1997 – Antarctica

Starting Date: Feb 7, 1997

For vehicles to travel on glaciers and deep snow, belt drives had traditionally been the only option. In Iceland we had made radical changes to this common practice and developed our cars to do many of the same things with much greater efficiency in many conditions. Swedish scientists had experienced our vehicles working on Icelandic glaciers with their Icelandic colleges but it took the persistence of Jón Svanþórsson who had extreme interest in Antarctica and his friends within the Swedish Polar Instituted, SWEA, to get this of the ground.

We knew the capabilities of these solutions on Icelandic glaciers but what would Antarctica be like, this would be our first international challenge.

We believed the optimal vehicle to build our solution on for this challenge would be the Land Cruiser 80, 4.2 liter diesel Manual. We took the development and alteration of these vehicles further than we had ever done before, the engineers gave the first vehicle the name “Pamela” referring to the actress Pamela Anderson.

With a team of scientist and logistics people from Sweden and Netherlands, Freyr and Jón arrived at the Antarctica ice shelf, with icebreaker Agulhas, in December 1997. The teams and the vehicle were offloaded onto the ice shelf on the Weddell Sea. We were keen to see how the vehicles would cope on the ice and later on the high plateau, to us, this was the other end of the world.

The task of the vehicles was transportation of people and equipment from the ice shelf to WASA station, various tasks around the station, a drilling expedition onto the plateau and ice-radar scanning. The vehicles and the teams performed very well and comfortably completed all the planned tasks and took on some more. Working side by side with the Hagglund belt vehicles, our cars confirmed the strengths and weaknesses we had already experienced in Iceland, the Hagglunds can pull more weight but the cars travel much faster, with much lower fuel consumption, greater comfort and reliability.

Time:      December 7th 1997 to February 11th 1998.
Route:    The route from the landing point 72°3’9S 16°39’W to Wasa research station 73°05’S 13°25’W. From WASA up the Kiberg valley to the high plateau 76°S 8°03’W
Participants: Freyr Jónsson and Jón Svanþórsson from Arctic Trucks.
Cars: Land Cruiser 80 AT44