Cars & Trucks

Behind the wheel of vehicles of all types

Two rallies this weekend in Northern California. Bring gasoline or bring a battery charger.

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Must be something about the end of April, but this weekend will see the kickoff of not one but two Northern California auto rallies. Both will have esoteric entries and both promise a bit of adventure and a few possible cliffhangers (more of which, later.)

One rally will be for classic old sports and touring cars, powered by gasoline or, for the British cars, petrol. The other event will be what organizers call the “first-ever (electric vehicle) car rally” in the North Bay. I think it will be more restful, exhaust note-wise, than the first race.

We’ll start with the more venerable one. On Sunday (April 27), 77 historic cars will gather outside the Fairmont Hotel, on top of San Francisco’s Nob Hill, for a public display before warming up early Monday morning and setting off on the 24th annual California Mille.

The Mille is a replica of Italy’s storied road race, the 1,000-mile Mille Miglia. The cars that ran that race (and will run the California version) were from model years 1927 to 1957. This year’s entries include Alfa Romeos, Ferraris, Porsches, Jaguars and the odd Kurtis Kraft and Lancia Aprilia.

California’s Mille was created by the late uber car guy Martin Swig; his sons, David and Howard Swig, are now the Mille’s co-directors.

After Sunday’s car show – it runs from about noon to 6 p.m. – the cars will go to sleep, then wake up early Monday to set off at 8:30 a.m. on the four-day rally through Northern California. Cliffhanger note: any time you take a bunch of sports cars ranging from 57 to 87 years old out for a 1,000-mile spin, better have a riding mechanic or a chase truck.

Meanwhile, over in San Rafael, some 35 electric cars will get ready to leave, after 8:30 a.m. Saturday (April 26), from the parking lot at a Target store, 125 Shoreline Parkway. Dubbed the “Shift to Electric 20144: Cool the Earth EV Rally,” the event was created by officials of Cool the Earth, the Golden Gate Electric Vehicle Association and the Ferrari Owners Group Charitable Foundation (is there an electric-powered 1962 250 GTO out there that we don’t know about?).

Those who are curious about electric cars will be able to test drive Nissan Leaf all-electric cars in the parking lot. You can also see, if not hear, the electrified versions of these makes and models that will be in the rally: BMW, Chevrolet Spark, Fiat 500E, Honda Fit, Nissan Leaf, Tesla, and Toyota.

Next stop, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. is the Bon Air Shopping Center in Greenbrae, where there will be talks about green energy. Then the cars will silently woosh their way up to Sonoma and finish up by about 3:30 p.m. at the Bardessono resort in Yountville. Cliffhanger alert: watch for incipient range anxiety, an affliction common to drivers of cars powered by nothing but electricity. Oops. Why did we stop? Why won’t it go?  Is there a charger around here?

 

 

Categories: General
Michael Taylor

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