One of our Members, Andrew Drinkwater and his Navigator Diana Cooper entered the 2010 Peking to Paris Rally with this little Renault 750 (more commonly known as the 4CV which is left hand drive).
This is one of the World’s toughest “road tests” for motor vehicles due to the poor terrain, very steep mountain roads and high and low temperatures outside. The Rally is spread over 37 days and 14,360 kilometres (8,923 miles).
There have been many modifications to the car in preparation for the Rally to face the elements and rough roads / terrain expected. The modifications are mainly as follows below:
Although the car does not have an oil filter as standard, this was absolutely necessary for this trip. To overcome this problem, the mechanical fuel pump was removed and an oil filter assembly mounted in its place. The oil feed was from the sump by the addition of judicious pipe work to a power steering pump replacing the jockey wheel fan belt tensioner and the outlet pipe to the filter. Passing through the filter, the oil was then routed into the timing gear cover aimed precisely into the fibre intermediate timing gear which is known to break teeth occasionally. 2 spare fibre gears were taken as spares but not used!
The fuel pump was replaced by an electric SU pump which after 2 separate exposures to very dusty conditions, failed and so was wrapped up in a plastic bag for the remainder of the journey and did not stop again.
The ignition was uprated to electronic which, although looks “Heath Robinson” worked remarkably well.
The inlet manifold has been heavily modified and an SU Carburettor added for reliability plus Andy (the “Pilot”) new these carbs inside out if a problem occurred. This arrangement forced a modified exhaust system which pushed the silencer out through the body as can be seen! A “racey” touch!
The electrical supply is provided by a 12 Volt Rover battery in place of the standard 6 Volt plus an alternator in place of the dynamo. This combination proved very satisfactory and gave faultless service throughout.
A number of auxiliary gauges (water temp, oil pressure, fuel) plus numerous warning lights and additional switches have been added for that extra warning assurance.
Recaro style seats from a modern Peugeot were installed to give that vital comfort during those long days of driving. On one day, Andy drove for 18 hours to make up for time lost when the nearside front axle broke off due to an unforeseen fracture and the wait for a replacement despatched by our Club by DHL!!
The external mods included under body stone guards, beefed-up bumpers front and rear and the especially made roofrack by the Malaysian restoration team who prepared the car. A roofbox was added and the aluminium air intakes to the back wings to provide extra cooling. Both of these items were discarded en route to save weight.
Whilst 12 cars dropped out of the Rally, it is testament to the design of this little car and to those who prepared and drove it, that it completed this gruelling challenge on only 748cc’s.