Thursday, October 25, 2007

Antique Car Buff Has a Zust for Life

From the Globe and Mail, October 18, 2007 by Brennan Clarke
The Great Race
An estimated 250,000 people gathered in New York City's Times Square on Feb. 12, 1908, for the start of the now legendary New York to Paris Automobile race.
Billed as a race "nearly around the world" the event was seen as a triumph of human ingenuity and a celebration of the seemingly limitless possibilities of auto mobile technology.
Six vehicles and 17 men set out to cover the 35,000 kilometre route from New York to Paris- the 1908 German Protos, the 1908 US Thomas Flyer, the 1906 Italian Zust and three French entries, the Motobloc, the DeDion and a single cylinder Sizaire-Naudin.
The Plan was to drive across the frozen Bering Strait between Alaska and Siberia, but when that route was deemed impassable, competitors were allowed to sail to Asia and continue of land.
The Motobloc and the Sizaire-Naudin never made it off mainland North America, while the De Dion crew called it quits in Vladivostok.
The remaining three teams overcame mud bogs, quicksand, frozen tundra, flash floods bridgeless river valleys and harrowing crashes, all the while managing to patch their battered vehicles together in difficult circumstances.
The Protos reached Paris first on July 26, 1908, but the Germans received a 15 day penalty for shipping their broken-down vehicle by train from Idaho to Seattle.
Four days later, the Thomas Flyer rolled down the Champs Elysees and the Americans were declared the victors with an official time of 169 days. The Zust limped into Paris on Sept. 17.
This car is believed to be the Zust, one of the cars that finished in the New York to Paris Race of 1908. The Blackstaffs, who do antique auto restoration at Ladysmith, B.C. are restoring this legendary auto for the 100th anniversary to commemorate the Great Race.
Please see the link above for more information.

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