Sunday morning. The town square in Tirano is not the sort of place you would expect to see fifty UK-registered bangers. And certainly not the sort of place you would expect to hear them hooting their horns in unison… Still, it happened today, and it made for a great sight – and sound. Spirits were high and as 10:00am approached, everyone was keen to get under way. The organizers had kept secret their plans for us on this day, and the route looked like a simple run down the motorway.
Except that the challenge turned out to be one which was intended to slow us all down. What we needed to do was stop at every petrol station and get ourselves photographed in front of pump number one. Not just some of us, but all of us: all team members. So we all piled out of the town – a long and colourful queue of British bangers and headed for the pumps. And what a long day it was… especially as we missed a couple of service stations and had to take some lengthy detours to find them again.
Some of the cars were deteriorating by now, and although it looks like no one has broken down, some cars are going slower than they were. Team Snooty Fox’s Subaru Legacy lost third and fourth from its autobox and ended up travelling at 70mph at 7000rpm in second. Yet it made it onto the end of the rally. Many cars sprouted new holes in their fronts to aid cooling… as well as new dents (those teams leaving their cars in Naples were by now bumping into each other at low speeds and denting each other – such fun). And yes, it is all good humoured… and very, very funny to watch.
Heroes of the day were the two lads from Longbridge who were driving a K-registered Sierra XR4x4, which lost its CV boot. Undaunted, they made their own out of napkins, plastic bags and tie-wraps, and have to keep going by stopping frequently to pack it with grease… Who said that the most ingenious engineers don’t come from Birmingham?
We managed to photograph all 24 filling stations, by the way.
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.