1980 Series III 109-inch
Not many people go travelling in Series Land Rovers any more, but that doesn’t mean they’re not up to the job. These are the vehicles that made Land Rover synonymous with overlanding. The design is so basic, especially by modern standards, that most mechanical failures can be fixed anywhere at little expense.
Discomfort is a consideration, but leaf springs soon loosen up with regular use. Spare a thought for the 1950s First Overland expedition; five blokes squished themselves into two heavily-laden 86-inch Series Is for the 36,000-mile journey from London to Singapore and back again. If you’re still worried about it, pack a cushion.
Certain accessories will become essential - cine camera, typewriter, theodolite, gin – and you’ll soon adopt appropriate job titles such as Quartermaster and Scribe.
View it here
1992 Defender 130 Ambulance
The archetypal overlander? Defenders have the rugged and abusable character of their Series predecessors, but are a lot more practical for long-haul driving, thanks to meatier engines (in this case the lovely 3.5-litre V8), an extra gear and better sound proofing. Coil springs also give better comfort and handling, not to mention greater axle articulation for when the going gets tough.
This long 130-inch chassis and ambulance body might compromise your ability to push your way through overgrown jungle tracks, but you’ll be rewarded with a spacious home-from-home. The V8’s fuel consumption won’t be an easy pill to swallow though...
View it here.
2008 Discovery 3 TDV6
The opposite end of the spectrum from a trusty old Series, a Discovery 3 or 4 will take you just about anywhere in supreme comfort. The load space is cavernous (in fact the whole vehicle is vast) and the off-road capability is sensational. In fact you’ll cover the miles so easily, you might feel like you’re cheating.
But there is a price to pay. These are complex vehicles and expensive to put right when they break, so get one like this with a good service history. Many common fixes need the entire body to be lifted clear of the vehicle, requiring specialist knowledge and premises, and lots of time. Break down while crossing the Sahara or scaling the Urals, and you could be in serious trouble. They’re heavy too, and sink into sand or mud more easily than a Defender.
Nevertheless, a TDV6 Discovery 3 holds the current speed record for an overland crossing from London to Cape Town, completing the journey in just 10 days. See here for our coverage of the feat.
View it here.