India by driving his Hillman all the way from London to Calicut with some English and Australian friends.
Quoting few relevant excerpts from Dr K Rajasekharan Nair's public Facebook post :

Quote:
We were colleagues from his Trivandrum days (1968/9) onwards and our friendship started with our mutual interest in Hillman Minx cars. His car was of 1966/7 model (more beautiful and petite) and mine was of 1960 (well, not too bad).
Quote:
We had heard of his adventurous jaunt from London to Calicut by his Hillman Car (about 8100 KM) and the halo of ‘hero’ was already there by the time he joined in Trivandrum Medical College.
Quote:
In fact his Hillman craze persisted even then though I changed mine. While in New Delhi also, I saw him again driving his beautiful Hillman all the way from Calicut to New Delhi (about 2500 KM). His comment was pithy ‘This lovely British bitch has not let me down so far. Hope she will do well for a decade more’.
Quoting Dr Vallath Balakrishnan's comment from the above post :

Quote:
I remember MGS once telling me some highlights of his London-Calicut trip. He advertised inviting volunteers fort the trip and there were nearly a hundred applicants from whom he selected four or five, including one girl. Second, They had to travel through a middle eastern country (I don't remember which) where an armed conflict was on; they were stopped on the streets, but were then let off as an Indian (MGS) was in the group. Third and most funny, when the team reached Pakistan border the authorities did not allow the Indian (MGS) to drive through. The others drove through Pakistan and MGS took a flight and joined the rest near the Indian border! Funny world!
Quoting from CALFIM's (Calicut Forum of Internal Medicine) Facebook post :

Quote:
He (Dr MGS) placed an ad and rustled up a team of Englishmen to drive his Hillman Minx car overland across Europe, Turkey and Iran up to Zahedan; he completed his journey through Pakistan to Kannur. The stories of these travels in the rugged Hillman made many an evening lively in later years
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