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n LAND ROVER went up a bit of a blind alley in 1949 when they made an assumption that some buyers might want a Land Rover that was more like a car and launched a Station Wagon version. n ThE bODy was built by Tickford, known for their work with Rolls Royce and Lagonda and had a wooden frame with seating for seven people.

While travelling in Kenya, Richard Poskitt stumbled across four very different vehicles, not least a remarkable Tickford Station Wagon with a special history
by Richard Poskitt
Land RoveRs are all over Kenya. The police use them, the military use them and thousands are running up and down the country every day. The Kenyan’s love of the Land Rover dates back to colonial times when the British sunned themselves in their east african Colony. The Queen had one, a Tickford station Wagon, specially delivered during her visit in 1952. The Land Rover stands out as the real african bush car by far. I am sure you would rather be seen in a safari Land Rover in the Masai Mara on an early morning game drive than a Japanese lump of rust. It is the right place for the Land Rover. Four recently stood out for me demonstrating how varied Kenya’s Land Rovers really are – a specially modified 2009 defender and its sister, a 2003 300Tdi defender, both kitted out for safari Game drives; a Range Rover from 1984 which competes in the perilous annual Rhino Charge, and a unique example once used by the Queen. The Queen’s Land Rover is the oldest Land Rover I have ever seen, been in, or pushed. This is a 1949 series one (vIn number Ro6200003) with a Tickford station Wagon body and is like no other
These days it’s an armoured limousine, but back in 1952 the Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, was happy to bounce around in the back of a Land Rover.


Land Rover. Just to be close to it gives you a sense of its history, and it has a good one. I discovered this car while having a vIP treatment service on my adventure Family defender last year at CMC. It was just overwhelming to be able to sit in it. even the kids hopped in. I have been unable to trace the vIn number any further or gain any access to old pictures, but it is totally authentic. Its history should be quite simple to confirm; all I need to do is ask the Queen.

the Kenyan Royal coach

The story starts with the 1952 Royal visit to Kenya and Treetops in the northern part of Kenya. during the visit of fantastic game viewing, and beautiful banquets, Princess elizabeth went to sleep as a princess and woke up the next morning a different person. during the night her father, George vI passed away. she was the Queen of england. It was decided that she should return immediately to england to be reunited with the people. The Tickford had been shipped over with a small number of other, standard, soft top models, one of which is still kept with the Queen’s

car at Land Rover Kenya. It was this soft top series one used by the Royal party on that fateful morning to escort the Queen to nairobi, to return home to her throne. The Tickford roof is swayed back toward the back, and the rear boot door is split like the Range Rover. The interior is basic, though not at basic as the standard Land Rovers of the time. Perhaps it’s what you might expect a Range Rover would be like if it was around in the 1950s. The wonderfully designed spare wheel cover is a joy, and the engine is immaculate, and it still works. nowadays it is kept out of sight at Land Rover Kenya where it is lovingly looked after. There have been an number of requests to have it returned to the UK, but this would be

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wrong. This is certainly a piece of Land Rover history and it really makes you feel patriotic when you sit in the driver’s seat. It should stay where it is, Kenya, the land where Land Rover has a great history. also construct electric fences to protect wildlife in the national parks. Large numbers of drivers, navigators and runners engage their wit, strength and navigational skills to try to win the beloved trophy each year, and also bring in the most money from their sponsors. Land Rover has always been a strong winning force in the Charge. each vehicle is extremely strong, toughened up by the huge modifications made by the teams; suspension being one of the biggest modifications made. This 1984 Range Rover with its original 3.5 litre petrol engine has had its suspension
Above: You don’t get many of these to the pound. Despite pleas for its return to the UK, this exceptional Series One Station Wagon is staying in Kenya, which seems, historically, to be its rightful home.

and so to the present...

as you can read on page 62, the Rhino Charge has been around for about 20 years and is set in different locations every year. It is a challenge not a rally and, apart from the fun and excitement, its aims are to raise money for Rhino ark, which dedicate themselves to protect one of the aberdare Conservation areas and


Queen Elizabeth – 1952

n TickfORD LAND Rovers were well equipped compared to the standard Land Rover, having leather seats, a heater, a one-piece laminated windscreen, a tin-plate spare wheel cover, some interior trim and other options. clearly a Land Rover fit for a queen! n hOWEVER, ThE Queen was one of the few people who could afford one. The wooden construction made the vehicles expensive to build and tax laws made it worse as the Tickford was taxed as a private car, which attracted higher levels of Purchase Tax than the utilitarian Land Rover version.

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ThAN 70 n LESS ere sold, and it’s w Tickfords at all but 50 were ed th se early believ oday the ported. T ns are highly ex ago Station W r and very few e inly in ought aft s exist, ma nown to are k s. museum Ou n y cAN see e one at th Gaydon heritage . Museum

This 80 is said to be the actual vehicle that the Queen travelled in from the Tree Tops Hotel after she learned of the death of her father in 1952.


rebuilt by Jazz Cars in nairobi. The extra long custom made shocks, springs and toughened arms are robust enough to have given it the strength for nine charges. ‘Team six Pack’ were running again this year in the Range Rover, and hoped they could beat their personal best of 15th position. It wouldn’t be easy for them with almost 60 other vehicles participating.

Top: The Tickford bodied Series One 80 inch Station Wagon is truly unique in Land Rover history. An idea that was probably ahead of its time in austere post-war Britain.

It’s not be the most comfortable Range Rover either with its plastic bucket seats and absolutely nowhere for the other team members to sit. They walk, or run, while the driver usually gets over turned and shouted at all day. The navigator will have a tough day also. His job will be to judge the best way to traverse cliffs, ruts and deep, deep bush. obviously trying to avoid them as much as possible, while also getting

shouted at by the runners. sounds like fun. Team six Pack includes n Malde, J Bharij,d Munene, P Mutuku, C soni and C Hill. driving a Land Rover into the bush isn’t just for crazy people, of course. Tourists with an eye on a somewhat less demanding trip require a bit more comfort. Which is where the specially modified safari Land Rovers come in. These extended defenders are

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n TickfORD cAN trace its roots back to the coachbuilding firm of Salmons & Sons, in Tickford Stre et, Newport Pagnell in the 1820s. n Tickford M otor bodies provided spec ialist services to car-makers th rough the early 20th century, in cluding: Alvis, Aston Martin, Aust hillman, humbe in, Daimler, r, Land Rover, Lagonda, MG , Rolls Royce and Rover. n David brow n (w the owner of As ho became ton Martin in 1947 and La gonda in 1948) bought the business in 1955. he co nsol his car manufac idated all turing on the Newport Pagn ell site and Tickford becam e dormant.

quite remarkable. They are modified to the owner’s east african safaris, specification, direction and design. CMC Land Rover Kenya rebuilt and extended the vehicles to allow for a bigger and wider viewing area, more comfortable seating with ample room for legs, baggage, cameras and standing around with your head out of either of the two huge roof flaps. east african Wildlife safaris has had three of these vehicles made over eight years and brought with them a 300Tdi and a brand new 2009 defender. The colour is even chosen specifically for Jock anderson, the director. It makes them stand out from the more common ‘safari green’. as you first see them it does not strike you that they have been extended, nor that they have a military police colour. They don’t look modified. But the moment you take a second look you see that the roof is higher, and that there is a whole extra row of seats in the rear. They are not

the standard bench seats, but are custom made for Jock to give his clients luxury while in transit between animal viewings. so you sit down with your legs stretched out, looking out of your vast window, and think that there must be an awful lot of work done to make it good enough to be out in the bush. In fact, not much is needed. The length is made to get more clients in, making it financially viable without the use of a bus. There is no massive change in the suspension. only twin shocks are added in the rear for the extra weight. There is no lift to counter the ground clearance loss in the extension. Jock believes it is unnecessary. The tyres are the standard ones issued with Land Rover, not mud terrain, and there is only one spare tyre. The most important thing for these vehicles is to be able to see out of all angles. all the windows in the rear are made much larger to allow for the best visibility. The roof is raised up to

More than 50 years on from that fateful day in 1952, Land Rovers are still a dominant force in Kenya, used for many different reasons. Solihull vehicles, like this brutally modified Range Rover are the backbone of the Rhino Charge and, likewise, the ‘traditional’ Defender is the only vehicle to be seen in when one is on safari.

allow better accessibility inside, the front windscreen is also made larger and higher to allow the passengers in the rear to see out of the front without being hindered by the roof. The roof itself is split with two hatches built in, both of which can be sat on when opened. They have railings around to grab while following wildlife or for attaching camera equipment. There is no fridge, but enough room for a cool box and the client’s luggage. These safari Land Rovers are all you need for that wild safari of a lifetime. The only worry about changing to the new version of the Land Rover is the electronics. If they fail out in the bush, then Jock believes he will be unable to have a bush mechanic help. so until the confidence builds up, the 300Tdi is the vehicle of choice in the far off bush. The new vehicle is being broken in on trips to the Masai Mara, and more visited parks where help is LRM always at hand.

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