GLOBAL ROAMER CORPORATION is a Canadian company that specializes in the manufacture of overdrives for Land Rover vehicles. We are the world's only supplier of overdrives for both Series and Defender Land Rovers.
All research and development of our products is done on our own premises in West Vancouver, British Columbia, where we have a well-equipped machine shop and assembly area. We are located next to one of the finest wilderness test areas, British Columbia's Coast Mountains.
We drive Land Rovers and we drive them long distances. Over the past fifteen years, our expedition team has covered over 50,000 miles in Africa, Australia, Europe, and North America, using our overdrive in the most severe conditions.
HISTORY - DEVELOPMENT OF THE GLOBAL ROAMER OVERDRIVE
Our company is not the pioneer manufacturer of overdrives for Land Rover Vehicles. Before our overdrive was first produced in 2021, several British and Continental companies made overdrive products. These overdrives were sold under the brands Fairey, GKN, Toro, and Santana. All are now out of production.
Our founder's interest in overdrive manufacture was motivated after he drove a 109 Series III on an epic 23,000 Km journey in the late 1980's. He drove a heavily loaded Land Rover 109 Series III from Vancouver to Italy and back (crossing the Atlantic twice by ship) to take a working holiday doing engineering consulting in Genoa, Italy. The new Fairey overdrive, fitted before he left, was worn out and howling when he returned and required an expensive overhaul. Several years later after selling his Autopilot Pump manufacturing business he decided to try his hand at making a better overdrive unit.
The project started with the premise that an overdrive should be quiet running. This meant discarding the crude 'back gear' designs used in the past. With memories of a quiet running Laycock overdrive in a long-dismantled Sunbeam Rapier, we opted for an epicyclical gear train.
We then researched North American made automatic transmissions and found that the epicyclical components of a General Motors Turbo 400 transmission could be modified to fit inside the bolt circle used to mount a Land Rover overdrive. The Turbo 400 is generally accepted to be one of the strongest conventional automatic transmissions ever made. We wanted our overdrive strong. We wanted it capable of handling the torque of any Land Rover engine used in any gear in high or low range. With design components from the Turbo 400 we succeeded.
The obsolete overdrives suffered from lubrication problems so we determined that the best way to lubricate our new overdrive was by circulating oil from the adjoining transfer case. This concept worked brilliantly in our first prototype. No longer would overdrive owners constantly have to worry about oil levels and put up with oil leaking from breathers. The shape of the new overdrive could be slimmed down to a simple compact cone that did not interfere with exhaust pipes and other equipment on the Land Rover.
As 110 Defenders were uncommon in America, the early prototypes of the Defender ROAMERDRIVE were tested in a Discovery, seen here in Australia's Gibson Dessert, 600 miles west of Alice Springs.
We looked at other weaknesses of the older designs as well. The input couplings were prone to wear out and leave one stranded so we made our design much stronger and better lubricated. The needle roller thrust bearings could break and destroy the aluminum housings so we opted for rugged simple deep groove ball bearings virtually indestructible and cheap to replace. Instead of exotic synchromesh clutches we raided the Land Rover parts bin and used standard Land Rover synchromesh units that are obtainable everywhere.
We rejected the idea of using an electro/hydraulic shifter on our new design. We intended our overdrive to be capable of going anywhere with the utmost reliability.
The result of our work is the Global Roamer ROAMERDRIVE overdrive for Land Rovers. Strong, quiet, compact and requiring virtually no maintenance. Over 3,000 of these units are now in service in more than thirty countries.