After 2,000 breakdowns in 100 countries, intrepid £700 Land Rover goes on display

A well-travelled Land Rover that was driven around 100 countries and broke down nearly 2,000 times in eight years has gone on display in a museum.

Matilda negotiates a dirt track in Arizona near the Grand Canyon. Picture: SWNS

Avid traveller Christopher Many, 49, bought the vehicle for £700 in 2002 while working on the Caledonian Canal near Fort William.

In June 2002, after spending 18 months working in Scotland, Mr Many decided to travel the world in the 1975-built Series III Land Rover.

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After making some modifications to the vehicle – nicknamed Matilda – including elevating its roof, Mr Many set off on the ten-year trip.

He arrived in Scotland after completing his first adventure from Europe to Australia on his motorbike between 1997 and 2000.

He said: “After the first motorcycle trip I met someone in New Zealand who made Scotland sound very exciting.

“I had never been there before. I shipped the motorbike over to Scotland and started working with British Waterways in Inverness.

“I saw this crazy old Land Rover sitting in a field and loved it. I located the owner and asked if I could buy it. He agreed and I bought it for £700.

“I loved my 18 months in Scotland, it was a great job and the canals are beautiful.”

Mr Many, an author who was born in New York City and raised in Bavaria, Germany, set off for Scandinavia on the first leg of his trip, driving up through Norway.

The intrepid traveller crossed east into Russia and spent a year travelling across Siberia. He ventured through the bitterly cold Russian winter before reaching Vladivostok and shipping Matilda to Canada.

Travelling down through North America, he spent four years in Central and South America. From there he continued on to Africa, where he spent another four years driving from South Africa through Namibia, Botswana, Angola, DRC, Malawi and up the continent’s east coast – through Somalia, Sudan and Egypt.

While in Africa, he met his partner Laura Pattara.

He said: “I travelled most of the time alone with the Land Rover. For six years I was mostly by myself. I met Laura in Malawi in 2008. We fell in love by Lake Malawi and she jumped in my Land Rover.”

Mr Many carried out 1,667 repairs on Matilda over around 3,000 days – one every second day on average.

Mr Many bled Matilda’s brakes 52 times, replaced 86 brake shoes, 59 suspension bushes, 40 spark plugs, 18 condensers, four coils, 12 contact-breaker plates, four distributor caps, 20 suspension leaves, eight universal joints and two prop shafts.

He also had 65 flat tyres and three gearbox rebuilds.

He said: “Not once did I need a hand repairing it, it’s like a Lego set.”

Mr Many donated the vehicle to Landy Point, a classic car museum in southern Germany, where it has now gone on display.