The Mission

The Peking to Paris Rally is a recreation of the 1907 challenge issued by Le Matin, "Is there anyone who will undertake to travel this summer from Peking to Paris by automobile?"
The 2016 version will follow a route of 13,695 Km (8,510 miles) and take 35 days. We are travelling in Rhubarb and Custard, a 1936 Buick. We know nothing about cars or rallying.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

How to win the Peking to Paris Rally

By all accounts the race is won or lost in Mongolia.  The Gobi desert just chews up the cars leaving time gaps that can't be closed in Russia or Europe.

And Mongolia is all about suspension.  Oh there are other problems to worry about for sure - overheating, tyres, fuel, hitting a giant rock, getting stuck in the sand, getting lost and so on and on and on. But, assuming you are not struck down by those hazards then the sheep and goats, men and boys are separated by the quality of their suspension.

This fundamentally is why the Chevrolets keep winning, because they have a coil at the front, a leaf at the back and then bolster this set up with a couple of gas struts. Nothing to go wrong.  Well not quite, because the leaf springs will be 80 or more years old and with a lot of weight in the boot (trunk for US readers) they take a beating and so leaf failure is quite common.  This is where Mr Mongolian Blacksmith comes in.  We have one spare leaf, which is installed where our rear bumper (fender for US readers) would normally be.

The additional gas struts are not a panacea either as they get extremely hot with use and can explode. We have our heat gun and intend to monitor the gas strut situation on a regular basis.

Unfortunately Rhubarb and Custard has a rather complex front suspension that is hard to describe but let's just say 'What the f*** were Buick thinking of?'  We have a spare but God alone knows how you fit it and if the spare goes then it's a long bumpy road to Paris.

So our motto is not so much Win at All Cost, but Don't Bugger the Suspension.

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