Jabs and more jabs!!


Justine – The multitude of lists itemising all we have to do before we leave keep growing.  Every time one thing is crossed off, several more things are added.  We have less than five weeks to go.  We don’t have one visa to our names, our roof tent is stuck somewhere between South Africa and Belgium and our house is only rented out for 3 months of the next year. No wonder Tom and I are not sleeping well.

One thing that has been crossed off the list is our vaccinations.  Our blood streams are loaded with chemicals and relief hormones that the spikes are over for a while.  Hector is particularly pleased as you can see below!

Carnet de Passage, order bedding, research cookers – gas or petrol, sew seat covers, get visas, find guide for China and Burma, do tax returns, tell schools our kids are no longer going, finds way to educate the kids for the next year…….these are a few of the things on tomorrow’s list.


Frozen apple

Tom – Having originally been shipped to Algeria, this car never had a heater. Consequently the frozen apple that was on my dashboard when I left Cambridge only defrosted when I got south of Bordeaux!

Fitting a heater for the high altitude sections has been on my mind for a while though the original Smiths Heaters are famously bad. You can buy an original looking Clayton Heater but they don’t put out much heat, are quite expensive and don’t fit very well in a left hand drive. I have therefore gone for a much cheeper Kit car heater that uses the cooling water in the same way as the smiths heater but gives out a lot more heat. It even has a pleasing Steam Punk look to it.

23 hour non stop drive

Tom – Taking the channel tunnel it is 1302km (809miles) non stop from Cambridge to Biarritz. 6 fuel stops and 209.79L. Therefore 17.53mpg 0.16l/km at 80 – 100 km/h. Its a good thing fuel is cheaper in Asia!

I still have no heater and it was below freezing  inside for most of the trip. It turns out though that no heater definitely helps you stay awake!


The idea is that if it can make it from Cambridge to Biarritz (812 Miles) then the world’s our oyster. Tomorrow I’ll find out about that oyster……5:00am start for a 8:00am tunnel. Terminal velocity seems to be 100km/h, just over 62mph but only with a tale wind. 80km/h seems more realistic…..

A tuneup in Cambridge


I’ve never had the chance to drive another series 1, consequently I have no reference. Its been my suspicion that my spluttering engine could do better. My parents, who both learnt to drive on early Land Rovers assure me that that is “just how they were”


My mothers series 1, RVM 294

I’ve tweeked the carburettor and I’ve twirled to dizzy but its always popped and spat.

Today I struck lucky. Peter Baldwin did his apprenticeship at Marshals in Cambridge at a time when this car was cutting edge technology. Yes, I hope he does not mind me saying but he’s older than the car. His speciality is tuning racing minis of which he is an accomplished driver. http://wilshers-garages.com/contact.asp


Peter has a rolling road that he rescued from the demolition ball. He had the foresight to save it when modern cars made it obsolete. Kabylie was connected up and run through her passes. At 65mph stationary with the front wheels chocked, the engine thundering and the rear wheels spinning the rollers.

A couple of hours later I had two carbs and two distributers turned in, gained 10% more power and lost a good deal of noise and some smoke.  I also now know for sure that my engine is working efficiently and produces 56hp at 3000rpm. Well worth the money. Thanks Peter

Back to the UK

Tom- There is nothing more exciting but also terrifying about driving at speed in a car you have totally rebuilt!  The terror is due to that niggling thought that as a self taught amateur you might have got something seriously wrong. As I’m wanting to put my wife and kids in this thing I
thought it prudent to take it back to the UK to get it checked over by people who really know what they are doing.
The Bilbao ferry to Portsmouth is 2 hours from Biarritz and Dunsfold is about 2 hours from Portsmouth. The ferry is cheap in the winter for a reason! The bay of Biscay is no joke. I kept being called down to the rolling car deck to witness Kabylie dancing backwards and forwards on the transmission brake and it was not long before I was very sick.

The next morning it was up to Dunsfold http://www.dunsfold.com. I had explained to Phillip of Dunsfolds my mad hat idea and he had nervously agreed to look at it. After a test drive to my great relief (and I think Phillip’s) I was essentially given a clean bill of health. I had not got IMG_2126
it all bang on but it was apparently quite good so after a bit of tweaking I was given the all clear from the guru himself and I was on the road to Cambridge to see the next expert.

Phillip – Thanks for taking the time to look at her and for your advice – much appreciated !

The team admire the map

World Map

Tom- We were told its a good idea to have a map so you can show people where you come from. Sprayed my one on today with the help of a fantastic stencil from http://www.wallboss.co.uk. Deeply satisfying!


Roof Rack

Tom- Thanks Jose for your help this weekend building the roof rack. Series one roofs are bigger than other Land Rovers so you have to build the rack. We have used sheet aluminium along the whole length of the gutters and supported it onto the bulkhead and the rear crossmember. Our tents nearly 100kg so we need a good rack. Hopefully it does not look too bazzar !


Justine Oliver - Security and travel advice

Justine Oliver is a travel and security consultant and freelance writer

Retro Road Trip, Adventures in a Series 1 Land Rover

A family in a Series 1, 1957 Land Rover exploring from Europe to Iran and back