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1983 Zaire Camel Trophy Land Rover Series III

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I've always been a bit ambivalent about both Land Rover and overlanding. The Camel Trophy produced some nice photos for sure, but... it was Land Rover man, and even though I owned a Series II once, Land Rover is just not my bag.

Michael's Land Rover Series II

Then, in the summer of 2020 JS Scale hosted an RC event styled along the lines of SuperScale and USTE. The highlight of that event was the Camel Trophy (Papua New Guinea) trail they laid out. Jerome of JS Scale lent me his Defender 90 (thank you 😃) so I was able to participate.

2020 JS Scale Camel Trophy Papua Neu Guinea (

It was the best trail I've run in my life! And so I came home from that event wanting my own Camel Trophy truck for next year's event (the 2021 event will be based on Mundo Maya).

JS Scale Experience - Mundo Maya - June 11-13, 2021

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The Rules

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The Truck

There are already many, many Camel Trophy Defenders, and almost as many Range Rovers. Some are starting to build Discoveries, but to date I've seen only one Series III, and no Freelanders. So mine will be a scratch-built 88' Series III based on the 1983 event in Zaire (now the DRC), which was the only Camel Trophy event to see a Series Land Rover. Competitors drove 88" Series III station wagons, and the support crew 109" station wagons.

The trucks were equipped with hot climate equipment packs which included an 8-blade fan, double fan belts, an oil cooler, and fan shrouds. They also had the adventure kit, which included a roof rack, winch, auxiliary lights, bridging ladders, steering guards, and jerry cans.

The journey began in Kinshasa, and tarversed most of the country to Kisangani, 1,600km away in the northeast. The trip took 16 days. Famously one of the one 109" support trucks burnt out when an Italian journalist set it on fire by tipping over an oil stove. Here are two videos of the event in Zaire -

1983 Camel Trophy Zaire - part 1 (

1983 Camel Trophy Zaire - part 2 (

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The Blueprints

Scale   1:8.4
Wheelbase: 267mm
Width: 200mm
Length: 445mm
Height: TBD
Track width: 164mm (middle of L tyre to middle of R tyre) / 190mm (outside of L tyre to outside of R tyre)

Land Rover Series III '88 bluprint front view

Land Rover Series III '88 bluprint side view

Land Rover Series III '88 bluprint top view

Land Rover Series III '88 bluprint rear view

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The Build

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