Featured: I Drove Across Africa In A Defender 90 And Lived To Tell The Tale

I Drove Across Africa In A Defender 90 And Lived To Tell The Tale

By Duncan Quinn
January 6, 2016
6 comments

Photography by Duncan Quinn

I should have bought a bloody Landcruiser.  Just like I should have dated the nice girl who my parents liked.  And I should have stuck to beer.

Despite being told my whole life what to do, I somehow always had to take a walk on the wild side to understand why people were constantly steering me away from things.The Landy was no different. Slower. More prone to be a pain in the arse. Constantly in need of attention. But god wasn’t she sexier by far? And spectacular when on form.

I was hooked from the second I laid eyes on her. Before it became apparent she needed a heart transplant. And before it was also clear she was like a Martini Girl and would take you anytime, anyplace, anywhere.

Like any good adventurer I needed a Passepartout to my Phileas Fogg. And I needed the right jalopy for the task.  In this case the task was an extreme off-road rally.  Frequented by nutters from all over Africa who revered the “Dust, Sweat and Gears” of the “Elephant Charge”.

So when I found her on e-Bay in the UK all tricked out in her glad rags and proclaiming wins at local off-road gigs I fell head over heels with’er. After a whirlwind romance she was en route to Durban via Southampton, RoRo class all the way.

You always remember the good things. At least I think I do.

So for me this was to be an epic trip of new friends, speeding Playstation-style through the Johannesburg traffic at 75+mph, Elephants over our shoulders in the morning, speeding tickets in Botswana, yomps across the Victoria Falls, and hilarious breakfast sandwiches in the bush.

In reality it was buggered crank shafts, shredded bearings, blown turbos, split hoses, and the odd donkey by the side of the road.

But never let the truth get in the way of 1400 miles of good stories, right?

And God was it fun.

Against all recommendation I’ll be returning with his D90 to compete in the 2016 Elephant Charge in Zambia. This time via Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania.  Contact me at www.duncanquinn.com if you are interested.  Only the bold need apply.

Editor’s Note: Duncan Quinn is a traditional Savile Row tailor on steroids, he has boutiques in New York in Los Angeles, and a crippling automotive addiction. We’re proud to call him our friend, although each time we cross paths our livers come out a bit worse for the wear. Keep in touch with his antics on Instagram @Duncan_Quinn

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mik3ymomo
mik3ymomo
3 years ago

All I want to know is where to get some hilarious breakfast sandwiches…
I am in the US.

Severne Johnson
Severne Johnson
4 years ago

I was an engineer at Ford Advanced Light Trucks in Dearborn in the late 60s. The South African army solicited vehicles for testing for their next round of 4-wheel drives. We sent them a couple of Broncos. Pretty much decimated the Land Rovers, as in the Broncos kept going down the trail while the Land Rovers kept going to the garage for repairs. They bought Land Rovers in the end because they couldn’t wrap their heads around the Broncos. Some British chauvinism, too. We laughed about it for a long time.

Henry Stinson
Henry Stinson
6 years ago

Inspired adventure…

Your experiences may be added proof of the Land Cruiser reliability side of the Land Rover versus Toyota debate. But, your obvious passion and sense of humour certainly lend credibility to the adage that Land Rovers are for the romantics.

As Land Rover travellers, my wife often teases me that my defence against the Land Rover naysayers is a smugness I get from suffering more on the journey and always being dirty and last.

Thanks for the story…

Tony Latham
Tony Latham
6 years ago

Hahaha! First sentence says it all. School of hard (main bearing) knocks, indeed.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
6 years ago

Yup ! Y’all should of bought a Land Cruiser . Oh well . So far you’ve lived . Hopefully before its too late you’ll learn as well

An old [ since the inception of the company ] Land/Range Rover adage to live by .

Like that Martini Girl [ or in more contemporary terms the likes of an Illyria Pozzi ]

They’re great for getting you there . Just don’t plan on them going the distance or getting you back .. in one piece that is … wink wink

Thank goodness for my catching ICON’s sound advice about Land/Range Rovers before laying my hard earned on the table

PS; Driving beats the heck outta fixing and repairing 😉