Building a Camel Trophy TRX-4M, part I: Research

One of the most enjoyable parts of a new project is to me the associated research. There’s nothing wrong with slapping some Camel Yellow paint on a Defender body and adding some stickers, but I wanted to be a bit closer to the look of cars that were actually used during the Camel Trophy.

The Wikipedia article lists the vehicles that were used. Only three years used the long-wheelbase (110) model Land Rover as competitor vehicle: 1984, 1988, and 1989. After that they used the Discovery (and the Freelander for the final year), so if you want to model a competitor car, these three years are the guideline. Year-specific photos can be a bit difficult to find. The Camel Trophy Club Archive has many pictures, but doesn’t cover all years at this point. Luckily there is quite a lot of footage on Youtube.

Cars always had Camel Trophy stickers on the front door and in between the lights on the roof rack. It appears like in 1984 additional stickers were limited to country flags towards the front of the wings with the competitor names behind them, and a country flag on the grill guard. In 1988, the country flag was placed behind the names, with a larger flag on the bonnet in front of the spare tire, and another large flag on the right rear, below the Land Rover logo.

In 1989, the country flag on the wings was once again moved forward. The flag on the bonnet was retained. On the rear, two smaller flags were placed at the top, with a larger flag on the bottom left. Some pictures also show a flag below the Land Rover sticker on the windshield. Competitor cars also had blue stickers advertising for Bosch, Michelin, and Warn (the winch supplier).


Even after the introduction of the Discovery, the 110 models (now called Defender) continued to be used as support vehicles. 1991 appears to be the first year in which the Land Rover logo was added to the rear quarter panels. These later years also saw use of variants such as two-door and four-door pickup versions.


There’s another option for a Camel Trophy-related Defender. Towards the end of the original Defender’s production run, Land Rover produced 25 Defender Works V8 Trophy vehicles for a measly £195,000 apiece. These were painted in the famous yellow color (now called Eastnor Yellow) and with roof rack. The bonnet was painted black, as was done with the Camel Trophy Discovery, and featured a more modern grill guard. Should you want to go down this route, Injora make a very similar grill guard. Finding suitable decals might be more difficult, though.

I plan on going with the 1989 look, but taking a bit of artistic freedom by adding the Land Rover logos behind the rear wheels.


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