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1978 Jeep Expedition of the Americas

• CATEGORIES: Features, videos • TAGS: .

Mark Smith was the leader of the 1978 Jeep Expedition of the Americas (also known as the Expedicion de Las America), a 20,000-mile, 120 day odyssey that covered the Americas. Much of the trip was on roads, with the offloading of the the Darien Gap, the section of land between Colombia and Panama, the focus of the trip.

The narrator in the movie notes, rather dramatically and erroneously, that the Gap had only been crossed once before by the British Army. In fact, the Darien Gap had been crossed at least once before in 1960 by a group in a Landrover and a Willys truck, the story of which was published in National Geographic and clearly titled “We Drove Panama’s Darien Gap“. Though Frank and Helen Schreider drove the entire length of the Americas in their SEEP, Tortuga, in 1954, one place they didn’t attempt to drive, but instead floated around, was the Darien Gap.

Fortunately for us, the 1978 trip was captured on video, so we can enjoy some of what they saw during their adventure. Vimeo currently has a twenty-seven minute video of the trip. It’s a little dated at times, but still interesting to watch:

expedition-darien-gap

 

 

7 Comments on “1978 Jeep Expedition of the Americas

  1. Iowa steve

    interesting use of their aluminum ladders for crossing small gullies and spreading the weight on he rafts.

  2. John North Willys

    STEVE ? — I USE THOSE SAME ALUMINUM LADDERS TO TRAVERSE THE KHUMBU ICEFALL ON MT EVEREST — BON APETIT

  3. Dave

    I wonder what ever became of those CJ-7s.

    I wonder how the mission to complete the Sandship Discovery’s trip is doing. Haven’t heard anything of it since 2017. They were hoping to get through some part of the middle east as I recall.

  4. Andy

    Saw a “Dirt Everyday” episode that talked about this trip and they actually drove Mark Smith’s Jeep from the trip.

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