Herbert Zipkin's Expedition Land Rover
Herbert Zipkin's 1959 Series II Land Rover 109 station wagon was
modified as a long distance cinematography expedition vehicle and
was used on two half year long photo expeditions. The first
took place in 1959 and 1960. The route was from The UK through
France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Yugoslavia, Greece,
Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan, Eritera, Abyssania, Kenya,
Uganda, Tanganyika, Ruanda, Belgian Congo, Basutoland, Zululand,
Union of South Africa to cape Town. the second six
month expedition took place in 1961 and 1962. The route started
in Holland and proceeded through Belgium, France, Germany, Poland,
Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan,
India, Burma, Thailand, Malaya, Hong Kong and finished in Japan. During
his trips, Herbert shot over 15,000 feet of movie film.
I met Herbert in 1998 at a Land Rover gathering in New
York where we gave each other a tour of our Land Rovers. We each
picked up a few ideas from the other's Land Rover that we said
we would like to add to ours. This page is a tribute to Herbert
Zipkin and his well built 1959 109 Land Rover station wagon. The
black and white pictures are copyright by Herbert Zipkin used
with his permision. The
colour pictures are mine. Field and Stream magazine did an article
on Herbert Zipkin's Land Rover in 1964. Herbert gave me a
is attached as an Adobe Acrobat file.
Herbert Zipkin posing with his Land Rover. The man and his machine.
Herbert Zipkin with his camera set up for roof top cinematography.
The front jerry can mounts holds a little over 20 gallons of petrol. The
wing top pods for the turn signals were a Land Rover item
that was sold with their front jerry can mount kits. Under
the jerry cans on each side is a fog lamp protected in a cage.
Here's a picture of the front from a low angle showing the fog
lamp cage and winch. Notice that the external sun visor has been
modified to be out of the way from someone filming from the passenger
Here is a side view. The front wing has a list of countries visited
and the map on the front door shows the routes.
Herbert posing beside his Land Rover.
According to Herbert the big horns on the roof were there to get
animals off the roads and out of the way. Those two roof
lights are actually spotlights that can be aimed from inside the
The air deflector at the back of the roof rack sent air downwards
along the back door area to keep the dust off the rear window
and more importantly from forcing itself through the rear door
seals and creating a layer of dust inside. According
to Herbert it made all the difference about how dusty the inside
got. Note that Herb carried 2 spare tyres (one on the rear
door and one on the bonnet) and stored tyre chains on the spares.
The top two red containers are for drinking water.
Note that the left rear toolbox has an outside door for access.
Herb has ladders mounted on each side. They can be assembled together
for a longer ladder or according to Herb, used as sand
He frequently traveled with the front side door tops removed so he built storage
brackets to fit them to the body just outside the rear side windows.
This is a close up of the upper ladder brackets.
Here's a close up of one of the door top mounting brackets.
These rubber bumpers appear to be from the seat back rest and are
used to keep the door tops stable and from hitting against the
A tripod and large first aid kit were fitted to the inside of the
rear door for quick access.
Here is the inside from the rear door. The seating is for 3 people,
two up front and one at the right second row. The sink
is in the low cabinet opposite the rear side sat by the left
rear side door. The
bunks hang from the ceiling. The gray tubes at the top
corners are the bunks in their stowed position.
Here's a view from the driver's seat looking back. The side seat
converts to a short bed. That map storage cabinet across the
top back over the rear door is where I got the idea for my tea
cabinet in the same location.
Herbert and his Land Rover at the 1998 Greek Peak New York Land Rover meet.
photo by Michael Glass
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