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.

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