Follies and Photos: The Great Race 2012

What your daddy never told you about long-distance travel in a seriously old car. After driving for more than 10 days, through two countries, 19 cities, and over 2,300 miles, the team from the Historic Vehicle Association has put together this shortlist of “road rules” that anyone who wants to attempt a cross-country trip should follow.

Would they do it again? Are you kidding? Yes. Driving is half the fun of owning a historic vehicle. The team returned home tired, but a bit wiser, learning each day from the wonderful participants in this year’s Great Race and meeting a few car guys and gals along the way. Every day brought a new experience and — in the interest of passing along some of the hard-earned knowledge — here is a brief rundown of the “Top Five Things We Learned Today,” condensed to ensure the greatest amount of car specificity:

1. Do not, under any circumstances, name your car Miss Adventure. Really, you’re just asking for trouble.

2. Just because a car starts up, doesn’t mean it will continue to run all day; especially if it is an older model vehicle with a stubborn personality to match an equally stubborn name.

3. If the triple-digit distance one has to drive in a day is exceeded by the temperatures outside, it’s best to enjoy said drive in the comfort of an air conditioned car.

4. Okay, yes, stopping is great. But once stopped, can we start again?

5. Bugs have it better off with modern cars. The grilles of these older cars resemble that of a battlefield; a war waged with millions of tiny casualties, none standing a chance or hope of survival. What a mess.

Those who followed along in real time will recall with a knowing smile the trials and tribulations faced by Team HVA and the appropriately-named Miss Adventure during this year’s running of the Great Race. Regardless of any mechanical setbacks, a great time was had by all and many new friends were made along the way, each with an interesting story to tell – many of which will be shared in the coming months as part of our This Car Matters movement.

A full recap of the individual stages as experienced by Team HVA and Miss Adventure is available on the HVA blog here, while more photographs from the race are available here. This year’s race was won by Barry and Irene Jason, whose 1935 Ford Coupe helped carry them to victory all the way around the Great Lakes. More information on the winners of and participants in this year’s event is available on the Great Race’s website. A big congratulations to all this year’s participants – as Corky Coker says, “to finish is to win.”

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