The temperature in Beijing is expected to be around 30 degrees Celsius.
In the Gobi Desert, it could drop down below zero.
But the achievement of reaching the finish line in Paris and the 12,247 kilometres of bone-rattling driving from China to France will be well worth it for a pair of Vancouver-based adventurers signed up to pilot their 1930 Ford Model A Cabriolet in the fifth running of the Peking to Paris Motoring Challenge 2013.
“Last year was the first year in the last 56 that I haven’t been off the North American continent,” said Gary Anderson, 75, who along with his son John are tackling the 33-day rally that gets underway May 28.
Anderson, a Vancouver commercial real estate owner who was part of a group that revitalized Granville Island, bought the Model A several years ago and has had it specially prepared at Juan’s Auto Service in Richmond for the grueling event.
With just a few weeks until the burgundy drop top is shipped to the far east in preparation for the rally, the finishing touches and road-testing are being done to make sure it stands up to the test in some inhospitable conditions.
“The car, originally, of course was built in the1930s when there weren’t many serious roads in the United States,” Gary said, as he visited the auto shop last week.
“So, it is designed as a car that can go off road and can survive this sort of thing.”
Gary has entered other rally events before, been a regular hiker to the Himalayas, a diver in Micronesia and sailed ocean and classic yachts around the globe, so his adventuring spirit is as well prepared as the mechanicals on the Model A will be.
Some of the modifications to the car include a secondary fuel tank, GPS equipment, four-point harnesses for both driver and navigator, and a more robust suspension, especially for the rear wheels to help it traverse the anticipated bumpy sections of the route.
“And they’ve added plates underneath and lock nuts to just about every bolt so they don’t shake loose and fly off,” added John.
“And there’s no power steering or power brakes,” says Juan Recavarren, owner of the garage where the work has been done.
“So, we’ll be in really good shape by time the rally is done,” joked Gary.
Jack Finch, who performed most of the rally prep work on the Model A, said he’s confident the car will hold up to the conditions.
“We’ve gone through the car quite well. Reinforced a lot of things we know would break on previous rallies. We’ve done our homework on it and made sure it’s ready to go.”
A recent test drive trip in the Whistler area proved it could handle the rough going.
“It survived it well,” said John, who is looking forward to sharing the adventure with his father. “It will be a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
“I just want to see every interesting place in the world,” said Gary, who so far has had his passport stamped in 130 different countries. “Those are places I have visited for over two nights and know well.”
While Gary has had plenty of other adventures to date, he thinks the upcoming rally will rank among some of the best he’s undertaken.
“I’ve just wanted to do these silly things all my life,” he said, adding, “Some of the best parts are getting to meet people in these adventures who are nuttier than me.”
For more information about the Peking to Paris Motor Challenge 2013, visit endurorally.com.