Volkswagen Beetles in Mexico City – the last of the beloved vocho

If you’re looking for an excuse to go to Mexico City, there are plenty. Although there are no beaches around for hundreds of miles, North American’s largest metropolis claims to have more museums than any other city in the world. The region is renowned for amazing food and I proved that, eating more tacos than I should probably admit.

Distrito Federal is also a goldmine for architecture lovers, highlighted by art deco apartment buildings, and intriguing 20th century landmarks like Torre Latinoamericano, Museo Nacional de Antropologia and the art nouveau Palacio de Bellas Artes.

But the sprawling city is also home to a piece of automotive history that is slowly fading away – Mexico’s beloved vocho, the Volkswagen Beetle. Continue reading “Volkswagen Beetles in Mexico City – the last of the beloved vocho”

Mud, rain, hail and a torrent of fun: Northern Loon Rally recap

Ever since building my ’67 Volvo Amazon for the Canada 5000 rally-inspired road trip last year, I’ve been itching to get it into a proper TSD to see how it performs. When Tom Chichak asked if I wanted to compete in the Edmonton Rally Club’s Northern Loon Rally with him, I couldn’t pass up the chance.

As is always the case when I enter any type of motorsports event, the car preparations went on right up until the last minute. The biggest challenge was getting a working odometer in the car and I left that in Tom’s capable hands. After trying unsuccessfully once again to get my TerraTrip working, he moved on to installing an Alfa Pro. After some last-minute calibrations, he got it working beautifully on the Friday night before the Saturday event. Continue reading “Mud, rain, hail and a torrent of fun: Northern Loon Rally recap”

Long lost Volvo: Tracking down my father-in-law’s old race car

By Dave S. Clark

My father-in-law, Carlo Marrazzo, proudly displays his crash helmet in his living room. It’s the helmet he wore in the late 1970s, when he raced a Volvo 142 at Speedway Park in Edmonton, Alberta. While he still has his helmet, the car he raced and the track he raced at are long gone. For more than three decades Speedway Park has just been a memory, long since bulldozed to become a cookie-cutter residential development.

I had seen several black and white photos of the car, since Carlo was an aspiring photographer during his racing years. But he sold the 142 decades ago and lost track of it after leaving the racing scene. Then one weekend a couple of years ago, while Carlo helping me swap a new engine into one of my cars, we got talking about memories of his Volvo racing adventures. It got me wondering if the car was still out there somewhere. Continue reading “Long lost Volvo: Tracking down my father-in-law’s old race car”

Check out the TravelDriveRace store!

I’ve just launched the official TravelDriveRace store! Currently, I’m selling one pretty badass shirt that is based off the Volvo Amazon’s speedometer. The speedo has a pretty cool design… I just wish it was more accurate, or somewhere even close to being accurate. Oh well, it looks cool!

If you’d like one for yourself, please visit the official TDR store!

 

We made it and so did the Volvo Amazon! Canada 5000 a huge success!

By Dave S. Clark

We did it!

The L. Hansen’s Forwarding Canada 5000 Rally Against Alzheimer’s was a major success, mostly due to the fact we actually made it all the way from Edmonton to Vancouver to Halifax in the 48-year-old Volvo Amazon that we rebuilt in the months leading up to the trip.

We were also successful in raising between $11,000 and $12,000 (still waiting on confirmation) for Alzheimer’s Societies across Canada, which we’re extremely proud of. You can also still donate by visiting www.Canada5000.ca. Continue reading “We made it and so did the Volvo Amazon! Canada 5000 a huge success!”

AMC Rambler Shell 4000 Rally prototype pops up at Bring A Trailer Auctions

By Dave S. Clark

I can count on one hand how many Shell 4000 cars that are still known to exist. One of the McQuirk brothers still owns the Bentley Mark VI that he ran in the 1963 Rally. Paddy Hopkirk’s disqualified Mini from ’68 is still out there. Shell 4000 historian Marcel Chichak knows of a few more. But that’s pretty much it.

So it was incredibly exciting to see a car with Shell 4000 history pop up on Bring A Trailer Auctions – a 1968 AMC Rambler that was the company’s development prototype for the ’68 version of the trans-Canada rally. The car didn’t actually compete but was the mule for the team of three AMC cars that ran the rally, finishing second, third and fifth. This prototype also followed the rally all the way from Calgary to Halifax, just in case any of the cars needed support.  Continue reading “AMC Rambler Shell 4000 Rally prototype pops up at Bring A Trailer Auctions”

Shell vintage road maps a lifesaver for Canada 5000 route

By Dave S. Clark

For my Canada 5000 adventure, I will be strictly following various routes of the original Shell 4000, which means attempting to follow a route that was mapped out 50-plus years ago. That presents a number of challenges and one of the biggest is trying to decipher what the new names of many of the roads and highways are now.

The original allies were run in the 1960s, which was a transitional period for Canada’s highway system. The Trans Canada Highway was officially opened in 1962, but all that really meant was that there was a road from St. John’s to Victoria. The highway was mostly paved, but in many stretches, it was still gravel and hardly a highway by modern standards. Many of the roads that have now become the Trans Canada were still being built and sometimes, along different routes from the original roads. In the 1961 rally, a section of the route in Ontario actually followed what would soon become the Trans Canada, but at that point was still under construction!  Continue reading “Shell vintage road maps a lifesaver for Canada 5000 route”

Volvo Amazon: The perfect rally car for the Canada 5000

By Dave S. Clark

When you first lay eyes on a stock Volvo Amazon, it may not scream ‘rally car.’ Compared to the sports cars that the British, Japanese and Americans were making at the time, it doesn’t look very sporty and certainly by 1970, when production wrapped up after a 14 year run, it looked quite dated. The Volvo Amazon, also known as the 122S, seems to have borrowed styling cues from early 1950s Chevrolets and Chryslers and could be a two-thirds scale version of those cars mashed together.

So why did I choose this car for the Canada 5000? The simple answer is because of its pedigree. It doesn’t look much like a rally car or a sports car, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that it had an incredible run during its time. Not only did an Amazon win the Shell 4000 twice, in 1964 and 1965, it also lays claim to three class wins, a second overall finish, a third overall finish and two fourth overall finishes. Continue reading “Volvo Amazon: The perfect rally car for the Canada 5000”

Introducing the Canada 5000

By Dave S. Clark

I’m very excited to announce a project that I’ve been working on for the past few months – The Canada 5000.

The Canada 5000 is part history project – recounting the famous Shell 4000 Rally races that ran across Canada in the 1960s. It’s part road trip – following various routes of the original Shell 4000 Rally, but stretching it out to 5000 miles across nine Canadian provinces. It’s part car rebuild – we’ll be driving a 1967 Volvo 122S, so I’ll be taking a non-running 48-year-old Swedish sedan and bringing it back to life so that it can make this journey. It’s part writing project – I’ll be documenting the whole experience and interviewing the drivers and co-drivers who ran the original rally. It’s part fundraiser – my partner in this project Dave Myers and I will be raising money and awareness for Alzheimer’s Disease. Continue reading “Introducing the Canada 5000”

Sampling switchbacks from the World Cup Rally and Liege-Sofia-Liege in Kotor, Montenegro

By Dave S. Clark

There are many reasons to go to the ancient town of Kotor, Montenegro. It sits on a unique, deep blue fjord-like bay and is surrounded by mountains jutting up from every shoreline. The tight lanes of the Byzantine walled city are a blast to explore and get lost in. It’s the best place to get a pizza doused in ketchup. And it’s also home to one of Europe’s most scenic drives.

The drive is a 25-switchback marathon rising above the towns of Kotor and Tivat. It’s the best possible spot to be able to fully appreciate the Bay of Kotor’s beauty. I could probably pass on the views of the cheap looking resort town of Tivat, but that’s not why you drive up the switchbacks. The quality of this drive isn’t a secret. It was a regular fixture in the Leige-Sofia-Leige rally race, a 1960s endurance rally that ran from Belgium to the capital of Bulgaria, then back again. In 1970, it was a tricky part of the route for the Daily Mirror World Cup Rally, which saw drivers race from London, all across Europe, board a ship in Portugal, gather their cars in Brazil and continue to race all the way to Mexico City. This 16-kilometre stretch was a small but memorable section of the 16,000+ kilometre event. The first road along this route was built in the 1880s by the Habsburgs and near the top, there is a decrepit customs house, that once served as the border between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Kingdom of Montenegro. But now, its all a part of Montenegro.  Continue reading “Sampling switchbacks from the World Cup Rally and Liege-Sofia-Liege in Kotor, Montenegro”