A couple of weekends ago I attended the kick-off party for Ed and Janet Howle along with several of their friends. Today they started off on a great adventure – the World Race 2011. This rally/race has been organized to celebrate the New York to Paris race of 1908.
Ed and Janet will spend the next thirty days or so crossing the United States on their way to San Francisco – along with at least fourteen other intrepid automobile enthusiasts. They will be piloting a 1967 blue VW beetle that will eventually cross the Pacific to Beijing, China, where it will continue west across the Asian continent and on to Europe and Paris, France.
Along with them will be Jack and Mary Crabtree in their custom 1929 Model A Speedster. I met Jack and Mary at the party and spent a good amount of time learning how Jack turned a technologically challenged antique into a sturdy, reliable vehicle that is more than able to transverse the 18,000 plus road miles that this event will demand from every participant.
First off Jack had to ditch the ancient king pin and link pin suspension and replace the moving parts of the suspension with modern ball joints and tie rod ends. Next he replaced the mechanical brake system with a hydraulic one. The front friction shocks have been retained, but the rear hides a pair of hydraulic shocks. It has an electric starter and more modern lighting for the road.
Jack was ready to install the freshly painted body on what was to be a traditional restoration of this Model A when Ed Howle called and talked him into joining the World Race. Off came the body and months were spent modernizing the chassis to a level that would support the 18,000 mile road trip.
Jack installed and wrapped a set of headers and converted the intake from an updraft carburetor to a modern downdraft version. He also installed an O2 sensor so he could monitor the air fuel ratio and make manual adjustments as needed. He fabricated a stainless steel exhaust to finish it off.
The rear has a custom framework that supports the travel trunk that holds clothes and essentials. Two additional storage containers were still being fabricated but will be installed on the framework on either side of the trunk. They will contain spare parts and fluids.
If you want to keep up with the World Race 2011 event check out their web site. If you want to know more about Ed and Janet you can catch the latest on their web site. Jack and Mary also have a web site known as Crabtree Racing. Even in the twenty-first century there are still adventures to enjoy.