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Status Late October 2013

Since the conception of the tour’s idea in June 2011, Elisabeth and Fred have worked unceasingly to prepare the car and the trailer, and themselves for the five year trip that will offer a totally new and different life style. Their house has been prepared for renting out, employment is being terminated, bank accounts changed etc.

The preparations of the Mercedes are well under way. The completely refurbished rear and front axles are ready for installation, the drive train overhauled and steering components replaced. The engine is being overhauled and scheduled for installation in mid-November. Electrical works, including the fitting of a new high output alternator and advanced security system are due for completion before Christmas. A full under-body protection system is awaiting fitting underneath the car.

The modifications of the Zambezi are nearing completion. Extensive electrical systems were built to provide for the trailer’s power, using supply either from the car’s 12-14V or the 110-240V, 50 and 60Hz pole power to be encountered in the world; a major challenge as the trailer is small and weight is to be kept to an absolute minimum. A wet-weather closing locker and a 40-litre water tank are being manufactured, while modifications to the tent include an extension to the kitchen, the strengthening of the tent at various load points, and numerous new pockets and tie-downs. Security improvements, including a purpose-built alarm system with satellite tracker are being completed.

Fred and Elisabeth expect the car and trailer to be operational late January 2014, ready for a 2,500 mile shake-down, followed by further work and modifications. It is anticipated that the car and trailer will be ready for shipping in a 40-foot container to the USA early April 2014.

The Idea

Mid 2011 Fred had to travel from Wellington to Seattle for a meeting of operators of national scientific research vessels, for which Fred represented New Zealand. During a stop-over in Sydney Fred bought the  English motoring magazine Classic & Sports Car, June 2011 edition, featuring a 31-page feature “101 Ways to Live the Classic Dream”.

Classic Car June 2011 - AdjustedNumber 82 on that list was “Drive across the USA from coast to coasts” and Fred thought “wouldn’t that be a fantastic thing to do with their own Mercedes”?

Classic Car June 2011-1-1That same evening Fred called Elisabeth and said that he wanted to take the Mercedes across America for a photograph in front of the White House. Elisabeth responded “great” and the first decision was made. Soon the trip plans expanded and Europe and Russia were added to the list.

A few months later Elisabeth decided to buy the Rough Guide of North-America, but accidentally bought the Middle and South America Guide. To get their money’s worth out of that book the couple decided to visit those continents as well.