In 1960, a group of three Cambridge University graduates secured a Series II Long-Wheelbase Land Rover, and set out to drive the entire length of the Pan American Highway, a daunting task even now. The journey's planned route would take them from the Southern tip of Argentina, across the Andes mountain range and up through Central and North America all the way to the Arctic Ocean at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska.
The group, consisting of Mike Andrews, Ben Mackworth-Praed and Martin Hugh-Jones, encountered many problems, as one might expect. But the Land Rover was always able to be repaired and continue the journey. However, in Alaska, just 500 miles south of Prudhoe, they encountered snow and slippery, treacherous roads that made travel even by Land Rover too difficult and dangerous. The team were forced to end the trip early, and had to sell the 109 in order to pay for their flights back to the UK.
Fast forward to 2014 - the Land Rover was in the hands of Ed Angel, an Alaska-based Land Rover outfitter and enthusiast. Ed recognized the expedition logo on the door from a picture accompanying a magazine article by Andrews, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the original trip. Angel was able to locate and connect with all three original expedition members. Now, the three of them, all in their 70's will be attempting again to complete their original goal.
Says Andrews, "It’s marvelous that all three of us who drove up the Alaska Highway in 1961 are going to be there again. I never thought I would be going back to complete it. It will be great to get as far north as we can. If we can't do the last bit there is a tourist bus so I will at least get to paddle in the Arctic Ocean.”
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