As I’ve mentioned before, Icelanders are crazy about their super jeeps. By placing enormous tires and all sorts of off road wizardry in our cars we are able to drive up and over glaciers and snow covered mountains. After the financial crisis the demand for expensive modifications dropped dramatically in Iceland. As a response, the leading modification company, Arctic Trucks, has in the past few years decided to export its skills. They have set up modification garages in Norway and Dubai as well as considerable operations in Antarctica. You may also have seen them on several occasions on the BBC’s Top Gear. Teamed up with Top Gear, Arctic Trucks were the first in the world to drive to the North Pole, across lake Kleifarvatn (not frozen) and most recently to the top of the Fimmvörðuháls volcano while it was erupting.
Arctic Truck’s first venture to Antarctica was in 1998 when a few of their Land Cruisers were the first to drive to the South Pole. In the past few years they have been busy again in Antarctica supporting researchers and events such as the ski race and BBC filming you see in the video above. These Icelandic trucks are a much faster and cheaper alternative to the tracked snow machines previously used in Antarctica. Not only are these trucks much cheaper to buy and build than the tracked machines, but they also only use a fraction of the fuel and can be air transported.
Recently two of Arctic Trucks’ vehicles set a world record for the fastest vehicle across Antarctica to the South Pole. The previous record had been held by another Icelander driving in his 6 wheel Ford Econoline.
In Iceland we drive cars like these. These 4x4s would not turn many heads on the streets of Reykjavík. Most would expect them to be normal family cars. However these are far away from home, down in the Antarctic. They are Toyota Hilux pick up trucks modified for 44” tires by Arctic Trucks in Iceland.