Prince Borghese's route in 1907
"What needs to be proved today is that as long as a man has a car, he can do anything and go anywhere. Is there anyone who will undertake to travel this summer from Peking to Paris by automobile?", Le Matin Newspaper, Paris, January 31st 1907.
This is one of the longest and toughest challenges undertaken in a classic car. The first race in 1907 was entirely off-road without maps, rules, passports or garages en route. Camels were used to transport petrol for the cars as they crossed the Mongolian grasslands. Competitors included Prince Scipione Borghese of Italy (pictured aboved) and a French fair-ground worker Charles Goddard who borrowed his car and persuaded rivals to lend him petrol en route. They were all vying for the prize -- a magnum of Mumm Champagne -- and, of course, the glory.
The second race was ninety years later in 1997 and since then there have been two more rallies. The rules and the route have changed over the decades but the key elements of this transcontinental race remain the same.
On may 28th 2013 the fourth race in history will begin.
12,227 kilometres, 100 competitors, 33 days, 9 countries, 8 cylinders, 2 drivers, 1 big adventure.