American Expedition Vehicles' Project Vehicles
Recently, we spent time wheeling in the American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) Jeep Commander and Wrangler project vehicles. The company is well known for turning out some truly incredible show-stopping and dirt-destroying rigs, and in this case AEV has successfully turned out a pair of dueling dirt devastators. Both vehicles were purpose-built for an upcoming expedition across Iceland as well as for being displayed at the '05 SEMA show in Las Vegas, Nevada. Reading through AEV's Jordan and Dave Harriton's journal notes covering the upcoming trek and the build itself, we decided to let you read about this adventure in their own words.
Expedition Mission and Background"Besides their show purposes, these vehicles were built in order to provide transportation and support for a team of some of the world's best expedition kayakers and filmmakers as they descend the largest river in Iceland. The kayakers will rappel 300 feet, using the Jeeps as anchors, into a series of caverns within the Vatnajokull Glacier to the very headwaters of the Jokulsa River, a geothermal-heated 'hot river' that flows under the glacier. It is a geographic feature of a kind found virtually nowhere else on the planet. From there, the team will kayak out from under the glacier and proceed across Iceland, navigating extreme rapids and one of Europe's most powerful waterfalls, the deadly 300-foot Deaden Foss. The expedition will then continue all the way across the country to the ocean.
"A similar expedition was attempted in the mid-'80s with National Geographic magazine. Instead of utilizing four-wheel-drive vehicles, the explorers used a combination of snow cats, ultra-light aircraft, and snowmobiles. The expedition was not a complete failure, but it was plagued by malfunctioning equipment and the inexperience of the kayakers. With today's specially prepared vehicles and some of the world's best kayakers, the expedition has an excellent chance of succeeding while providing spectacular film footage and still photos.
"The Jeeps will provide transportation across the Vatnajokull Glacier to the put-in for the river; the vehicles will then complete the mission across the arctic desert, providing support for the team, transportation for the film crew, and emergency services if needed."