Explorers Club and Infiniti Celebrate Roy Chapman Andrews’ 1920s Gobi Desert Expedition with SUVs

Source: Infiniti.


The Explorers Club, Hong Kong Chapter (which for no real reason immediately brought to mind the Flying Elvises, Utah Chapter) and the Mongolian Institute of Paleontology and Geology (IPG) recently teamed up for a twenty day jaunt into the Gobi Desert to look for dinosaur fossil and to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Roy Chapman Andrews’ Central Asiatic Expedition.

Point of order here: On his trip to Mongolia one hundred years ago, Andrews was actually working as a spy for the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence during World War I. His more famous Central Asiatic Expeditions, where his team from the American Museum of Natural History made so many important paleontological discoveries, including the first dinosaur egg fossils, began in 1922.

That 1918 mission did result in valuable information that helped make his later scientific expeditions to Mongolia so successful – including his conviction that a motorized vehicle expedition was feasible.

Source: Infiniti.

For the 2018 trip, Infiniti provided three models of SUVs as transportation. Roy Chapman Andrews also used stock vehicles on his expedition, but he chose Dodge cars and Fulton one-ton trucks, in conjunction with a caravan of camels that stockpiled gasoline and other supplies along their route.

One of Roy Chapman Andrews’ motorized expeditions. Source: public domain
Source: Infiniti.

Media outlets that attended the recent trip include Maxim, the Robb Report, and Slashgear. Drones and satellite imagery were used to develop detailed maps, and 250 fossil localities and three possible new species were identified.


Small Vehicles for Overlanding?

A thought-piece on small crossover SUVs for overland travel has some interesting tidbits of information, such as:

The diminutive Lada Niva was the first vehicle to drive to the North Pole, although that discussion raises hackles with Top Gear fans. First or second, it went there, which is an accolade only Toyota can match.

A parachute was involved, which may help explain the controversy. And the Fiat Panda helps show that ground clearance isn’t everything.

Which leads them to ask how good might the newly announced Jeep Renegade actually be for overlanding?