Tuesday, July 25, 2017

More Cruisin' on the River: a 1929 Chevrolet that did the 100th Anniversary Pekin to Paris Race and Run

Thanks, Ed, for some interesting material!!

Back in 1907 there was a famous automobile run and race from Peking to Paris that was reenacted 50 years years later.  Then in 2007 the race was reenacted for the third time to mark the 100th anniversary of the trek.  The antique cars were staged for the grueling journal in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Yesterday at the "Cruising on the River" car show in Cincinnati I met the owner of a 1929 Chevrolet that made this 100th anniversary run.  See attached photos.  His co-driver was a petite young woman of -- at the time early 20s -- who now lives in New York City.  They stayed mostly in small hostels along the way but he told me that during the days they drove in Mongolia they slept on the ground.  The entire trip took 34 days and, can you believe, the only trouble that the old Chevy had was one blown out tire?

This gentleman told me some incredible stories as I raptly listened.  He lives in Cincinnati and brings the car out for shows at least six times a year. He told me the car still starts up "first time, every time."  

This is the kind of "car culture" story that is truly fascinating !!!


Addendum to my just made post regarding the fellow I met yesterday who drove in the 2007 Peking to Paris antique vehicle race.  His name is Dan Reising and he is listed on this participant list found at this website.  I stand corrected -- the car was a 1930 Chevrolet coupe and not a 1929.  But can you imagine -- unless he was telling me a tall tale -- the car's only trouble was one blown tire.  How many of our vehicles would make the same run without any mechanical trouble.  And sleeping on the ground in Mongolia -- no Motel 6's?

And more -- biographies of the drivers ---

The Peking to Paris Motor Challenge, the first-ever trans-continental motor race, celebrates its centenary this year: 100 years after five cars left Peking (today known as Beijing) to drive all the way to Paris, over 130 vintage cars will follow the same itinerary. In total, ten Chevrolet cars are participating in this year's challenge, built between 1928 and 1941. One of these cars is the Chevrolet coupe owned by Dan Rensing. It was built in 1930 at the Janesville, Wisconsin assembly plant and is equipped with a 6-cylinder engine delivering 50 hp.

Michele Shapiro, 37, will be behind the wheel of the historic vehicle. She lives in New York and is currently Director of Special Projects at an international investigations and security firm, but will quit this job for the race. She has already participated in multiple rally challenges. For instance, she was the first American ever to compete in the Aicha de Gazelles Rally, a grueling eight-day rally in the Sahara desert. She was also the winner of the 2004 European Bullrun Rally. A lover of cars, fashion and extreme adventure, Michele says: "I'm constantly looking for new ways to challenge myself. My favorite challenges involve driving cars I've never driven before in places I've never been before. If I could just get Alexander McQueen to design my racing suit I'd really be in heaven."

The owner of the vehicle, Dan Rensing, 57, will be the co-driver, navigator and mechanic. A resident of Cincinnati, Ohio, he is married, has one daughter and one son and has been working as a surveyor since 1970. He has always been passionate about mechanics and started working on cars at age 16 when he began reading books and repairing vehicles as a hobby. He bought the 1930 Chevrolet coupe especially for the Peking-Paris race. Dan explains: "When I decided to participate in the race, I was, of course, looking for a car that would be available in running condition and at a reasonable price: The Chevrolet car was the perfect solution. For me, Chevrolet has always stood for solid build quality and durability." He found the car in Minnesota and drove it back to Ohio where he restored it completely and prepared it for the race.

The New 2018 Ford Mustang

So why is the Ford Mustang so enduring in American life?  Is it the sheer beauty of the car? Performance? Or is it the democratic appeal, the fact that a Mustang owner can work at a steel mill, a university, a bank, or anywhere in between?  The Mustang is one of those rare mass assembly products that both evoke status and blur class lines. It can be -- if accessorized and options -- nearly as fast as a Porsche or Ferrari -- or it can be rather tame, although tameness is increasing difficult to achieve.  If you stretch it, you could almost argue it is a family car, but that family must have short legs.  It makes a person look better, although if you dig deep enough that person is really quite unimportant, as we all are.

So the new 7th generation Mustang is coming soon at a Ford dealer near you!

Monday, July 24, 2017

A Customized Karmann-Ghia at Crusin' on the River: Note the Porsche Hubcaps!

Nice customized Karmann-Ghia where the owner  brought his own umbrella to protect his bllue baby

The Venerable Chrysler Corporation Slant 6 of the 1960s: Crusin' on the River, July 23, 2017

One of the best engines ever to come out of Detroit,  Here are Ed's comments:

Was struck in a sentimental way by this Dodge Dart with a 225 Slant Six engine.  Can't imagine they came from the factory this clean.  Had a 66 Dart with this engine after college graduation and then when a couple of years later had a 68 Barracuda in British Racing Green with the same engine.  I recall that folks who had never seen one of these engines would peer under my hood and say: "The engine slants to the side."  Yep, they would be correct.

Crusin' on the River, July 23, 2017, Cincinnati, Ohio: Ed's Favorite Car, an Opel GT

My favorite car at the show today was a very nice original Opal GT -- among the first imported to this country with the body built in France prior to the building of the Opal Rudesheim factory.   Look at this photos -- original paint and original non-blemished brown leather seats.  Only 43,000 documented miles on the car.  I told the owner that he ever wanted to sell him give me a call.  

Note the cute little German flag on the front fender in one of the photos;  Of course the Goodyear tires are not spec, but that's a small thing.  And recall the odd headlight lids that were manually opened and closed -- they tilted "inward" rather than up and down.

Ed's Old Cougar at Cruisin' on the River, July 23, 2017

An Excerpt form Ed's email; to me -- 

John, in all of the many years I've been going to car shows, I'd have to rate the "Cruisin' on the River" one in Cincinnati near the top -- while it rained pretty hard in late morning, by noonthere were nearly 400 vehicles there and the rain stopped.  I had never driven old US-50 which runs along the river in the western part of Cincinnati but its like a walk back in time: Neat old buildings along side of the road.  Plus the park where this show is held each year, part of the Cincinnati park system, was spectacular!

I will send you some photos of some interesting vehicles either later today or tomorrow -- for the blog.  But my Cougar was prominently displayed (see the three attached photos).