Italy to France by Baby Peugeot

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Sir,

The following is an account of a drive from Aviano (Udine) Italy to Nancy, France on the weekend of July 26th, 27th in my Peugeot “Baby Sport” model 172BS, that was conducted under ideal (though hot) weather conditions.

This 39-year-old “youngster” departed Pordenone (Udine) Italy, at 0400 hrs. on July 26th in the company of a more recent 1957 Ford that acted as a luggage carrier and safety vehicle. At 0645 we entered the autostrada at Mestre (Venice) and stopped for gasoline and a belated breakfast between Verona and Brescia. During this leg the only mechanical adjustment during the entire trip was performed on the “Baby Sport” and this consisted of adjusting the ignition advance on the magneto. The timing had been adjusted for city driving and on the autostrada on long descents the engine would run rough due to the increased r.p.m. versus the ignition setting. The leg from Brescia to Milano was used to test the “Baby” for maximum sustained speed, and on a five mile (8 km.) measured flat section of the autostrada an average speed of 132 km. was attained. Exit from the autostrada at Milano was at 1140 and exit at Como was at 1225.

A delay of approximately 30 min. was experienced at the frontier at Chiasso due to traffic and a lunch period of one hour in the vicinity of Mt. Ceneri and excessively heavy ‘bus and truck traffic between Biasca and Airolo contributed to our arrival at Airolo at 1730. The heavy vehicle traffic that continued towards the St. Gotthard pass made it necessary to put the “Baby Sport” on the vehicle train at Airolo and at 1800 we arrived at Göschenen in a cold, grey, misty, drizzling rain. The Ford had elected to proceed over the St. Gotthard Pass and took over 2 hrs. to reach Göschenen so it was 2010 before our trip was resumed again. Actually the cold misty rain and wet roads had one beneficial effect on our next stretch of road down to Altdorf and that was to cool the rear wheel brake drums that tended to heat up under continuous braking made necessary by the steep descent.

Rest for the day was finally called at 2130 at Brunnen and after 15 1/2 hrs. behind the wheel. Needless to say no medication was necessary to induce sleep that evening. At 0520 on July 27th our “Baby Sport” roared to life at the first turn of the starter crank and a smooth, uneventful trip was made to Bale where entry into France was made at 1000 much to the amazement and delight of the Douane officials.

The trip to Colmar was smooth and fast as we arrived in Colmar at 1145 and the decision to pass over the Vosges Mountains at the Col de Ste. Marie was made at that time because it appeared to be a lower pass than the Col du Bonhomme. At 1400 arrival on the Col de Ste. Marie heralded time for lunch and photo taking (see photo). After lunch the final leg of our journey took us through St. Die, Luneville and almost through St. Nicholas de Port where the baby ran out of gas 2 km. from a gas station. A triumphal entry was made into Nancy at 1645, 885 km. from our departure point in Pordenone in 25 hrs. and 30 min. driving time. I hope that this account of our trip with the Peugeot “Baby Sport” will be of interest to you and perhaps to your readers. I am very proud of the manner in which this car performed, especially in the mountains where it passed many of the modern automobiles that were suffering from overheated engines and other mechanical breakdowns.

Edward J. Komyati (Major).
U.S.A.F.

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