The Beastly Adventure



Our BEAST was released from military service in 1998, where it had active service in the Balkan war, the gulf and on UN missions and had one careful enthusiast owner before we got our loving hands on her. The Forward Control 101, or the BEAST as she is otherwise known, is one of the best long distance vehicles to travel across the world in. This is because it is a sturdy, reliable, travelling machine. The fold up and down crosses at the side of the vehicle were painted with chalkboard paint so that we can act as a travelling English school with pull down blackboards.

Our BEAST first entered miltary service in July 1981 when it was issued to the 4th [Volunteer] Battalion, The Parachute Regiment. It was used as the Regimental First Aid Post. It was transferred on 1st September 1988 to the C [222 East Midlands] Medical Regiment and it was then held in the war reserves at an MoD vehicle depot. The paint finishes changed from Camouflage, Desert Pink, Camouflage, White with UN markings and finally Camouflage with the SFOR markings (used in the war in Eastern Europe). The vehicle was finally disposed of by the MoD in August 1998. The last owner bought the vehicle in September 2000 and we bought the BEAST in 2003.

We have adapted the BEAST for travelling, pulling out the central section between the cab and the salon and removing the stretchers to replace them with a click-clack bed/bench seat for seating for our intrepid passengers. We painted the BEAST in the distinct fire engine red. As of August 2004 we put power steering in, a roof tent and tyres on the roof for the inevitable punctures.




The Land Rover Forward Control 101 was specially built for the army, although many have been sold and are now in private hands. They were used for towing howitzers and Rapier anti-aircraft missiles. The bodywork can be quickly stripped down to basics for air-transport. The ambulance model makes a popular camper conversion.

Approximately 2,700 vehicles were manufactured in right and left hand drive. The vehicle was available to the military in four variants, the GS (or general service; a soft top) vehicle, a four-stretcher Ambulance (300-450 manufactured) and two versions of radio body (125 manufactured), the Standard version and the very rare Vampire version (9-18 manufactured). Adjustments to the bodies of the Ambulance, Vampire and Standard were made by Marshalls of Cambridge.

Land rover forward control 101 info

Copyright Land Rover

The Land Rover Forward Control 101 vital stats...
Engine size: 3.5 litre Range Rover engine
Gears: 4 speed transmission
Drive: Permanent 4 wheel drive with high/low gears
Crusing speed: 70mph, comfortably at 50mph without overturning!
Wheel size: 900 x16
Manufactured: 1975 to 1978 specifically for British Military, but also sold to Australian and Dutch Armies
Voltage 12v and24v
Petrol tank size: 100 litres
And the piece de resistance ...Fuel consumption: 14mpg dropping to 8mpg when going up hills!

the beast

The Beast in her original format

back of the beast

Before removal of the central section

inside the beast

Removal of the central section

inside the beast

Removal of the fibreglass from the central section

inside the beast

pulling out the centre of the beast

Removal of the lifts and central section

beast construction

Shelf construction

shelves inside the car

Shelving for storage and the Porta Potti


The new shelving with jerry can storage

petrol canisters
petrol canisters

console of the beast

The central console for storage and use as a table

sanding the car

Stripping the paint off the whole vehicle

painting the beast

Painting the Beast with an undercoat

painting the beast

Painting the Beast with a beautiful Massey Ferguson Tractor red


New switches

seat of the car

The new seats

bed of the beast

The bed/seat and cupboards in the back of the vehicle


Tom with his large beaming smile after his first encounter with the Beast

window of the beast

We replaced the smoked glass windows so that those sitting in the back can see out.



Greg and Adrian learning the mechanics and covering themselves in oil



Andrew slowly pulling his hair out at the electrics in the Beast

roof console

The infamous roof console inthe process of construction. To be included: radio, cigarette lighter, speakers and storage space for documents


The completed roof console with radio, light and computer, fan and reversing television

the beast

A visit from our friendly AA man!

lablling the beast

The essential adornments expertly applied by April -

THE BEAST stickers!

beast door


Reg our garage mechanic

thorn garage crew from leeds

Dave and Dean - our garage mechanics

the beast cake

Abbie and her beautiful Beast Cake

beast cake

Bas relief at its be(a)st


Cameron exploring the beast

roof tent


We bought a roof tent from Maggiolina to sleep in (it comes with a matress, pillow, mosquito nets, ladder and a roof rack). It was attached to the roof to act as an extra bedroom to add to our four bed moving house.

We have had power steering fitted (after remortgaging the house!!) which allows us to turn a corner through 2.5 turns rather than 6 turns. (August 2004)

A rack was constructed in order to hold the spare tyres on the roof (August 2004).

We have constructed a roof console to hold the radio, speakers, pens, paperwork, trip computer, snazzy blue lights and cigarette lighters (for powering 12v devices).

We have now got a range of about 700 miles with the addition of eight jerry cans in two containers at the rear of the vehicle. We can also store 40 litres of water beneath the jerry cans (mmm we are looking forward to the taste of iodine!).

Electronic ignition has been installed after the points kept burning out by the over active coil - starts every time now (October 2004).

On the trip so far we have had two valves burn out, the heater stopped working, replaced two accelerator cables, replaced the radio and had 7 punctures (Dec 2006). Touch wood there will be no more!