This is one of the original Land Rover Defenders used in the Camel Trophy, an iconic annual 4×4 event that ran from 1980 to 2000 before it was replaced with the G4 Challenge.
Unlike many of the badly damaged Land Rovers that returned from Camel Trophy competition, this was was actually a communications vehicle in the 1991 Tanzania-Burundi event – meaning it was used and abused far less.
Fast Facts – The Camel Trophy Defender
- The Camel Trophy has been described as the “The Olympics of 4×4,” it was an annual challenge that took place using Land Rover vehicles in various far off locations including Africa, South America, South East Asia, Australia, and Mongolia.
- Each team consisted of two people from the same country, they then competed with the other teams in a series of extreme off-road driving challenges.
- Land Rover vehicles were used exclusively for the event after the first year, they were all painted in Sandglow Yellow and featured a slew of equipment upgrades for the competition.
- The Defender you see here is a veteran of the 1991 Tanzania-Burundi Camel Trophy, it’s been significantly repaired over the years and it’s now being offered for sale out of Wake Forest, North Carolina.
The Camel Trophy
The Camel Trophy was never originally intended to be the global juggernaut it would become. The first event held in 1980s was made up of three Jeep-driving German teams exploring the Amazon Basin.
Above Video: This is the complete coverage of the 1991 Tanzania-Burundi Camel Trophy, it was the first time the event took place across two countries and the Land Rover shown in this article is one of those in the footage.
As the idea grew the organizers turned to Land Rover to provide the vehicles and to tobacco company Camel for primary sponsorship.
As a result, all of the Land Rovers (and Range Rovers) used would be painted in Sandglow Yellow and they would carry a “Camel Trophy” shield on the front of their roof rack.
Before the vehicles were shipped out by Land Rover they were significantly modified by the Land Rover Special Vehicles division with internal and external roll cages, auxiliary fuel tanks, uprated suspension, snorkels, underbody protection, winches, roof racks, spotlights, and more.
Once the competition was complete some Land Rovers remained in the country, some were bought by their teams, and others were returned to Britain where they were sometimes used for promotional purposes before being sold into private ownership.
Over the 20 years that the Camel Trophy ran they used a vast array of different Land Rover vehicles including the Range Rover Classic, Land Rover Series 3, Land Rover 90, Land Rover 110, Land Rover Defender, Land Rover Discovery, and finally the Freelander.
After the year 2000 with cigarette advertising being banned in motorsport the Camel Trophy morphed into the G4 Challenge which followed much the same format.
This series ran until 2008 when the Great Recession sounded its death knell. It’s never been held since.
The Camel Trophy Land Rover Defender Shown Here
As mentioned in the introduction, the Defender 110 you see here is a veteran of the grueling 1991 Tanzania-Burundi Camel Trophy event where it was a communications vehicle.
After the conclusion of the competition it was used in various other events in Europe and the Middle East before becoming part of an off-road school fleet. After this it was bought by the current owner and imported into the United States where it remains today.
Before it was shipped to the USA it had its axles overhauled, a replacement timing belt fitted, and the brakes and suspension were given a refresh.
As a 1991 Defender this vehicle is powered by a 2.5 liter turbodiesel inline-four mated to a 5-speed manual transmission and a two-speed transfer case. It has live axles front and rear on coil springs, and as a Defender 110 it has the longer wheelbase with five doors.
If you’d like to read more about this unusual Defender or place a bid you can visit the listing on Bring A Trailer here.
Images courtesy of Bring A Trailer.
Articles that Ben has written have been covered on CNN, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian Magazine, Road & Track Magazine, the official Pinterest blog, the official eBay Motors blog, BuzzFeed, Autoweek Magazine, Wired Magazine, Autoblog, Gear Patrol, Jalopnik, The Verge, and many more.
Silodrome was founded by Ben back in 2010, in the years since the site has grown to become a world leader in the alternative and vintage motoring sector, with well over a million monthly readers from around the world and many hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.