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