Ultimate, Extreme Overlanders
Four Wheeler|February 2022
A look at the legendary 4x4s of The Turtle Expedition
Tori Tellem

Fifty years ago, living on the road seemed plausible only for hippies and senior citizens. Or at least it certainly felt like an unattainable reality to the Four Wheeler staff and many of our readers. Modify a 4x4 to be a full-service home? Disappear yet be self-sufficient? Get away from it all while still being at the center of everything? What would you even call this bent reality?

Five decades ago, Gary and Monika Wescott—with their series of extreme Turtle Expedition vehicles— were pretty much the original Overlanding influencers, having the worldly adventures we all wanted to have, all from the vehicles they built just for that purpose.

The Wescott's traveled the backroads and main roads of multiple continents experienced people and cultures in a way few travelers ever had before them and thrived on an open-ended camping/exploration trip that made many of us question how our own wanderlust could ever truly be satisfied simply from random weekend getaways. Plus, they got to road test upgrades for custom 4x4s on every possible terrain and in all weathers throughout North America, South America, Asia, and Europe. They even managed to make massacres to their 4x4 mobile homes, such as blown-out rubber and exploding axles in the middle of nowhere, enviable experiences.

The following pages revisit the Turtles as well as their specs—or act as an introduction if you’re new to the Wescott's and their rides. You can also head over to fourwheeler.com and search “Turtle Expedition” or visit turtleexpedition.com for even more details and read more of their stories from the road.

SOURCE

The Turtle Expedition, Unlimited turtleexpedition.com

TURTLE I

GENERAL

Base vehicle: ’67 Land Rover Series IIA, 109-in wheelbase

POWERTRAIN

Engine: 4.1L I-6 Chevy

Horsepower: 155 hp @ 4,200 rpm (estimate, stock GM engine specs)

Torque: 235 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm (estimate, stock GM engine specs)

Electrical: Lucas Electronics w/GNP deep-cycle sealed battery

Fuel system: Carbureted

Exhaust: Hooker headers, glasspack muffler

Cooling: Heavy-duty crossflow w/remote fan

DRIVETRAIN

Transmission: 4-spd Land Rover

Transfer case: 2-spd Land Rover/16-spd w/Fairy overdrive

Locking hubs: Selectro

Axle ratio: 4.70:1

Front axle: Land Rover solid-axle w/open differential

Rear-axle: Land Rover solid-axle w/open differential

Brakes: Land Rover

Steering: Stock manual steering

SUSPENSION

Front: Burbank Spring leaf springs, Rough Country shocks Rear: Burbank Spring leaf springs, Rough Country shocks

TIRES/WHEELS

Tires: Sears mud and snow

Wheels: 16-in Land Rover

WEIGHT/CAPACITY

Curb weight (lb): 9,000 (approx.)

Fuel Capacity (gal): 30

MISCELLANEOUS

Armor: Custom, heavy-duty grille guard by Gary Wescott; 8,000-lb Warn winch; custom center/overhead consoles

Cool stuff: Land Rover seats w/custom upholstery, American sedan seatbelts, custom-built camper

TURTLE II

GENERAL

Base vehicle: ’79 GMC K3500 4x4

POWERTRAIN

Engine: 7.5L big-block Chevy by Louie Unser

Horsepower: 243 hp @ 3,000 rpm

Torque: 400 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm

Electrical: 135-amp alternator w/GNP deep-cycle, sealed battery

Fuel system: Custom and fuel pump relocation

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