The 2009 Gumball Rally 3000 (1st -7th May) fuses an exhilarating road race with beautiful motors, music, film and entertainment, all packed into a 3,000 mile, week-long mad dash. Now in its eleventh year, the organisers aim to unite people through popular culture and the language of the motorcar.
In other words, give the owners of 120 fantastic cars alongside thousands of spectators the time of their lives!
The race last took place fully in the US six years ago. As it’s being brought forward to be held once more in its traditional slot during the first week of May, it’s making a welcome return to its roots.
This year, the organisers have planned a classic ‘coast-to-coast’ road trip (from the Pacific to the Atlantic) between two of America’s most important media, arts and entertainment centres – star-struck Los Angeles on the west coast, to tropical Miami, Florida in the east.
With key check points as well as parties en route in Las Vegas, Santa Fe, Dallas and New Orleans, streets will be closed in each city to create a full-on Gumball festival atmosphere.
Our client, Geoffrey Foster-Taylor can hardly wait. He bought his MkII Jaguar from us after we’d given it one of JD Classics’ special JD Sports upgrades. We then upgraded it again for him, replacing the naturally aspirated V8 engine with a supercharged V8, offering mesmerising, unprecedented performance for a MkII.
Having finished thoroughly preparing his car in early spring for the biggest test he and his exceptional motor have yet faced, we’ve shipped it out to the States all ready to go. It’s the first car JD Classics have ever worked on that’s competed in the Gumball.
Now having seen classic vehicles through legendary events such as La Carrera Panamericana and dozens of historic races successfully, several of our team would have given their hind teeth to tag along for the experience of a lifetime. But predictably, our client decided to take a dear friend along instead to share such spectacular memories with.
All of us at JD Classics wish them the best of luck and will let you know how they get on as soon as we can.
Having promised an update on this epic jaunt across the US, we’re delighted to report that both car and client had a memorable time together – despite the start…
Even though the car had arrived 17 days before our client was to be reunited with it, frustratingly, it hadn’t yet been cleared by US Customs when he arrived to collect it. Which meant he had an extremely stressful day’s wait while a suite of protocols were belatedly satisfied.
Eventually, the car was released around 4pm, and our hugely relieved client drove it into town to get its racing decals.
Not a great start, but mercifully, things got much, much better from that point onwards.
Unforgettable highlights include dropped jaws on the faces of friends in a Lamborghini when our client overtook them in Death Valley!
Then there was a big day’s racing from Dallas to New Orleans, via a look at the crater where the Apollo astronauts trained... followed by getting pulled over doing 80mph in a 70mph limit. The sheriff took them to the courtrooms – and oddly enough, they had a ball!
"$170," said the female judge. "Any discount for prompt payment?" quizzed our client.
"You have cash?" "Sure!" The reply was prompt and optimistic. "Okay; $160!"
Emboldened by this encouragement, our intrepid adventurer pressed a little further: "How about if I don't need a receipt?" "Naw, we don't do that here," came the firm but gentle rebuff! They then had some pictures taken with the accommodating arbitrator before leaving!
Overall, the car behaved superbly and our client crossed the finish line with a great sense of achievement. In his words, he enjoyed “3000 trouble-free miles at high speed in a superb motor car” – regardless of a brief stop in Albuquerque to sort out a few minor tweaks (while our client and his companions kicked back at a greasy spoon breakfast café and relaxed!).
2010’s Gumball 3000 route has already been inked in, running from London to New York. Apparently, our client and his JD Classics’ restored MkII have already signed up…