One of the most famous journeys ever made by motor-car, the 1907 Peking to Paris race, is to be commemorated using the same 24hp Itala. The 10,000-mile feat by Prince Borghese and his chauffeur Guizzardi was recorded by Luigi Barzini, the journalist who accompanied them, and his story still makes compelling reading.
Now the car, displayed at the Turin Automobile Museum, has been rebuilt in Fiat’s workshop to undertake another such trip this spring, though the route differs too greatly to count as a repeat. Where Barzini’s descriptions lead the reader over the Gobi Desert, across Mongolia and through the heart of the Russias, the 1989 route is 2400 miles longer and will cross Pakistan, Iran and Turkey before rejoining the 1907 trail at Moscow.
Then, the Itala travelled alone; this time a fleet of six Fiat Group vehicles will accompany it, along with television crews, as Fiat and RIA Italian television are co-sponsors of this massive undertaking.
A similar but semi-private trip is also being planned for spring 1990 by the London adventure travel company Voyages Jules Verne. 110 entries at £10,000 apiece, including some vintage cars, have already been received for the 56-day run from London to Peking, which again does not follow Borghese’s tracks, but goes via Soviet Armenia and Uzbekistan.