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  Peking Paris Rally- Preparations

The Peking to Paris Motor Challenge 2007 is an adventure-rally in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the first-ever trans-continental motor-marathon.
Italian Prince Borghese and his Itala, his rival Dutchman and three other cars set out in 1907 on the first-ever trans-continental marathon, driving the greatest distance between two capital cities.
The route will be totally authentic, in terms of driving conditions and places visited, taking cars northwards through the Great Wall of China, through the Gobi Desert into Outer Mongolia, crossing the Steppes and vast grassy plains of Asia, into Russia and southern Siberia and on to Moscow....then it’s northwards to St. Petersburg, and on into Europe to a party in Paris.

(taken from , the official website).

Amoung the over 100 entries there is at least one Magnette, prepared by José Romão de
 Sousa from Portugal. herte are the first pictures.

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  • 2592 front
  • 2592 rear

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  • aluminium od gearbox cover
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  • bottom of trunk
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  • front brakes and antirollbar
  • gearbox rear mount

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  • instrumentcluster
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Update Ocober/November 2006:

  • AntirollBar
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  • Check Dimensions Small

  • Disk Brake + Anti-sway Bar
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  • Exhaust

  • Front fender
  • Front view ground clearance
  • Ground clearance

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Update December 2006:

  • AirFilters
  • DoorsPainting
  • ExhaustJoint

  • ExhaustMount
  • Kenlowe fan mount
  • KenloweFan

  • KenloweFanOilCooler
  • Oil cooler
  • SpaxGasShock

A very strong sump guard is mandatory, especially since the sump is so prominent and so vulnerable and we are short of the 8” ground clearance we were aiming for.
But this is part of the specific rallye preparation which is to follow and will be done by a different guy, and also includes all the electrics (with several dual circuits), two electric FACET fuel pumps, plus king filter and water separator, many other instruments (rev counter, oil pressure and temperature, Brandtz, GPS, lambda sensor, etc), aeroquip pipings for fuel running inside the cabin, mudflaps, etc., etc.

Update February 2007

Yesterday was grey, rainy and windy and the enclosed pictures are terrible. The car was trailed to the MOT station and the available background for picture taking was also very bad.
Because of this last minute request by the Chinese authorities for a valid European MOT certificate by this week, we had to rush the car through the MOT test with many rally specific installations still missing. I did not “dare” take more pictures inside the car just yet since many rally instruments are still not fitted.
In addition, you can see that outside there are a lot of things still to be done: no hockey stick body trim, small and narrow tyres (155 x 15), front suspension too low, windscreen trim lifting, etc.
I plan to start testing the car in 2 weeks time and by then I will make a complete and detailed photo session.

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Update March 2007

One of the last decisions we faced was over which tyres to use, the basic options being between modern low-profile “traction” forest tyres (such as Colway remoulds) and reinforced high-profile van tyres. The 4.5“ original steel wheel is a bit special and available rally tyre offer for such a narrow wheel is very limited. In the end we opted for the latter ones, and chose a semi-steel radial light-truck Chinese (!) tyre, size 185R15C (674 mm outside diameter) by Chengshan, with a nominal standard load of 875 Kg each. These are the ones I will be testing this weekend. The idea is to maximize ground clearance and puncture resistance, even allowing for a relatively small traction on mud or loose gravel. I will report on test conclusions.

I drove the car for the first time over the weekend. The idea was to do as many miles as possible running-in the engine and getting acquainted with the car handling.  We adjusted the rear suspension height with a full tank (80 liters) plus 120 Kg in the boot. I did about 500 miles on tarmac and smooth gravel roads (no sump protection fitted) and was reasonably pleased with the steering, the handling and  the brakes (no need to remove valve…). I was not too pleased with the engine and we later decided to remove it and check a number of things. So the engine is out and this may prevent me from doing another run next weekend…
I plan to attend the Magnette & Steam Event on April 7th , so only 3 weeks to go…


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Update April 2007

-          After the engine problem I decided to add a rev counter and oil pressure, oil temperature and water temperature gauges. We produced an extra octagon-shaped veneered cluster (placed on top of the dash using the ashtray insert), where we put the rev counter in the middle and the oil pressure and oil temperature gauges on the sides. The water temperature gauge is now on the central panel (radio space) together with the petrol tank level gauge.

-          The ignition switch and starter knob are now on the left of the heater controls, behind the roll cage vertical section;

-          We also added an extra veneered panel underneath the dash to accommodate additional switches plus the windscreen water jet switch;

-          We now have the two petrol pumps and the two coils switched on and off from the instrument panel;

-          The roll cage is fully bolted and can be removed if required. The space between the cage and the body, both on the front vertical sections and on the top horizontal ones, allow them to be used as handles by the co-driver (can also be used by the driver, but his hands are usually busy grabbing something else…);

-          We glued an aluminum foil-surfaced fire-retardant 5 mm foam inside the top to prevent the car from getting too hot in the sun (we also did the same inside the aluminum gearbox cover to minimize the heat from a different heat-source…);

-          The manual fire extinguisher is on the floor in front of the co-driver’s seat.

-          The automatic fire extinguisher tank is also on the floor but behind the co-driver’s seat. It is operated from a control box at the rear of the aluminum gearbox cover, under the hand brake lever. There are jets on both sides of the engine compartment and on both sides of the cabin;

-          The two tyres have now been moved inside the car, horizontally behind the co-driver’s seat (the new wider tyres make it impossible to fit both in the trunk, and I did not want any more welding…).

-          Wheel mud flaps are transparent…

-          Co-driver foot rest has three foot-operated switches, two on the right (wiper plus water jets) and one on the left (horn).

-          There are sockets on the engine compartment, trunk and dash to plug-in a torch, additional instruments, etc.  

-          I plan to plug a i-Pod into the driver/co-driver headphone communication system so that we can listen to music/radio whenever possible.


There will be a final round of pictures before the car departure Wed night, because we had a last minute change of front coils, shock absorbers and mounts to get an extra inch of ground clearance (every little mm helps…).

Last minute changes included a totally revised suspension set-up (1 extra inch of ground clearance, different shocks front and rear, etc.), new rear axle bearings and sealing, a larger sump protection and a new location for the Brandz pulse sensor.

The Duraluminium sump protection is now much larger than anticipated. We put a 34 mm round bar across the two front eyelets and welded two front support mounts on it. The protection is bolted at the rear and also in between front and rear. I enclose a number of low-res pictures to illustrate this. We believe it will prove sufficiently strong to withstand abuse as a “skid” platform… We also added a small protection for the diff lower bolt at the rear.

The pulse sensor is now parallel to the car axis on the left front brake disc assembly.

At the rear inside the car we loaded the two spare wheels, 3 boxes of spares, the jack, sleeping tent and mattresses. All the rest went into the trunk. Not too heavy and plenty of space left there for our two small bags…


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Update 15.04.07

When I collected the car at Calais Friday night it was immediately apparent that something new was wrong: huge vibration at around 50 miles/hour. This was not previously noticeable, so my initial feeling was that the last-minute changes had created a new problem…

These last minute changes had been:

-          lightening a 1” thick prop-shaft spacer we had previously used without any problems;

-          fitting the sump guard;

-          a new exhaust mount support bracket;

-          and new bearings and ring sealing on the rear axle. 

I drove carefully to Winchcombe and planned to look for the cause at the end of the meeting. During the meeting I had a word with Paul Batho who very kindly volunteered to help me look at the possible causes. We drove to his place and in succession removed each one of the first three possible causes but were unable to identify the cause for the vibration. Thank you Paul for a late Saturday afternoon’s work…

The only real alternative left was the prop-shaft itself. At about 9.30 pm we called Doug Smith of MG Motorsport and I arranged to meet him next day (Easter Sunday) at 2.30 pm. He had a new MGB prop-shaft, which was ½ inch too long and required a bit of trimming on the splines end to make it work comfortably when the rear axle bumps up and down. But it worked and the vibration was gone. Thank you Doug.

Why this happened is not totally clear. There was now a “play” on one of the prop-shaft U-joints. It is possible that the new suspension height had created a new angle for the U-joints to operate and this may have exposed a problem that went undetected before. Or it could just have deteriorated during the 2,000 miles or so I had driven so far.

So after 2 days of detective work we had solved the vibration “mystery”. I then drove a few hundred miles more, collecting my wife from Heathrow Monday morning, doing again (this time with her) the GPS training test I had done alone before and then driving to Bury S. Edmonds to deliver the car to the shippers Tuesday morning.

It is on its way to Beijing now…


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