Jeep Chris Collard leads a team of adventurers to recreate the 1969 East-West Australia Expedition, in the all-new JL Wrangler
American Off Road Hall of Fame inductee, Chris Collard, has accomplished a milestone drive across the desolate Simpson Desert as part of the Jeep BFGoodrich East-West traverse of Australia.
The rugged northern reaches of the Simpson have gone un-navigated for over 50 years, but last week a group of travelled adventurers led by Collard succeeded the feat, as part of the recreation of the iconic 1969 expedition of Ian McDonald’s team.
The Simpson Desert drive is just one leg of the month-long Jeep BFGoodrich East-West expedition. Piloting a 2018 Wrangler JL Overland 4-door, Collard led five Jeeps from Birdsville to an abandoned oil well known as Beachcomber. From there, the group set a course due west to the Simpson’s geographic centre and then to Old Andado Station.
For the expedition, the Jeep JL Overland was in factory form with the exception of a long-range fuel cell, suspension lift, steel Mopar bumper, and Warn winch.
Collard, who has driven across all seven continents by four-wheel drive said the new JL Wrangler is one of the most capable vehicles ever produced.
“It is comfortable, powerful, economical, and did the entire 900-kilometres crossing without so much as a loose valve stem cap,” said Collard.
Ian McDonald, who drove a Jeep CJ Overland during the original expedition, joined the team in Cape Byron along with mate and filmmaker John Eggleston. The octogenarians shared tales of the `69 trip and compared their vintage vehicles to the modern Jeep.
“There is no comparison to what we drove…these new Jeeps are just amazing,” said Ian McDonald.
From Alice Springs the expedition will follow McDonald’s tracks to Ayer’s Rock, the Olgas, and through the vast expanses of Western Australia. By the time the team reaches Steep Point, the westernmost promontory on the continent, they will have passed through every state and covered more than 5,000 kilometres.
Guillaume Drelon, Director, Brand Product Strategy at FCA Australia said expeditions like the BFGoodrich East-West traverse are a great example of everything Jeep stands for.
“Iconic drives like this align to Jeep’s love for adventure and freedom and the ability to get out there and discover the world – all whilst having a bit of fun too.
“We’re proud to support this great drive across Australia, and are so pleased to see the most capable 4×4, the JL Wrangler, drive through the centre of Australia,” said Guillaume Drelon.
For more information on this and upcoming Jeep treks, visit SevenSlotExpedition.