This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Peking to Paris Motor Challenge, an 8,000-mile road rally that takes participants from Beijing (née Peking) to the City of Lights. Over 130 vintage autos are set to participate in this year's event, and a 1930 Chevy fielded by an American duo is among them.
Ohio resident Dan Rensing purchased the car specifically for the event and set to work preparing it for the grueling marathon that it's going to face. He rebuilt the coupe's original 50-horsepower six-cylinder engine and made a host of other modifications such as upgrading the suspension, adding a supplemental fuel tank, installing GPS, and adding 12-volt electric to power the modern peripherals. Rensing will co-drive and navigate, leaving the primary driving tasks to Michele Shapiro, a 37-year-old new Yorker with a taste for adventure whose resume includes a win at the 2004 European Bullrun.
The antique 2-seater sporting the #34 on its flanks will be welcomed, hosted, and supported by the local Chevy organization in each country it traverses on the way to Paris. The whole thing gets underway on May 27.
In a 1930 Chevrolet from Beijing to Paris
Chevrolet supports mixed team in the "Peking to Paris Motor Challenge"
Zurich/Beijing. Americans Michele Shapiro and Dan Rensing will participate with a 1930 Chevrolet coupe in the "Peking to Paris Motor Challenge 2007", starting on May 27 in Beijing. On their way from China to France, covering close to 13,000 kilometers in five weeks, the two participants will be supported and encouraged by the Chevrolet organization in all countries they will cross. Each Chevrolet country organization will welcome the team and the local dealers will offer their technical support.
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 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 the U.S. state of 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 U.S.-based team is excited and ready to kick off the race from Asia to Europe, the birthplace of Louis Chevrolet. No doubt, during their long journey, they will remember what Louis Chevrolet used to say: "Never give up!"
Car number 34 in the 2007 Peking to Paris Motor Challenge is a 1930 Chevrolet Coupe.
This car was manufactured at Chevrolet's Janesville, Wisconsin factory in mid 1930 and has probably spent most of its existence in either Wisconsin or Minnesota. It has a three speed manual, non-synchronized, transmission, with a 4.1rear end. Brakes are mechanical operating by a cable and rod system on the front, and a rod system on the rear. Emergency braking is independent of the service brakes, operating by rods on the rear wheels. The 6 cylinder, overhead valve motor, is rated at 50 hp with a 5: 1 compression ratio, and a displacement of 194 cubic inches. While it had a top speed listed at about 60mph, 40 to 45 mph is a more realistic sustained cruising speed. Fuel mileage, on paved roads, is about 14 mpg. Seating is for two people only, the driver and one passenger. The trunk has limited space, which has been further reduced by the addition of an auxiliary fuel tank. The car was purchased, in running condition, specifically for this rally. Prep work done to the car has included:
* Rebuilt original motor including new babbited main and rod bearings
* A Newly relined brakes using woven fiber linings
* Truck grade leaf springs, front and rear
* Addition of a 27 gallon marine fuel tank to supplement the original 10 gallon tank
* Radiator overflow recovery system
* Oil bath air filtering system
* 12 volt parallel electrical system for navigation / communication equipment
* 16 gauge steel oil pan sump guard
* Radiator stone guard
* Equipped with a Garmin GPSMAP 76 and a TerraTrip 1 for navigation
To get to the official Peking to Paris Motor Challenge 2007 website, click here: http://www.pekingparis.com