Not sure what retirement means in Francis’ dictionary but it seems to be something like “visit more deserts and do more work”. Recently returned from fun times in the Sahara with the Dakar 911, Fran has delved back into his preparation of a 356 Coupe, set to do this year’s Peking to Paris rally.
2013 is the fifth Peking to Paris event. The rally came up in conversation a few days ago, with one person describing it as a tour. Sure, it’s a tour if you live on the moon. Tarmac is almost non existent, hotels even more so, temperatures vary from -10 to well into the 40s Celsius and most of the early running is done across the Gobi desert. Yes, that Gobi desert in uncharted Mongolia, with no roads to speak of and welders somewhat scarce.
We have previously built a 356 for this event, which did very well. The little green car is still stored with us, and still in great condition. We took it out of storage to inspire some of the modifications to this one and it was great to see how well the first preparation held up.
For this version, we have added quite a bit of suspension strengthening and chassis protection, rebuilt the engine, added new seats on custom seat rails, fabricated a brand new fuel tank and countless other jobs. Francis has also made some custom dampers: more on that later.
It looks almost ready to rock, but we’ll see how it goes when the event gets cracking on May 28. We’re not aiming to win, just build a reliable car.