2010 Peking to Paris Rally

Peking to Paris car rally in a Model A

Aftermath of Peking to Paris Rally

Posted by Fritz On January - 17 - 2011

After being back from the 10,000 mile – Peking to Paris Motor Challenge Rally for 2 ½ months it’s interesting to reflect on how it has changed my life. It was such an intense and great experience and I feel very fortunate that I was able to experience such an adventure. So many cultures, sights, sounds and perspectives of our world. These have all made it difficult to step back in the world as I know it here in Iowa. At first I could not stop thinking about the trip and the daily routines we had to follow. I had to ask myself several times – what do I do here in Iowa and how do I do it? I could never find anything because I was so used to living out of the back of the model A.

The positive side of all of this is that I have a new prospective of what I should be doing with my life. In my business I have more interest in planning the future rather than the day by day. My vision of the future has improved. I would like to continue to do things other than work. I am planning this for the short and long term. I seem to be more outgoing and sure of myself. When I talk to someone, I hold eye contact much better than before. I appreciate small things. You might say that it has had a positive change in my life. The challenge is to hold on to this philosophy.

Another question is – What happened to the car? Henry, as we affectionately call him is back at Ora Landis’ restoration garage for a checkup. The results of the checkup are published here. After reading what Henry went through we estimate that we were very lucky to make it to Paris without a break down. It might have been only days away from failure of a major component such as the cooling system.

Henry’s motor is out and being taken to pieces and being inspected. The radiator fell into three pieces when it was removed. The body must come off so we can weld and reinforce the frame. Every moving part must be repaired and replaced.

Will Henry ever be the same? – No – but I’ll bet he could make the Peking to Paris Rally in 2013 without trouble. The car will have its scars and fresh welds but everything will be fixed and ready to rally. The results show how rough the rally was and how well prepared we were. We had no mechanical breakdowns and no flat tires.

We intend to post 200 or more pictures on this site and if possible a short movie that Lang put together of the rally.

We have had fun speaking to our local Model A club – it brings back all of the good memories of the rally and all the great people we were with.

Here is the assessment of damage done to our Model A.

Following is a message from Ora Landis, Schwalm’s Babbitted Bearings, Inc in Strasburg, PA:

Hi Fritz and Lang.  We have had a chance to do some work on Old Henry.  We have removed the engine, trans, and the front and rear axles.  There has been quite a lot of damage to the car.  Some of it you have already noticed and some that is hidden from view.  I will try to cover most of it with you, from what we have inspected so far.

The rear frame rails on both sides have been cracked.  The right rear side is missing a piece.  The rear bumper brackets have also broken right in this area.  We unloaded all of the spare parts and luggage out of the rear of the vehicle, to look at the rear body bolts to frame, because they were loose.  Under further inspection, we realized that the body is broken away in many pieces where it bolts to the frame in the rear, from all of the pounding and extra luggage weight. These areas we can repair.  However, to repair the body and reinforce those areas, it will require removing the body from the frame.  This would also allow us to get to the frame better, to weld on the top side of the frame rails.  Let me know your thoughts on this.

The spare tire mount needs work, but it looks like it fared well, by having the extra support added in the rear.  However, it would probably be a good idea to carry only one spare tire and wheel and strap an extra tire to it, like you had it when you brought it back.

We removed the front cross member.  It looks OK, but the driver side frame rail has a crack that will need to be welded up around the front cross member.

The radiator was in many pieces.  We will need to put in a new radiator.  I am also trying to think of a way to help save the next radiator.

The left front fender has a 2 ½ inch crack.  I thought that we should weld and repaint this.  What do you think?

The gas tank bracket to steering column has cracked from all of the pounding.  I think that we should cut the bracket off, solder the crack and make a custom bracket that mounts the steering column up under the dash, so that it does not keep cracking the gas tank.  Let me know your thoughts.

The steering box looks in bad shape.  I would recommend we order another one.

The windshield pillars on both sides need to be welded.  The aluminum shifter arm on the overdrive unit broke.  That is why it was not shifting properly.  I think it would be good to make a new arm out of steel, rather than getting another aluminum one from Mitchell.

The running board bracket on the passenger side needs to be replaced.

We disassembled the front axle and we are going through that as we speak.  The kingpins and bushings took quite a beating from the sand and dirt.  The driver’s side wheel bearing got really hot and was completely dry and black.  Was this the one you tightened up?

After seeing what things look like, I think that I would recommend putting new shocks on.

We also need to put on new head lights because the brackets came loose from the head lights and tore them up.

We did start and run the engine before we took it apart.  I noticed the oil filter bracket was cracked.  That is where the oil leak was coming from.

We plan to disassemble the engine, rear and trans and inspect them.  I will let you know what we find there.

I think that is all for now.  Please let me know your thoughts or suggestions.


One Response to “Aftermath of Peking to Paris Rally”

  1. George Wieder says:

    Fritz….Thanks so much for the update. I was really interested in Ora’s comments on how Henry held up through your incredible journey. It sounds like he took quite a beating and I’m so happy to hear you are having him repaired. Model A’s are such wonderful cars, we need to preserve as many of them as possible. Looking forward to seeing your photo’s when you get them posted.

    George Wieder
    Broomfield, CO