I got a press release from John Bridgen, the Rally Director for H&H Classic Rallies, announcing that the Great South American Rally has got underway. This rally will be a wonderful rally through some of the most scenic areas of South America down to the most southern city in the world. Most of what follows is based on the press release from John.
Amid excitement and trepidation in equal measures the Great South American Rally, organized by H&H Classic Rallies, roared away from the Sheraton Hotel in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, at 8am on a hot a sweltering Saturday in February to the cheers of the local motor enthusiasts.
Driving through downtown Rio to the backdrop of weary party goers clearing up after the Rio Carnival, the greatest show on earth, the cars swept through a town with a hangover and in recovery mode.
The Great South American Challenge rally for pre-1973 classic cars embarked on its six-week 15,500kms challenge which will drive through Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Chile and Argentina, finishing in Ushuaia the southernmost city in the world. Looking at my map of South America, I see that from Ushuaia you can get a ferry to Antarctica!
First stop is Maresias near Sao Paulo, followed by Curitiba and then Foz de Iguacu, home to the world’s most spectacular waterfall.
The crews are from around the world, hailing from Australia, the USA, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Portugal, Canada, and the UK. The oldest car on the event is a well-travelled 1907 Itala driven by David and Karen Ayre, while the newest car is a 1972 Citroen GSA which also has the smallest engine at 1,300cc, and is driven by Patrick von Girethuysen and Louise Peters from The Netherlands.
Other cars include the spectacular 1927 8-lite Bentley of Bill and Biddy Bolsover, the 1949 Cadillac Coupe of Lloyd Dahmen and Chuck Schwager, the Porsche 356 of Stephen Harris and Hayden Burvill. There are five Mercedes-Benz cars from the 1960s and three Ford Model A’s from the 1920s and representative cars from Sunbeam, Volvo, Jaguar, Chevrolet, Buick, Plymouth, Austin-Healey, BMW, Holden and Lagonda.
In addition to competing in the Great South American Challenge, the team of Lloyd Dahmen/Chuck Schwager of Massachusetts, USA also competed in the 2010 Peking to Paris Rally. Once again they are driving Lloyd’s 1949 Cadillac.