Last night, February 24, the Massachusetts-based rally team that took part in the 2010 running of the Peking to Paris Rally gave a lecture on their amazing adventure to a full house of car enthusiasts at the Larz Anderson Museum of Transportation in Brookline, MA. And what a rally/adventure this was!
The Peking to Paris Rally 1949 Cadillac
A total of 104 cars entered this 37-day rally from Peking to Paris over some very challenging roads. Most of the cars got to Paris, but only 39 cars reached Paris without having a major penalties as a result some sort of difficulty. The cars were as new as 1967 and as old as a 1907 Itala, the same car model that won the first Peking to Paris Rally in 1907/1908.
From listening to the team make their presentation and looking at the photographs, it seems clear that car preparation is key. The team, Lloyd Dahmen (driver) and Chuck Schwager (navigator), obviously did a great job of car preparation. They started with a bone stock 1949 Cadillac sedan and made it tougher.
The car was completely re-worked, not to make it particularly faster, but to rebuild, strengthen, oversize, and protect all of the components. It was very informative to listen to and take notes about the preparations that they made. They also did not make any major driving or navigational mistakes. In the end, they finished second in their class and 6th Overall. In their Modern class for pre-1967 cars, they were the oldest car, but obviously they were very competitive.
Lloyd Dahmen near the China/Mongolia Border
The pictures and the team’s stories show that this event is both a great rally and a great adventure through China, Mongolia, Russia, all of the stans, Iran, Turkey, Greece, Italy, and France. Another running of this rally is planned for 2013. It would be the adventure of a life time.