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February 28th 2015

Rover Boys

Robert Bateman and friend Bristol Foster took off from England to travel Africa, Asia, and Australia, in a coach built Land Rover, named Grizzly Torque.

Bristol Foster had completed his Masters in Biology at the University of Toronto and thought a break was in order. Good friend Robert Bateman, a teacher at the time, also liked the idea.

After raising some money, with Foster's dad spotting them the Land Rover (with a few strings attached), they were good to work out the logistics. They purchased a Land Rover cab and chassis in the England and had custom a custom body built on it by Pilcher.

Rover-Landers of BC

Robert Bateman, out the top side hatch, and Bristol Foster.

Preparing for the trip Bristol Foster continued his education, with a Land Rover maintenance course. It went as far as disassembly of pretty much the entire vehicle.

They departed in late 1957 for their journey. Those strings attached by Foster's father were to document the trip. This they did in journals, photographs, films, and paintings. Much of this seems to be coming to light at the present time.

PNG Merlin Archive, Driving

They met everybody from bush people in Africa to the Crown Prince of India. Foster's father was well connected, supplying letters of introduction, and entry to many countries along the route.

PNG Merlin Archive, Driving

30 pygmies on a hunting trip

The only incident was in India where they left the road avoiding a cyclist. A bus load of people helped right Grizzly, so they could continue.

Rover-Landers of BC

Off the wheels in India

Rover-Landers of BC

A bus load of people stood Grizzly up

This was their world for 14 months of travel from East Africa, through India, South East Asia and finally to the end in Sydney,Australia.

Rover-Landers of BC

Pulling an Australian camper unstuck

Grizzly was shipped back to Vancouver and driven back to Foster's home in Toronto. The last know of it was its sale to a fellow grad student who was heading off to work in Texas.

It, unknowingly, came up in a lot of Land Rovers in Williams Lake BC. It was neither wanted as it came into the fold of Stuart Longair and Alan Simpson. It remained outside for years until an Internet picture was spotted of Grizzly on its original journey.

Rover-Landers of BC

Grizzly after all the dots were connected.

Times Colonist

Bristol Foster, left, came to authenticate Grizzly.
Alan Simpson, right, is restoring the Land Rover for this spring

Now that Grizzly has been found it is getting restored to it's original 1957 state. Robert Bateman will even re paint the belt line graphics documenting the trip.

Grizzly, along with pictures, films and artwork are scheduled for the "Rover Boys" exhibit at the Robert Bateman Centre starting May 30th. According to Driving Grizzly is debuting at the All-British Field Meet held at Vancouverís VanDusen Botanical Gardens.

Check out these links for more:
Times Colonist
Ottawa Citizen
Driving.ca
CHEK News Jan 29th
CHEK News Feb 10th
Rover-Landers Forum P1 P2 P3 P4


































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