13,000 miles, 23 countries and Oxford, a 1955 Land Rover Series I: An Interview with Alex Bescoby, Author and Filmmaker of The Last Overland

After spending some time with Alex Bescoby, it doesn’t take long to be completely disarmed by his charm and charisma. A conversation with Alex seems less akin to getting to know a stranger, and more like catching up with a long-time friend. And if one thing can describe just how much of a jovial person Alex is, then let this tiny anecdote he shared about how he got his watch stolen in Argentina while filming a documentary paint a picture for you – “It was the nicest robbery I’ve ever been a part of.”

Alex Bescoby, Author and Filmmaker of The Last Overland

In a crowded bar, he blends right in, participating in each new interaction with the same warm enthusiasm. Standing next to him however, you would never guess that the guy is an established documentary filmmaker, premiering successful works such as In Forgotten Allies which explores the bygone history of WWII in south-east Asia, as well as a documentary entitled We Were Kings, which tells the true story of Burma’s lost royal family, and won Alex the inaugural award for the first-ever Whicker’s World Foundation Funding Award. Enamored by world history, Alex has traveled to the far corners of the globe in search of interesting stories to tell, but more importantly, to shed light on a locale’s culture and current events. More recently, Alex completed one of the most epic road trips ever to be documented by summiting what those in the overlanding community call, the Mount Everest of motoring.

CCC Manhattan

In an event hosted by Bremont at the Classic Car Club in Manhattan, Alex was scheduled to give a talk about his book and docu-series called The Last Overland. The Classic Car Club is an enormous space situated right along the Hudson River and is home to a collection of head-turning vehicles, including the classically analog 1987 328 Ferrari and a powder blue 1974 BMW M2, parked and displayed for all of its club members (and event attendees, including myself) to experience. In a loft perched above the garage and overlooking the entire concourse, drinks were served as Bremont presented their latest novelties including the well-proportioned H1 Fury and the next-generation Supernova.

The Well-Proportioned Bremont H1 Fury

It seemed like for the most part, the crowd was unaware of The Last Overland story. In true fashion, Alex immediately had the bunch laughing and engaged. After several minutes into his talk, he asked a question to the entire room, “Who here has traveled to Singapore?” Several hands went up. He followed with, “And how did you get there?” Everyone’s obvious answer was by plane. Alex pulled up a map of Euro-Asia with two bold lines, one blue and one red, meandering across both continents between London and Singapore. Alex then said, “Imagine the sheer lunacy of driving 13,000 miles, crossing 23 countries, in a 70 year-old Land Rover.”

Earlier that day, Alex and I sat down in the bustling lobby of the Crosby Hotel in SoHo. Over a cup of coffee we got to talk about The Last Overland, the connection between Land Rover and Bremont, and his next exciting overland adventure on the horizon.


So, The Last Overland, what an insane adventure. The book and docu-series was heavily inspired by six young men who originally made the London to Singapore trek in 1955, one of whom was Tim Slessor, the author of The First Overland. What did it mean to have Tim as a part of the entire thing?

He is a pretty unique character. He’s magnetic and maniacally determined. What’s so wonderful about Tim, is that he just refuses to retire. His lifeforce is incredibly compelling. He’s the reason why The Last Overland happened. People from all over the world gravitated towards his story. They wanted him to see the whole project through, because in a way, he was doing it for the rest of us. 

“This Is Motoring!” Tim Slessor

Age isn’t a barrier to living a full life. The idea of this journey has been with him for almost 70 years since he went back in 1955. Tim doesn’t feel 92 years old at all, but he felt that everything could be taken away like that. That’s why the mantra for The Last Overland was, “Now or never.” Get out there while your body allows you to, before life passes you by, and that resonated with so many people. 

Besides Tim’s incredible accomplishment and can-do spirit, what attracted you to this project?

The sheer lunacy is what attracted me. You should be allowed to go out and do mad things. Therein lies amazing stories. After reading The First Overland and understanding the historical significance of it all, I was obsessed. To do anything of this magnitude, you have to be an obsessive, and life has to bend around that obsession. 

I’ve always been inspired by past explorers. I’m never going to climb Everest, and I’ve read many books about it going wrong. I try not to put myself in physical peril. For me, it’s just a pleasure to get out in the world, to meet people, and to do these things.

In fairness, being at a border crossing with your team, and armed soldiers yelling at you in a language you don’t understand. There’s some kind of danger there, no? 

There were moments there. But my general approach in life is that people are decent, people are nice. I’ve traveled all over the world to very dangerous places and I’ve always been looked after. At that point, I wasn’t really worried for my own safety. I was more so thinking I was reckless because I brought my friends into this situation. 

How Did Oxford Get To Its Top Speed Of 60 + MPH … They Took The Doors Off!

Thankfully we were able to diffuse a situation with angry people that were heavily armed. We told them the story. Showed them the book and the trailers. They responded, “This is mad!” Once they got it, it was disarming. That’s the best thing about Oxford the Land Rover. Turning up in that thing, automatically disarmed people. People were curious. People were amused. It was such a joy to turn up in that thing.

That’s the same thing here in the states when you drive an older Land Rover. Whether you’re at a grocery store parking lot, or at a gas station, people just want to come by, say hello, and check out the car. What is it about Land Rover that makes you and your Dad so passionate about the brand in the first place? 

It’s an unusual brand. They have this ability to elicit real devotion and to bring together people around the world that I have not seen in any other car brand. There’s this genuine affection. I was sort of a late convert. If your dad is really passionate about something, you rebel, right? The Last Overland for me was an induction into why people care so much. 

It did take driving 13,000 miles across the planet to meditate on it. It’s a sheer mechanical genius of a thing. Yes, older Land Rovers require a lot of devotion but it’s amazing that something that was designed in 1947 could still drive across the planet. 

The other thing I learned about the brand is that they’re so tied up with family stories. In the UK, I found out everywhere we went, people bought a Land Rover because it reminded them of someone, or some time in their life. The biggest privilege of The Last Overland was being the recipient of everyone’s stories. We’d be stopped in India, Malaysia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Germany, Belgium by all sorts of people and they’d say, “Let me tell you about the first Land Rover I ever bought and let me tell you why.” 

What’s lovely about an old Land Rover, is that they allow you to bring a piece of home with you overseas. I think human beings to varying degrees are split between a desire to wander and a desire to belong. Some people might have a bigger dose of each, but we all have it. What I love about Land Rover is that you could take a piece of home and drive it to China. These things end up having souls.


Sort of like a watch, right?!

Yes, absolutely!

In Japanese folklore, there’s this thing called Tsukumogami, which translates to, “Tools that have acquired a spirit.” I think objects, whether it be an old Land Rover, a watch , or anything of that nature, develop a soul when you start doing stuff with it and start building memories into it. It slowly becomes an extension of you. 

You’re absolutely right. Oxford has an incredible story. The story of its discovery, on a desolate island in the middle of nowhere is already amazing. There’s a sense of that car wanting to be driven again. People went out of their way to return the car to its glory. The owner wanted it to be driven.

Alex’s Wrist-check

It’s like a watch. If you have a drawer full of watches it’s kind of sad. Because they should be worn. I wore my Bremont into the ground. The watch has so many scratches on it and the strap is battered. I’ve had it in and out of engines. Up and down mountains. These things are meant to be used. And like Oxford, it has been everywhere. 

There’s a nice parallel between a really lovely watch and a really lovely old car. In that the technology is old, but it’s still A, perfectly functional and B, beautiful. I think driving across the world in a 1955 Land Rover Defender, something that was modeled after a Willys Jeep from WWII, can still transport you across the planet, in a really enjoyable way. It can still climb some of the most difficult roads on earth. Some of the most difficult drives have been done in a piece of technology that was designed 80 years ago. And I love that.

How did the partnership with Bremont come about?

In a way, they have the same ethos as Land Rover. Bremont is all about beautifully putting together traditional and British design, and celebrating that. There’s also a streak of madness in everything that they do. 

There is a little bit, right?

And I love that! I knew when we approached them back in 2018 to talk about The Last Overland, Giles said, “Why didn’t you come sooner!”  It was such a perfect fit. I mean they love their cars, they love their planes. 

With Nick and Giles, there’s no artifice at all. They have built themselves a company that is an extension of their passions, which are automotive, design, and having fun. And slightly refusing to grow up, which we’re all guilty of. They’ve built themselves the beautiful Wing in Henley. The heart of it is the onshoring of the watchmaking process and making it all made in the UK which I didn’t know wasn’t already being done. They’ve made their own little community down there where they can bring speakers and amazing vehicles, helicopters landing on the roof, and people flying in jetpacks everywhere. Boys and adventure HQ. For me it was never a chore to talk about Bremont and their story because everything they’re doing has the eccentric sense of British adventure. It naturally overlapped. 

I have the utmost respect for people that turn their passion into a career, and maintain the joy. The worst thing is to turn a passion into a career and then have it feel like work. Every time I spend time with Nick and Giles, I get a sense of joy because they bring a level of infectious joy to everything that they do. They live the company. It’s a vehicle for them to express their passions. 


Back to The Last Overland, there’s this saying, “The adventure doesn’t start until something goes wrong.” 

Oh man, don’t remind me. 

Adventure Doesn’t Start Until Something Goes Wrong

Sorry about that. Can you point out any challenges that stuck out to you, whether they be physical, mental, or logistical?

Driving almost a 70 year old car comes with its own set of challenges.You’ve got no power steering, no disc brakes, and are working with a leaf spring suspension. It’s physically demanding to drive. Even on a good road it doesnt stay in a straight line. You have to be aware of everything that’s going on. You can’t daydream. You can’t listen to the radio or talk to anyone because it’s too noisy. So you’re just in the machine and it’s quite tiring. Then there’s the changes in temperatures. It was sub zero temperatures in Tibet, over 100 degrees fahrenheit in southeast Asia and everything in between. If it was raining outside, it was raining inside. You feel everything. Four months, driving up and down mountains, through the jungle and deserts, and dealing with altitude sickness. Up over 17,000 feet, your body isn’t happy at all. Physically, we were all affected by it. I’m still getting physio.

Somewhere In Tibet, 17,000 Miles Above Sea Level

Then there was the colossal logistical undertaking of getting 8 people with 5 different passports through 23 countries. There were complicated countries to enter and let alone, once you’re in them, the physical dangers you can cross. Again, every time I got stressed, I just thought, what a privilege it was to do all of this. The real joy of an overland trip like that. 

Then there was also Tim falling ill at the very start of the trip. Legitimately the first day, and his grandson, Nat George stepped up to take his place.

That was the greatest privilege. When we planned it, it was going to be Tim’s last great adventure, and it actually became the greatest gift a grandfather could give a grandson. To gift him this life changing adventure. 


I was gutted when Tim fell out of the story. The whole thing got ripped up on day one. It was the greatest blessing in disguise. I got a front row seat while watching Nat come to terms with who his grandfather was and what he accomplished. It gives me goosebumps. It’s a special bond for those lucky to have it. 

Winding it down here, what’s the one thing you always have on you when you’re traveling? 

Definitely a book. Before I go anywhere, I try to read about that location. I feel like it gives me a deeper sense of where I am. I try to pick up a great piece of fiction and a great piece of nonfiction, which leads me to what I’m going to do next. I’m reading a book called The Longest Line On The Map and it’s all about the Pan-American highway. It’s an account of a 1972 Range Rover going from Northern Alaska to the tip of South America.

The Gang

That’s what we’re currently working up and that’s why I’m out here. It’s a similar sort of formula, recreating for me, the next greatest road trip in the 20th century. The first car to drive the entirety of the Pan-American highway including the Darien Gap, and we’ve got the original car that did it. A 1972 Range Rover, dusted off.

What I love about the Pan-American highway is the story of the Americas – North, Central & South. If you read the story of the road, you get an insight as to what it is to be an American in a broader sense over the course of 1,000 years. The Last Overland was a great way to draw a line across the map and to follow the history, and I think this one is even bigger. 


The Last Overland book is currently available for purchase online and at select book stores in North America. As for The Last Overland docu-series, we’re still awaiting for Alex Bescoby and company to release it for streaming in the States. For more information on future speaking engagements from Alex Bescoby and his much-anticipated trek along the Pan-American Highway, stay tuned to Grammar Productions. The Last Overland x Bremont

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Thomas is a budding writer and an avid photographer by way of San Diego, California. From his local surf break to mountain peaks and occasionally traveling to destinations off the beaten path, he is always searching for his next adventure, with a watch on wrist, and a camera in hand. Thomas is a watch enthusiast through and through; having a strong passion for their breadth of design, historical connection, and the stories that lie within each timepiece.