In Winter 2008, we featured a story by Toby Savage about an archaeological expedition to the Sahara. We didn’t have enough room to feature his wonderful Carawagon, so here are some shots from Toby and a writeup on this unique overlanding vehicle.
Toby Savageâ€™s Series 2A LWB Land Rover originally left the Lode Lane factory in 1970, bound for the specialist conversion company, R. J. Searle, who fitted their own design of camper body, known as the Carawagon. These were very upmarket conversions in their day and no two were exactly the same. Toby has owned it since 1997 and in that time made several improvements to make it faster, safer and more comfortable. It now has a galvanised coil sprung chassis, Old Man Emu springs, disk brakes all round, a 200 Tdi engine with a bigger intercooler (Alli Sport), a five-speed LT77 gearbox mated to a Discovery transfer box for higher gearing, and Range Rover power-assisted steering.
This Land Rover has to switch identities from storming Desert Truck to Family Camper annually, whist still retaining its off-highway ability in the English mud. With the clever folding roof raised there is ample headroom for Tobyâ€™s 6â€™ 2â€ height, and the double bed arrangement can sleep two in comfort. There is even central heating courtesy of a Webasto heater unit, a refrigerator and a cooker to provide all the comforts of home, whilst not adding to the Land Rovers overall weight. The original 1970s awning can be simply attached to the rear and Toby has had made a side awning to protect him and his partner Jo from (hopefully!) the heat of the sun, but more often the persistent rain of the English climate.
More details are available on Tobyâ€™s web site: www.tobysavage.co.uk
Pic 1. The galley area may look a mess in use, but delicious meals have come forth from this Spartan set up.
Pic 2. A perfect English summers day. Both awnings up and a wood burning stove ready for a chilly evening.
Pic 3. This Land Rover is never allowed to forget its prime role in life. Off-highway action in the English countryside.
Pic 4. The beautiful Devon coastline at Bigbury on Sea provides a backdrop to this camp shot. Toby replaced the window blinds in 2008.
Pic 5. This wide angle lens shot shows the living space in the back of the 109-inch Land Rover when the folding roof is raised. The bench seat opens up to make a double bed. The cooker (new in 2008) is on the rear door.
Pic 6. This Land Rover’s second home. The Sahara Desert. Kicking up the sand in Libya.
Pic 7. Chilled out in Spain and enjoying the amenities of a real camp site.