Thursday, July 19, 2012

Trans-America Rally ... Replay

As the wet and wild trial rally hit the record books, Brant Parsons and his son, John, who did the navigating, took on the pre-run event in Canada and Alaska  as a "run it as hard as we can" affair. It was done to prove the car before Stanley Gold and Brant head for the Peking to Paris event in the 1965 Porsche 911. During this rally, they found they had four other 911s as company, two 1965 cars, a '69 911 and a '73 Carrera RS.

Image via Brant Parsons, ©  Gerard Brown .

They ran into days with overcast skies and rain as they peered through the windshield. The course consisted of some tarmac sections along with at least 200-250 miles of off-road type roads 10-15 feet wide, with mud, snow, sleet, stages of 18 inch deep dirt, rocks and killer holes. All of this was welcomed to test the car.

Were they out in the sticks?...oh yeah, passing through towns that have closed roads in and out for seven months a year with 85 degree below winters.  The only way provisions come in are by pontoon planes.

Image via Brant Parsons, © Gerard Brown.

How did the car run? Perfect! Their fuel economy averaged about 20 miles per gallon. The low compression engine ran strong and the "AFJQX" gearing was spot on for the off-road sections. However, for the Peking to Paris event, Brant is going to change 5th gear two steps up to a "Z" for better fuel averaging  and to bring the RPM's down for cooling purposes as they expect Mongolia to be warmer with long stretches on tarmac. In this event, they ran 180 degrees most of the time with a peak oil temp at 205.

How did the car handle? According to Brant, fantastic for a 3000 lb. car with a roof rack, pushing 98 MPH at a little over 5 grand. The only negative they encountered on the roof rack, was the smack talk from the other competitors. However, as the event progressed and one other 911 cracked two wheels, Brant came to the rescue and pulled one of his wheels out of the rack, loaned it to one of the smack talkers and enabled them to finish the rally.

 Lunch stop with some of the local law. Image via Brant Parsons

Changes to the car before the Peking event besides tearing it apart to check everything, will be to raise the car another 1-1/2 inches as they found themselves bottoming out numerous times. Brant is also switching to Pirelli tires with an 8-ply sidewall that will be an inch taller.

Routine maintenance check at a stop in Whitehorse. Image via Brant Parsons

As for damage to the car, a broken mirror, two speedometer cables and a pair of wiper blades. Not bad for the first time out. Brant said, on their way to a first in class and second overall, one of the biggest problems on the trip were the super sized mosquitoes in Anchorage.

Stay tuned for further updates on the build, as 2013 and Peking comes closer. You can find the complete build-up of the '65 911 by clicking this link, "Peking to Paris Motor Challenge 2013."

Unloaded, back at the shop. Image © "Along For The Ride"

Image © "Along For The Ride"

Typical route instructions. Image © "Along For The Ride"

Stage stamps. Image © "Along For The Ride"

First in class award. Image © "Along For The Ride"

To share a comment, click here.


  1. Great piece, John. I love the spirit of adventurous souls ready to take on challanges with an old car. Drive 'em!


    1. Thanks Russ,
      I think this should be fun to watch.