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Giants of auto exploring honoured

2011-03-11 09:49


BEAULIEU, England - A host of vehicles that have recorded great feats of endurance - many of them through Africa - have gone on display at the UK's National Motor Museum.

Their common denominator has been their "stretching of boundaries of motoring endurance in extreme conditions and on challenging terrain." Hence the show's title: 'Feats of Endurance'... and one of the cars on show is an Austin Westminster that completed a 28 000km drive from Norway’s North Cape to Cape Town way back in 1955.

Throughout history mankind has felt the need to explore and, with the invention of mechanised road transport, new challenges became possible and motorists and motorcyclists were soon pushing both themselves and their machines to perform new feats of endurance. Long journeys have tested drivers and machines from the earliest days of motoring, one of the earliest being the 14 500km Peking-Paris Rally in 1907.

Adventures have often taken vehicles where few thought it possible. They have penetrated jungles and rain forests or been driven across deserts and frozen expanses, whether to compete in long distance rallying, promote a cause or test new technology.

AUTOMOTIVE TOUGH GUYS: A man exhibit is the Land Rover that won the 1989 Camel Trophy and, on the right, a Mini that's been around the world... twice!

The vehicles on display illustrate all these motivations. Exhibits include the Land Rover 110 Turbodiesel that won the Camel trophy in 1989 and a 1978 Mini 1275GT and trailer that has twice driven round the world for charity.

Two-wheeled travellers on display include a Triumph Tiger 100 that in 1973 was taken on an epic adventure round the world, covering more than 100 000km, and a Guinness World Record-breaking BMW R1150GS Adventure.

The exhibition will run until the end of October, 2011.

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