A Lap of the Globe

Behind the Wheel of a Vintage Mercedes in the World’s Longest Auto Race

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About the Book

Now a legend among classic automobile aficionados, Phillip Young is the man generally given credit for starting the classic endurance rally concept. Beginning his career with the 1989 Pirelli Marathon Rally, by 1997 Young and the Classic Rally Association had created the Peking to Paris Motor Challenge. Echoing a 1907 competition, this road race was unprecedented in modern times with a route which included China, India and Tibet. With the approach of the millennium, however, Phillip Young took on an even more ambitious project—the Around the World in 80 Days Motor Challenge. Beginning and ending in London, this event would send its participants literally around the globe in pre–1960 automobiles.
This memoir recounts the author’s adventures while competing in the Around the World in 80 Days Motor Challenge from May to July 2000. Beginning with his search for a sponsor and his deliberations in choosing a 1959 Mercedes-Benz 220S, it follows him from his arrival in London through various countries including Italy, Greece, former Russian Republics, China, Canada, the United States, Morocco, Spain and France. Clemens provides an up-close view of places most westerners never get to see and of the rigors of competition over varying terrain in an old car. Appendices contain information such as the daily route and schedule, the rally results, and a list of the U.S. Mercedes Team sponsors.

About the Author(s)

Kevin Clemens has a long career in the automotive industry, including work in research and design, public relations, and publications. His writing in the field has won him the Ken Purdy Award for excellence in automotive journalism. He lives in Lake Elmo, Minnesota.

Bibliographic Details

Kevin Clemens
Foreword by Frank Barrett
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 231
Bibliographic Info: 120 photos, appendices, index
Copyright Date: 2006
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2561-7
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8323-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Foreword by Frank Barrett      1
Preface      5

1. Looking for Adventure      9
2. Mighty Mercedes      19
3. Get Ready, Get Set…      30
4. The Beginning in Europe      54
5. Another Day, Another Disaster      82
6. The Place We Dreaded to Go      94
7. Forbidden China      121
8. North America      152
9. Habit Forming      185
10. The Meaning of It All      202

Appendix 1. Rally Route and Schedule      209
Appendix 2. Rally Results      212
Appendix 3. U.S. Mercedes Team Sponsors      219
Index      221

Book Reviews

  • “interesting read”—AutoAficionado
  • “an uncommonly well-rounded tale…the trip itself is described in great and entertaining detail”—The Flying Lady