From Peking To Paris

An Epic Challenge

The 5th Peking to Paris Motor Challenge is currently in progress, with 96 vintage vehicles taking part in the race. The month-long expedition kicked-off on 28th May, and will finish in Paris by 29th June.

Peking is the original name for Beijing, and contestants will travel through China, across the Gobi Desert in Mongolia, and along Russian back roads. They will also traverse the Ukraine, Slovakia, Austria and Switzerland, before arriving in Paris. All in all, they will cover around 15 000 km.

Back in Time

The Peking to Paris Motor Challenge commemorates a car race that took place in 1907, after a French newspaper, Le Matin, wrote on the 31st of January that year: “What needs to be proved today is that as long as a man has a car, he can do anything and go anywhere. Is there anyone who will undertake to travel this summer from Peking to Paris by automobile?”
There were originally 40 entrants, but only five ended up shipping their vehicles to Peking. Prince Scipione Borghese, an Italian, won the race in his seven litre engine, and received a magnum of Mumm champagne for his efforts.

The 2013 Edition

Some of the vintage vehicles taking part in this year’s event include
• 1913 Ford Model T
• 1917 La France Tourer
• 1924 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost
• 1930 Rolls Royce Phantom II
• 1928 Packard Phaeton
• 1928 Vauxhall 14/40
• 1927 Bentley 3-4 ½
• 1929 Ford Model A Speedster
• 1929 Chrysler 75 Roadster
• 1934 Dodge DR Special
• 1934 Packard Convertible
• 1939 Chevrolet Coupe
• 1939 Cadillac La Salle
• 1940 Pontiac Deluxe
• 1955 Citroen 11B
• 1957 Porsche 356 A
• 1969 Volkswagen Beetle
• 1958 Morris Oxford

Teams consist of pairs, ranging from spouses, to siblings, and parent-child combinations. Entrants come from 26 different countries. According to the Endurance Rally Association, this race is “The longest and toughest challenge anyone can drive in a vintage or classic car, an extraordinary adventure driving through some of the remotest places on earth”. The drivers cover several hundred kilometres each day. Some are competing simply for the joy of it, whilst others are driving for charitable causes – among them environmental conservation and brain research.

The ERA website is updated daily with competitor rankings and rally reports on the day’s race. Currently, in the Vintageant category (pre-1941 models), Phil Garrat and Kieron Brown lead the pack with their Chevrolet Fangio Coupe. In the Classic category, meanwhile (pre-1975 models), Gerry Crown and Matt Bryson are in first place driving their Leyland P76.

The Next Event

Planning for the 6th Peking to Paris Motor Challenge is already in the works, and will take place in 2016. This edition of the race will traverse some of the highest mountain roads in the world, and journey across Tibet, the foot of Mount Everest, Nepal, Kathmandu and the foothills of the Himalayas.
It’s certainly great to see these vintage beauties still getting out onto the open road after all these years!

Author Bio:
Grace Matthews is a London-based lifestyle blogger who relies on dent repairs on assist 247 when her car is in need of some TLC. 
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