Our latest addition to the PPE fleet is taking shape as it goes through its transformation into a desert expedition vehicle. ‘Shimi’ is a 1982, ex-Dutch army, Land Rover Lightweight. It has had a 200 Tdi engine installed (less the turbo) and a completely new Painless Performance waterproof wiring harness, making it far more reliable than your typical 37-year-old vehicle.
Shimi has just received a couple of coats of BS361 Light Stone paint and is getting it’s cargo area modified for desert travel, similar to the set up of it’s larger stable mates. This includes internal ‘walls’ in line with the raised wheel wells to keep kit from moving about and a 3mm chequerplate hinged deck to keep everything secure while travelling. The deck surface also gets a large number of staples to tie down gear that doesn’t fit inside the cargo space. Shimi will travel with one under-seat 45L fuel tank (the other side holds the battery and various tools). Spare fuel will be carried by Tembo, while Shimi carries 80L of water in jerry cans stored in the cargo area.
The name ‘Shimi’ comes from the slightly eccentric but quiet and courageous Lord Lovat who was the Commanding officer of 4 Commando during the Dieppe raid and later led the 1st Commando Brigade ashore on D-Day. Nicknamed ‘Shimi’ by close friends, Lord Lovat can best be remembered for being followed around by a equally unusual bagpiper, Bill Millen who played throughout the fierce fighting on D-day. Both can be seen in the film The Longest Day coming ashore and moving to relieve the beleaguered para-glider troops holding the Orne River bridge.