View Full Version : OT: A Racing Tribute to Automotive Pioneers

07-03-2007, 10:59 PM
With some really old cars! (http://www.metimes.com/storyview.php?StoryID=20070702-092302-7370r)
A total of 39 cars, all over 100 years old, take to the road this week to replay the world's first internationally-recognized automobile race in 1895, which saw the triumph of petrol-powered engines over steam-powered cars.

The Bordeaux to Paris vintage car race, due to start Wednesday and end Sunday, is the brainchild of Robert Panhard, great grandson of the founder of the eponymous French automobile firm.
At the helm of the mythical fleet of Panhard et Levassor, Peugeot, De Dion Bouton, Renault, Berliet, and even a steam-powered Stanley Steam Car, will be pilots from Britain, France, Belgium, Switzerland, The Netherlands, as well as an American and an Australian.

The cars, which will follow the original itinerary as closely as possible, are due at Paris' Place de la Concorde Sunday July 8 after a gruelingly slow five-day rally over a mere 600 kilometers (375 miles). :cool:

07-04-2007, 06:03 AM
It’s hard to imagine how difficult races - or even just long journeys - were in those days, with primitive cars, pathetic brakes, solid tyres, terrible roads.

I recently read a book by a motoring pioneer, Montague Grahame-White, and he describes some of his early adventures. He was a toff, with all the associated privileges and baggage, but like many of his ilk was tough and resourceful.

He described some of the highlights of a 1000 mile ‘trial’ round England in the winter of 1899. The ascent of Shap summit in a blizzard, with thick snow on top of ice and stones, took 6 hours to travel 10 miles, ‘ …and I must have got out more than a score of occasions, either to fit new belt fasteners, new sections of belting or to relight the extinguished burners.’ The subsequent descent was described as ‘a somewhat tricky venture’.

On another trial, the steering failed irrevocably, but he came up with a cunning plan. The wooden front wheels had an extended hub with a metal outer sleeve. He found that he could steer the car while standing with one foot on the foot-step, and the instep of his other boot riding on the hub, pushing the wheel one way or the other. In this way, the car covered 52 miles at an average speed of just under 10 mph. Evidently he was, indeed, well-heeled.

07-04-2007, 06:47 AM

Peter S
07-04-2007, 09:06 PM
It will be good to read an account of the Bordeaux - Paris re-enactment one day, hopefully someone prints an interesting account. The internet "news" accounts are not quite adequate!

Every year you can see the London-Brighton run, this always attracts plenty (over 100?) of very old cars (no later than 1904). You can view (ie wander amongst) many of the cars on the day before the race. There are some amazing sights!

This run commorates the 1896 "Emancipation Day" race from London to Brighton. I don't know exactly when they started the London-Brighton run as an annual event, but probably from 1927 when 51 cars entered.

Here are a few photos from the day before the run, last year.


BTW, I visited a man in England a couple of years ago to look at his 1884 De Dion, Bouton & Trepardoux steam car. This amazing old car was still in original running order and the owner had a photo showing it entered in one (if not the first) ever "event". I don't think it was a race, more of a trial, I can't recall the date but it was prior to the 1895 Paris-Bordeaux.
It is an interesting fact that De Dion had built, and was advertising and selling a range of steam-powered motor vehicles before Daimler and Benz appeared with their petrol motor vehicles in 1886.