Hyundai have enabled Earnest Shackletons great grandson, Patrick Bergel to return to the Antarctic.
Using a lightly modified 2.2 litre diesel Hyundai Santa Fe, the 30 day expedition took them from Union Camp, to the South Pole and on to McMurdo and then all the way back again.
In doing so, Hyundai have made history with the Santa Fe being the first passenger vehicles to be driven across Antarctica.
Although not totally standard, the Hyundai was beefed up by Arctic Trucks. You know, the people that built the Hilux Top Gear drove to the North Pole? They also build the D-Max AT35, more on that later this year…
Mods included giant low pressure tyres to take on the snow, huge arches, a larger fuel tank, specialist suspension, sub-frames and some fuel and oil heaters to keep everything liquid.
Gears were also fitted inside the wheel hubs, allowing the drive train to cope with the differing forces being put on it due to the huge wheels, along with the need to turn slower but run at the same speed as the standard car.
Oh, it was also converted to run on Jet A-1 fuel, the only fuel on the whole continent.
The route was hazardous, with new courses having to be plotted across floating ice caps. It was such slow going that the expedition only averaged 27 km/h.
It was the first time a full traverse had been attempted, with the Santa Fe treading so lightly on it’s huge tyres that the tracks had totally vanished by the time they returned the same way.
Through crevasses the vehicles had to be roped together, in case one went over the edge they could be recovered…
In all the expedition covered 5,800km, in 30 days, enduring temperatures of -28 degrees C.