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Christopher Bruce2013-02-13 15:42:37

Fiat Completes Journey from Cape Town to London in Record Time

Record stood since 1983

The car was basically stock except for some changes to improve reliability

Drivers Philip Young and Paul Brace smashed the record for a drive from Cape Town, South Africa, to London, England, in 10 days, 13 hours and 28 minutes. The previous record was 14 days, 19 hours and 26 minutes set by British Army Brigadier John Hemsley in a Range RoverRange RoverLand Rover Range RoverUnited Kingdom, 1983 > present1 photo
in 1983. Young and Brace did not use a hardcore off-roader to make the drive; they used a slightly modified Panda TwinAirPanda 0.9 TwinAir LoungeFiat Panda 0.9 TwinAir Lo...Italy, 2012 > present3 photos

Young and Brace had predicted that they would make the 10,300-mile (16,576km) journey in 11 days and 14 hours and beat that time by over a day. The men drove over a 1,000 miles a day at an average speed of about 40mph. The drive took them through South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, then across the Mediterranean to Italy, France and finally to Hyde Park in London. 

The modifications to the Panda TwinAir for the journey included removing the rear seats to be replaced with a bed and extra fuel tank, two spare wheels, underbody guards, upgraded springs with a higher ride height, a higher air intake and extra lights. The team replaced the stock seats with sheepskin-covered seats from a Volvo 340Volvo 300 SeriesSweden, 1974 > 19915 versions
, which the drivers prefer for their comfort. They also insulated the roof to make the car cooler. 

“The roads were treacherous, the heat unbearable and the timetable exhausting, but the car never missed a beat. This was an extremely tough journey, and FiatFiatFiatItaly, 1899 > present159 models
4918 photos
35 videos
can be proud of its reliability and ruggedness," said Young. 

Young and Brace were experienced rally raid drivers. They competed together in the 2012 London to Cape Town Rally and both men competed in the 1986 Paris-Dakar Rally.

The drive from Cape Town to London was completed for the first time in 1924 in a CrosselyCrossleyCrossleyUnited Kingdom, 1903 > 19475 models
. It took from September to December to make the journey. 

Young and Brace recorded their journey in a series of blog entries. 

Panda Gen.3Panda Gen.3
Panda 4x4 0.9 TwinAir TurboPanda 4x4 0.9 TwinAir Turbo
Straight 2
53 cu in
Top Speed
103 mph
6, Manual
Maximum power
85 hp @ 5500 rpm
Fuel consumption (combined)
$ 23.716
* based on Germany prices
annual ownership cost
$ 1.338




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