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Subject: IBGNAR
From: "A. B. Bonds" <>
Date: 11 Jul 1995 10:25:09 -0500
I wrote this bit last Friday and sent it to the big list, but it seems
to have gotten lost.  Following on the thread about the Great North
American Race....

The IBGNAR (Interstate Battery Great North American Race) passed
through Music City yesterday evening and your decrepit reporter was
On the Scene.  For the uninitiated, this event is more properly a rally,
involving vehicles that must be pre-WW2.  The course this year is
unique, involving participation of our neighbors to both the north and
south.  The caravan left Ottowa, Ontario on July 1 and is scheduled to
enter Mexico City on July 15.  They are currently 40% through the
5,000 mile plus trip, and the entries surviving thus far number about

The local events began with over an hour of flag-waving hype,
apparently necessitated by sponsorship by the Navy recruiting office. 
Once the cars began to arrive, interest picked up markedly.  Each car
ran down a reviewing line while their daily score (error time) was
posted.  Times, added from four checkpoints, ran from the ridiculous
(5-6 minutes) to the sublime (10 seconds, several participants).  Most
of the rides were American Iron from the 30's, with a preponderance
of mid-late 30's Buicks and Packards and a number of Model A
speedsters.  Foreign cars were not in abundance--there was a
beautiful Delahaye GP car and (BritCar content) a relatively rare MG
TB, "The City of Toronto".  (Hmmm.  Imagine 5000 miles in 15 days
in a T car.)  I had a chance to chat with one of the crew members
working on this car, and so far they had experienced no major trouble
aside from a shot generator bearing.  The only other foreign cars that
had entered the race were a Talbot, which had dropped a couple of
days ago, and a Hispano-Suiza, which had thrown a rod that day. 
When I left they were busily hunting for a local machine shop that
could handle babbitt.

My own view of the most interesting entries included:  A Harley-
Davidson knucklehead, first time for a solo entry in the contest (driver
had the rally instructions on a scrolling device between the
handlebars); 1938 Kenworth diesel tractor; McDowell Indy-type racer;
1912 Velie (oldest car in the race, chugging along just fine, thank
you); and the Termite Taxi, a Chrysler Town and Country that was
highly unrestored.  The latter had rot and bondo everywhere.  One
would assume that for such a challenge the mechanicals on the car
would be top-notch, but a glance under the hood was otherwise
convincing.  I think what attracted me most about this car was the
idea that the owner had resisted restoration despite what it would be
worth in more pristine condition.

Regarding mechanical conditions, none of the cars that I could see
were "stock".  Nearly all had electric cooling fans, 12-volt systems
and alternators, and many of the earlier magneto-based cars had been
fitted with distributors.  The rules permit enhancement of brakes (like,
on all four wheels), but the engine blocks themselves were original. 
Despite the generally high level of preparation, age takes its toll, and
in addition to the busted Hisso, I observed replacement of front wheel
bearings and welding of snapped radius rods out there on the grass.

Despite the hype on the front end, the event was thoroughly
enjoyable.  It was very well-organized, and there was an extraordinary
amount of mutual support.  The drivers and navigators took time to
chat with visitors and even let them pose in the cars.  The real thrill
was the incredible mixture of noise and smell coming from over 100
pieces of Old Iron doing its job.
        A. B. "Gee, that looks like fun, for a while at least" Bonds

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