Tom Sheppard's new vehicle . . .

. . . is a Jeep.

Those who are familiar with Tom's many significant expeditions into the Sahara (including the first west-to-east crossing from the Atlantic to the Red Sea), and his subsequent articles and books (especially the seminal Vehicle Dependent Expedition Guide), will remember his Land Rovers and more recent Mercedes G-Wagen. Tom sold the G-Wagen when it appeared he might not be able to return to his beloved Algeria; but recent developments have rekindled hope. So this time around he decided to try a Jeep Wrangler.

The vehicle is a short-wheelbase model - another departure for Sheppard - but is of course equipped with the fine 2.8 VM turbodiesel, and an automatic transmission - interestingly, the same transmission fitted to the Mercedes, and the praises of which he sings highly. When we visited him this week (and attempted vainly to keep up on a brisk five-mile walk to nearby Hitchin), he showed us the modifications he's done so far, all of which are oriented toward Tom's preferred method of travel: solo vehicle, solo driver, with off-tracks sections sometimes hundreds of miles in extent.

Obviously the requires meticulous preparation and calculations in a landscape as remote as the Algerian Sahara. I'll be reporting in depth on some of the changes to the Jeep as soon as we're back from Kenya.  

 With the passenger seat removed, Tom gains storage space - and the floor is now long enough to sleep on if necessary.