Captain Zeppos' Car: Belderbos
first uses this military vehicle in the fourth episode -
'Tiriatita' - of the first series, Belderbos.
The car, made by Austin, was launched in 1952,
as the British answer to the massively successful American Jeep. It
was, however, an unequal contest. The British car was expensive to
make and reputedly extremely very difficult to maintain. A civilian
version - also called a Champ - was issued, but it failed to make an
impact in the marketplace. Consequently, very few were ultimately
made. The British Army failed to fall in love with the Austin Champ
and soon replaced them with cheaper - and more reliable - Land
Rovers. By 1966, they had all been removed from active service,
although previously they had been passed on to the Territorials.
is thought that fewer than a thousand Austin Champs survive today,
worldwide. It is not known whether Zeppos' car is among that number.
So, by the time when
Captain Zeppos was speeding around Belgium in this nimble little
military vehicle, the Austin Champ was already pretty much a car
whose days were numbered. Not quite a vintage, but certainly not a
car that would be seen regularly on the streets of Brussels or
Antwerp. A clue to the Captain's eccentric nature, perhaps? However,
when the adventures of Kapitein Zeppos continued four years
later, he had traded in the Austin and plumped for a car which was
even more eccentric...