I had the pleasure (actually, I consider it quite an honor) to meet Tom Sheppard in England during my recent trip to the Royal Geographical Society in London. Mr. Sheppard lives a few hours north of London, and Graham, Nick and I made a trip to meet him for lunch. He is a gracious host and talked with us for hours about his expeditions into the Sahara and even entertained our desire to see his G and newly acquired F800GS.
We had lunch in the little village near his home and walked there in the cold weather, the three of us, all less than half his age struggling to keep up. He admitted to riding his BMW to a local gym several days per week for weight training. He is quite an inspiration.
Here are a few images of his 2001 Type 461. This vehicle was featured in Overland Journal this past summer.
The limited number of modifications to this vehicle should be a lesson for all of us. He has over 100,000 miles of solo desert travel. He said it quite well "Buy the correct vehicle first".
Here are two of the modifications. A pure sine wave inverter for charging camera batteries and the laptop and a second battery, which is joined to the primary via a manual marine switch. Both batteries are standard Mercedes units (which are notably large). The Aux battery is stored in the box with the blue top behind the seat, down low, and in the center of the truck.
Look at this diesel filler. It was huge and so completely overbuilt, yet seemed quite commonplace on the G. It is installed to facilitate filling from all odd shapes of containers.
The weight of each axle, clearly marked.
Tom purposefully avoids air conditioning in his vehicles, clearly aided by the fact that he travels solo (i.e. little dust). It removes the weight and complexity of the A/C, which also adds heat to the cooling systems task. So instead, he installs this slick scoop, which feeds fresh air into the cabin. He did make the point of noting that the Defender has this available in stock form.
To show how redicoulosly overbuilt the G-Wagen is, this curved pipe you see in the image here is a snorkel for the alternator, which is sealed.