MZURI - VAC 433
Find of the century !!!
1957 - MZURI 107" Series 1 SW
This is MZURI our 1957 station wagon, with a very very rich History.
We got a phone call late one Saturday night, " Hi mate, not sure if your interested but I have this old Land Rover, the old girl is not going is a bit rusty and has been sitting in the same spot for about 20 years!"
Photo taken 20 years ago
Well it was a no brainer for us, an old Landy that needs saving......"yep we will be there tomorrow! Where are you located?"
So off we travel the 8hrs to Mt Beauty to check out this old girl! We get there and William says "Geez you brought your trailer.......not sure if you are going to really want to take her today she is covered in timber and junk that has been piled up on top of the old girl over the last 20 years!"
Photo taken 20 years later
We took a look and Dave said to me, 'So what do you think........ '
I said 'Absolutely we are not leaving without this Land Rover!!!'
We proceeded to unload all the old timber off her and clear out the chickens that were nesting including all the fresh eggs and old !! Winched her onto the truck and strapped her down nice and tight.
We had a cuppa and some good chats with William and he told us about the adventures that he and his family had in the old girl. We were told about how his kids would camp in the back in the bunks, even when she was parked up and not running anymore. This car had a lot of sentimental value, we felt honoured that he allowed us to buy it and take on the new guardianship of this great car!
We were given a folder that had her old rego plates from the UK, VAC 433, and a bunch of official letters from Land Rover in Solihull. We were also told that he thought that there was an old story of the car being in a movie or something in Africa and we thought wow that's cool, this car just keeps getting more and more interesting!
We get home very late, I get some dinner on and Dave gets to work searching on google about a famous 1957 Series 1 Station Wagon Land Rover ........ after 1/2 an hour or so he remembered the old plates....he put into google search VAC 433......... and BINGO! A mass amount of information came up... "Where's Vac 433 now"...... we are like "we have her" hahaha.
A little bit of History
“We drove, surrendering our car and ourselves to one of the most punishing trips on earth” - Jinx Rodger
As we researched this car we learnt that Mzuri was her name meaning "very Good" in Swahili and she was purchased by George Rodgers, a famous photographer and his wife Jinx. They used this Land Rover on their expedition to the Sahara desert, which was featured in the story 'Sand in my Eyes' in the National Geograhic magazine May 1958. MZURI also took them through Africa on another expedition for the national Geographic, featuring the story 'Elephants have right of way'.
Mzuri then moved onto a new home at Brantwood House, where we believe she was used to help with the gardens and landscaping.
Purchased in 1962 by Sam Critchley who embarked on a huge transformation for the car so it could travel to Australia. 2 extra fuel tanks were added, the chassis was extended by 6“, a dual battery set up and a Rover 6 cylinder motor was fitted along with an overdrive. The car was with Sam until he passed away In Victoria in 1985.
Then purchased by William McKelvey down in MT Beauty Victoria, who had it sitting for some 30 years until we stumbled across her in late 2015.
We feel ever so greatfull and privileged to be custodians of such an amazing car with an incredible rich History.
Our plans for MZURI are to swap her rusty firewall out for a good one and get her back up and running but with a sympathetic restoration.
Stay tuned for more on Mzuri.....
PHOTO: Mzuri as she is now in our shed, awaiting our undivided attention to fix her fire wall and motor!