The Real McCoy: 1991 Land Rover Camel Trophy

In the world of motorsport, few vehicles survive from the bygone days of rough-and-tumble, death-defying racing on or off paved surfaces. In this case it’s a real Camel Trophy team truck and it’s listed for sale here on eBay in North Carolina.

From 1980 to 2000, the Camel Trophy series was essentially an overland endurance-type race, meant more for amateurs than licensed professionals.  Courses ran through some of the most unforgiving terrain that Mother Nature had created and through which Mankind had dared to carve paths just wide enough for a motor vehicle.

The first event was a six-person, three-team trek in  rented Jeep CJ6s that covered 1600 kilometers (994 miles) over 12 days, and only two of the Jeeps survived. By the end, it was a worldwide pheonmenon with millions of applicants, hundreds of participants each year, and vast sums of money being spent to equip vehicles and teams with the very best equipment that money could buy.  Films and documentaries of the goings-on are abundant and the seller of this machine has included one of them as provenance to the reality of the truck we see before us. According to Iain Chapman, it was “Neither a race nor a rally, Camel Trophy was first and foremost an adventurous expedition.  It did include an element of competition where participating teams could test their 4×4 driving and mechanical skills, endurance, courage, stamina, perseverance and resilience against the worst that nature could offer.”

The truck presented to us today is allegedly the 1991 team’s communications truck that ran in Tanzania. This author admits to not knowing much about Defenders per se, but from the looks of the truck for sale and comparing them with the images from the actual race, this truck looks to be the real thing and has truly been taken-care-of in the 30-odd years since then. It’s missing a few things like the satellite dish and a couple of spare tires, but overall, it presents acceptably.

One of my dreams in life is to own a piece of motorsports history like this. Not a tire or a broken body panel – a complete, driveable unit. If I had the money or the personal connections to something, you can bet that I’d have something and preserve it for the world to see. Far too often have we seen legendary machines lost to time or the elements or neglect, or the dreaded scrap heap. Save ’em if you can, because they don’t make ’em like they used to.


  1. Oldog4tz Oldog4tz Member

    RNM at 139k.

    Like 1
  2. Cadmanls Member

    This may have been featured on Restoration Garage a few years ago. Can’t be too many of these that survived that after all these years. They didn’t restore it just made some repairs.

    Like 7
  3. Rosko

    Hagerty Insurance puts out a wonderful automotive magazine for its members. Worth the cost of the insurance premium all by itself. They did an article a couple of issues back on the Calmel Trophy series -Excellent!

    Like 2
  4. bc

    If Marlin Perkins and Jim Fowler were still around they would be driving it across the African savannah chasing some wild beast. I’m sure it would have the spare tire on the hood also

    Like 6
    • Mike

      Jim would be thigh deep in a swamp fending off alligators while Marlin would be safe and sound in the car narrating.

      Like 1
  5. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    The 3 most grueling rally events in the 3rd world are the Camel Trophy, the Paris-Dakkar, and any of the zany “tests” the 3 presenters at the BBC Top Gear’s Grand Tour episodes, like the Mongolian desert episode with “John” the Land Rover self-assembly kit car.

    Myself, I’ve always wanted one of the 6X6 Tatra trucks used in the Paris-Dakkar races, where they routinely get those 10 ton vehicles jumping over ravines with all 6 wheels airborne! the 1986 Tatra promo video is here:

    Like 1
  6. SirRaoulDuke

    This is incredibly bad-azz.

    Like 1

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