Road trips are a big part of car culture, from the start to the end of an adventure and everything you see in between.
With the recent revelation that Hyundai somehow managed to get a lightly modified Santa Fe a total of 3,600 miles across the Antarctic, this got me thinking, what other cars have made astonishing journeys that you would have never thought possible.
Fiat 126 – All The Way To The Arctic Circle And Back
The Fiat 126 is not really a car intended for long distances, it’s really an Italian city car, powered by a 704cc straight-two motor producing 26hp, yes, 26hp of rampaging power.
A team consisting of Ben Coombs and his two co-drivers Brummy and Jim took a circa 1991 built 126 all the way from South Wales (via Birmingham) to the Arctic Circle. This was no summer mild weather journey either, this epic road trip started the day after Christmas Day when heading to the Arctic Circle could be considered a bit on the cold side.
By the time this intrepid team had reached Belgium and Holland, breakdowns were in double figures but somehow the little Fiat kept on going. Even with an ineffective heater and carburetor icing problems, the little Fiat kept on going.
It somehow kept going until way beyond the Arctic Circle and all the way back to the UK some days later.
You can read all about it here: https://drivetribe.com/p/e5luDxNgSkuhzeOdVhep9w?iid=Q5eC87IKQ9i1kUziIUDPJA
Mercedes CL55 AMG – New York To LA in 28 Hours 50 Minutes
The Mercedes CL55 AMG was not exactly known for setting the standard when it came to reliability in the early 2000’s, a hugely complex car such features as the Active Body Control System which would break down leading to the car’s suspension dropping randomly. A replacement suspension setup can cost anywhere from $8,000 or more. Add to this a fragile electronic system that would produce issues from nowhere and you can see why these cars have lost on average 90% of their value since rolling off the production line a decade ago.
One man was not scared by these known issues was Ed Bolian, Atlanta native and Boa Constrictor owner.
On October 19, 2013, Ed, co-driver Dave Black, and support passenger Dan Huang crammed themselves into a specially equipped 2004 CL55 AMG and set off from the famous Red Ball Parking Garage in Manhattan, New York, their destination, Los Angeles. Just 28 Hours 50 Mins and 2,813 miles later, the team arrived at the Portofino Hotel and Marina in Los Angeles setting a new Cannonball record for the coast to coast dash.
During this long journey, the Mercedes was only stationary for a total of 46 minutes, for the remaining 28 hours and 4 minutes the car was in motion at rather high speeds. Average overall speed during the trip was 98mph, moving average speed though, 100.3mph, which has to be a statement in terms of the big Benz’s ability to take abuse over such a huge distance.
For more about this record and Ed’s life with cars: http://edbolian.com/the-cannonball-record/
Citron 2CV – Gumball 3000
For reasons which no one in their right mind will ever understand, Gary Lutke and John Docherty decided to complete the 2004 Gumball 3000 in a lowly Citroen 2CV.
In a rally chock with supercars and modified rides, these two very brave individuals drive a 602cc, 29hp 2CV along the entire 3,000-mile route starting in Paris, the rally ran through Biarritz, Madrid, Marbella, Marrakesh, and Morocco, before returning to Barcelona. The 2CV was designed with soft and flobbery suspension so that French farmers could drive it around and store their eggs in them, that curved roof line was devised so they didn’t have to remove their hats, I kid you not as you cannot make this stuff up.
In a car that would barely crack 70mph, Lutke and Docherty made the entire journey without a single ticket (oddly enough), for their brave efforts this dynamic duo were awarded the coveted ‘Spirit of The Gumball’ trophy.
For more on the Gumball 3000: https://www.gumball3000.com/