Vintage car rally captivates Prague

19-07-2004

The annual Auto-Stangl vintage car rally was held in Prague at the weekend. Since it began five years ago, this prestigious rally has become one of the biggest events of its kind in the world.

Bohemia Ralley Historic, photo: CTKBohemia Ralley Historic, photo: CTK Prague's Old Town Square was taken over by the sound of vintage motors and a 1920s swing band on Friday. The commotion was all part of the grand opening of the Auto-Stangl Bohemia Ralley Historic. This event is a massive rally of vintage cars, including automobiles as old as the Premier Runabout from 1907 and a Chevrolet from 1928.

Given that the Czech Republic has a proud motoring tradition, and is also home to the Skoda car manufacturer, which was renowned in the 1920s and '30s for the innovative, high quality motorcars it produced, it's safe to assume that this country is a suitable location for an event of this nature. Ladislav Pakosta, one of the organisers of the rally, agrees:

"Yes, we have a tradition in rallies - in quick rallies as well as in historical rallies. This rally is practically the top historical rally. In the whole world there are only 26 rallies like this."

Bohemia Ralley Historic, photo: CTKBohemia Ralley Historic, photo: CTK Given the prestige of the event, Mr Pakosta says the rally now attracts vintage car enthusiasts from all over the world:

"We now have 77 crews with cars and motorcycles here. Most of them are Czech crews but we also have 15 crews from abroad. There are crews from Belgium, Denmark, France, the United States, England, Austria, Germany and Slovakia."

This international collection of historical cars certainly delighted locals as it passed through roads and motorways around Prague at the weekend. Englishman Jamie Seal, driving a 1960s Maserati Gibley, was quick to stress, however, that the rally is more than just a colourful procession:

"It's actually a competition which involves being given a map that's got a route on it [which you follow]. Depending on the age of your car, you have to do an average of 30 or 40 kilometres an hour to get from the start to the final destination. But the rally takes you around areas of interest both inside and outside of Prague as well. So it's also a cultural experience. I've been doing it for four years now and I'm starting to see the same faces every year. So it's obviously a well organised and enthusiastic rally."

19-07-2004