You Are There: The Moment When Smoking Unfiltered Cigarettes Officially Became Slightly More Dangerous Than Driving
The Camel Trophy was an endurance race run through various third-world hellholes to see whose jeep or jeep-like vehicle would break down last, or which team of competitors would run out of unfiltered cigarettes last. The cigarettes were to cover the stink of the smelly Frenchman or Turk or whatever in the passenger seat, generally, and when you ran out, you’d quit. Failing that, you could always burn your car to a cinder making tea on the engine block if you were a smelly Brit, instead. The race was run for twenty years, from 1980 through 2000, when people just started staying home and waiting for natural disasters to signal the beginning of races to the 7-11 in their econoboxes to buy milk and bread.
2 thoughts on “You Are There: The Moment When Smoking Unfiltered Cigarettes Officially Became Slightly More Dangerous Than Driving”
It’s the scratchy voice over that gets me. As if 1980 were 1950. As if the editor’s gone mad with nicotine.
I knew a guy who drove either the whole world or just Asia. Whatever. The best part was listening to his wife giving him hell for being gone too long. As you say: time has changed us irrevocably. The cell phone made this whole thing way less daunting, and way less fun.
Ah, borderline sociopathic sports…………..
My local used land-rover dealer often had ex-camel trophy competitor and support vehicles through the 80s and 90s. I always wanted to buy one of the mobile workshop vehicles, but could never afford one. For vehicles that had been hammered through jungles and submerged in rivers, they certainly held their price well.
I have to grumble at your description ‘Jeep or jeep-like vehicle’, only in year one did they use anything like a jeep, though it was really 3 Ford U-50s, built in Brazil, and loosely based on a Jeep CJ5.
All the other years they used proper off-roaders, hundred of them, all built by Land Rover, and totally un-jeep-like.
Not sure if you’ve come across the greatest Borderline Sociopathic Jeep driver? Ben Carlin. An Aussie soldier/engineer who heard a colleague say he wouldn’t want to drive a Ford GPA amphibious jeep across a river, because it wasn’t safe. Ben replied that he bet he could drive one across the Atlantic. The outcome? He did… And then went on to drive it by land and sea to Australia.
He named it “Half Safe”.
Video here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-Gqi-RlbO0
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