Kenya 101Spotting
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101 Spotting anoraks at the ready

Whilst at Darren Parson's getting some last minute spare parts before we left he asked us to photograph any 101's we came across as we travelled for the clubs registry and if possible get their chassis numbers to add to the clubs database of known vehicles. On this front we have done quite well so far discovering chassis no.9600001A lurking in the Nairobi suburbs. According to DP this vehicle was last reported in Australia! It was also known that this was a trailer drive vehicle but not that the original Rubery Owen equipment had been replaced with Scottorn equipment.

 

He knew there were some other 101's around but didn't know any of the chassis numbers or have any photos for us to pass on to Darren so we set off on our own 101 safaris to see what we could find. He did have the telephone number of the chief mechanic at Fig Tree Camp who runs a fleet of 101's but more about him later.

Photo 1216 Paul Imison's Kenya Army GS at Land Marque services Nairobi


 We began our safari by having lunch in Karen and then driving south along the Langata road. As we passed the entrance to 4 Wheel Drive Maintenance Helen looked inside and thought she saw a 101. We turned round in the convenient petrol station and we went in to investigate. Much to her surprise it was a 101, although it did have an unusual canvas top.
  
Photo 1376 Donor vehicle, (Ch. no. 9640065A)
 
     

Photo 1378 Safari vehicle (Ch. No. 95700020A)
  We went in and spoke to Glenn Matthews the owner of the workshop. The 101 was one of a pair that belonged to a client of his and was being used as a donor vehicle to make a shiny new safari vehicle but it looked in better condition than many other 101ís Iíve seen. We took some photos and noted down the chassis numbers, a good start with two 101ís.
     
Glenn has two 101ís of his own and he kindly showed us some photos and we noted down the chassis numbers. He had rescued one of his 101ís from a builderís yard where it was being used as a shelf. He used to have three but had sold one and it is now down on the Tana river, we got the chassis number but as itís not really in Nairobi it only half counts but we were now up to 5 plus ours and Paulís.
Leaving Glenn we turned off towards Ongata Rongai, a suburb of Nairobi, to try and find John Beasley. The previous weekend we had been to stay at Whistling Thorns, a campsite just outside Nairobi and were warmly greeted by Marie-Louise and Mike who, much to our surprise, recognised the 101! They have a Series II Forward Control amongst their Land Rover collection and they gave us directions to John.
We found Johns and peered at his 101. Sadly it was no longer a 101, it had been heavily modified for use as a safari vehicle and now had a wheelbase of about 124 inches.
     
Photo1386 Stretched 101 (Ch. No. 96400296A) 
 
     
     
 An interesting modification was the addition of helper coils above the rear springs. John had found that the springs were not really designed for Kenyan roads and getting new ones was nearly impossible and locally made ones just did not last. If anyone is interested then it is for sale, along with a load of parts including springs. We found the chassis number under the rubber matting and took some photos to add to the list, total now 6.  
 
 Photo 1391 Double shocked with coil spring helpers
     
From Johnís we went to the G.T. Go-Karting centre to follow up a lead Glenn had given us. There we were warmly and enthusiastically greeted by Nick Wood. He owns a very interesting 101 which we saw at the weekend. It is a pre production model and was used as a government demo vehicle originally fitted with a Rubery Owens powered trailer currently with a Scottorn Bushmaster Mark II powered trailer. This set up apparently works quite well, Nic claims it will climb up trees, but it was rolled at some stage as a result of the drive from the trailer and a careless driver (not Nic). It was bought from Crook Brothers in the UK and is still on UK plates. The 101 was close to the original specification except for (purists look away now) the Nissan diesel engine the previous owner had fitted.
     


Photo 1397 Pre-production demo vehicle (Ch. No. 96100001A)

 
     

Photo 1407 Powered trailer
 
     
There the safari suspended, we resumed the next week when we visited Balvinder Sinuh of Fig Tree Camp. He looks after a fleet of six 101ís for Fig Tree Camp in the Masai Mara and they all have rows of seats in the back and canvas tops. He gave us the chassis numbers of all six vehicles, which had been shipped out specifically for fig Tree Camp from the UK.
There were two 101ís in the workshop as it was low season along with a row of V8 engines.
     
 

Photo 1412 Currently being overhauled (Ch. No. 95600286A)
 
Balvinder is slowly changing them across to diesels to reduce the volume of fuel they use.
A few weeks later we were down in the Masai Mara game reserve and visited Fig Tree Camp for lunch and were shown into the maintenance yard to see two of the 101ís

Photo 1479 Safari trucks at Fig Tree Camp Masai Mara
(Ch. Nos. 95600518A and 95600801A)

and we found a third in the car park.

They looked well looked after and ideal for seeing game, as they are so high up.


Photo 1483 Waiting for guests (Ch. No. 95600799A)
   
Our 101 safari ended with a grand total of 13 chassis numbers collected, and photos of 9 of them. Not all were in Nairobi itself but all were in Kenya. We know there are more out there, Governorís camp in the Masai Mara have some. So if anyone is thinking of going to Kenya on their holidays they can continue the quest.
And as you leave Jomo Kenyatta airport driving towards Nairobi, pay special attention to the billboards in the middle of the roadÖ

 

 

   
 
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