THE PANAM CLASSIC 2023
CLASSIC TOURING & REGULARITY RALLY
JULY 26 to AUGUST 21, 2023
The second PanAm Classic takes us from colonial style Charleston on the Atlantic coast of the USA, through the mid-west over memorable mountains, across the dust bowl and Death Valley to the Yosemite National Park to finish on the Pacific Ocean at the great Pebble Beach Concours, where VIP entry is included.
Taking us on a fantastic ride up mountains, down switchbacks, twisting and turning all the way, this 27 day tour de force travels the byways of this great country in the footsteps of the pioneers of days gone by. While we enjoy the route following in their tracks we can marvel at the great scenery that must have been jaw dropping for the travellers of 200 or more years ago.
Not only do we go to some of the great music venues of more modern times, we will also visit the towns and times made famous by the cowboys and the drive to find new and exciting lands.
We stay off the highways as much as possible and travel the byways, searching out the best roads for such an amazing coast to coast trip. We also offer the option of staying on for the duration of the Pebble Beach Concours giving you the opportunity to make the most of your visit.
While the PanAm is designed as a competitive rally there is a Touring class as well plus a category for muscle cars, old and modern. In total there are 16 driving days plus 5 rest days at the best places to ensure you don’t see everything in your rear view mirror!
Most of the competition will be of the Regularity variety although there may also be driving tests. An awe inspiring route awaits.
• Accommodation with breakfast for all nights of the rally
• Evening meal on driving days
• The back yards of America
• Music cities
• Dirt roads and mountains
• Back roads and small town America
• Indian reservations and Canyons
• Cowboy towns
• The Great Plains
• The Ozarks and Blue Ridge Mountains
• Death Valley and Yosemite
• Pikes Peak and the Rockies
• Welcome and Farewell dinners
• Mechanical support team
• Rally decals, tulip road book and our experienced team
• VirtualMarshal™ timing system
• Return airfares to USA and airport transfers
• Cost of meals and drinks and entry to places of interest other than those specifically included in the final itinerary
• Personal expenses
• Fuel and Tolls
|Day 1||26 July||Charleston||Arrive|
|Day 2||27 July||Charleston||Collect Cars|
|Day 3||28 July||Charleston||Greenville|
|Day 4||29 July||Greenville||Knoxville|
|Day 5||30 July||Knoxville||Nashville|
|Day 6||31 July||Nashville||Day Off|
|Day 7||1 August||Nashville||Cape Giradeau|
|Day 8||2 August||Cape Giradeau||Springfield|
|Day 9||3 August||Springfield||Tulsa|
|Day 10||4 August||Tulsa||Dodge City|
|Day 11||5 August||Dodge City||Colarodo Springs|
|Day 12||6 August||Colarado Springs||Day Off|
|Day 13||7 August||Colarado Springs||Taos|
|Day 14||8 August||Taos||Durango|
|Day 15||9 August||Durango||Moab|
|Day 16||10 August||Moab||Bryce Canyon|
|Day 17||11 August||Bryce Canyon||Day off|
|Day 18||12 August||Bryce Canyon||Las Vegas|
|Day 19||13 August||Las Vegas||Day off|
|Day 20||14 August||Las Vegas||Yosemite|
|Day 21||15 August||Yosemite||Auburn|
|Day 22||16 August||Auburn||Bodega Bay|
|Day 23||17 August||Bodega Bay||Pebble Beach|
|Day 24||18 August||Pebble Beach||Pebble Beach|
|Day 25||19 August||Pebble beach||Pebble Beach|
|Day 26||20 August||Pebble beach||Pebble Beach|
|Day 27||21 August||Pebble beach||Depart|
• Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger or Mustang Coupe or exotics at additional cost.
• Ask about tour discounts if you drive your own car. Open to all Classic cars.
Day 1 – Arrive Charleston – 26th July
Day 2 – Collect Cars – 27th July
Day 3 – Charleston to Greenville – 28th July
We start in the pretty colonial town of Charleston, the South Carolina port city founded in 1670. It is defined by its cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages and pastel antebellum houses, particularly in the elegant French Quarter and Battery districts. The Battery promenade and Waterfront Park both overlook Charleston Harbour, while Fort Sumter, a federal stronghold where the first shots of the Civil War rang out, lies across the water. Our day is a mixture of tarmac and light gravel providing a straightforward start to the coast to coast adventure.
Day 4 – Greenville to Knoxville – 29th July
Greenville claims to be the friendliest town in the USA as well as the 6th smallest. It has a quaint main street, bustling art scene including jazz and and a culinary reputation. Set in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains it has spectacular views and nearby waterfalls. Our driving day is spectacular and includes the great Tail of the Dragon pass with 318 bends in just 11 miles. We also drive through Brevard, the heart of the Antebellum Southern Belles of the Carolinas of old. We drive through Caesars Head State Park and the Mountain Bridge Wilderness area where we pass the Looking Glass Falls.
Day 5 – Knoxville to Nashville – 30th July
Today we get a chance to see into the backyards of America as we truly get out into the boomdocks. We pass white weatherboarded churches in abundance and can marvel at the lawnmowing prowess of the locals. Today we cross into Tennessee and visit the Daniel Boone Forest. We barely touch the highways until we near Nashville, the country music capital of the world. Our hotel is near the Grand Old Opry but downtown is where the action is. We take a day off here to sample the music and the Lane Museum of Unique Cars.
Day 6 – Nashville Day off – 31st July
Day 7 – Nashville to Cape Giradeau – 1st August
Located on the Mississippi River, Cape Giradeau is referred to as the prettiest town in Missouri, due to the preservation of its historic buildings. Sometimes called the City of Roses it once had a ninemile stretch of highway lined with rose bushes. Today we drive by Kentucky Lake across the Mississippi river.
Day 8 – Cape Giradeau to Springfield – 2nd August
Day eight takes us onwards through the Mark Twain National Forest on empty gravel and tarmac roads. It’s a great area of wilderness with inspiring views and fabulous roads finishing in Springfield on the edge of the Ozark Mountains. A fabulous day’s driving.
Day 9 – Springfield to Tulsa – 3rd August
Next up is Tulsa. Today we start to come out of the mountains for a while crossing the farming heartland of the state which has surprisingly excellent and smooth dirt roads. Tulsa is, of course, famous for the song 24 Hours from Tulsa. It is situated on the Arkansas River between the Osage Hills and the foothills of the Ozark Mountains in northeast Oklahoma, a region of the state known as “Green Country”. Considered the cultural and arts centre of Oklahoma, Tulsa houses two art museums, full-time professional opera and ballet companies, and one of the nation’s largest concentrations of art deco architecture.
Day 10 – Tulsa to Dodge City – 4th August
Today we truly drop out of the mountains and onto the mid-west to one of the most famous cowboy towns which has featured in many a western. Roads are long and straight but nonetheless the journey is exhilarating. Dodge City became famous as a true frontier settlement of the Old West. It had more famous (and infamous) gunfighters than any other town in the West. It also boasted the usual array of saloons, gambling halls, and brothels, including the famous Long Branch Saloon. For a time in 1884, Dodge City even had a bullfighting ring where Mexican bullfighters would fight specially chosen Longhorn bulls.
Day 11 – Dodge City to Colorado Springs – 5th August
We spend most of the day crossing the panhandle and it could be dry, dusty and hot. A vast agricultural area it suffered during the great depression and the dust bowl of the 1930s. Colorado Springs is a breath of fresh air after the dusty day on the road. It is the gateway to the Southern Rocky Mountains and at the base of Pike’s Peak which we will drive on our day off.
Day 12 – Colorado springs day off – 6th August
Day 13 – Colorado Springs to Taos – 7th August
After breakfast we head to the famous Pikes Peak hillclimb. We don’t need to be the fastest but enjoy the curves as we climb to a height of 11,000 feet. Take it easy and enjoy the view. We cruise at around 3,000 feet for the rest of the day. The first surprise is Victor – an imperfectly preserved cowboy and gold rush town. Once the 5th largest town in Colorado, the area has produced 22million ounces of gold!
Leaving the ghosts of the mining bonanza behind us we climb the Rockies into the Big Country. Soon we are in ‘the backyards of America’ – randomly placed trailers which have grown into pre-fab style houses with more abandoned cars and trucks littered in their yards than you see on the road. Our destination is Taos, a reminder of the Mexican settlements with their adobe mud walled houses. Originally in Mexico it has a long history of conflict. Now though it’s a peaceful town where music echoes round from the bandstand in the main square most evenings.
Day 14 – Taos to Durango – 8th August
A few minutes out of Taos there is a remarkable view of the Rio Grande canyon. This deep gorge was almost impossible to cross in the early days of the Wild West. You can take a dawn balloon ride which will dip into the gorge and then rise to give you a birds-eye view of the stunning landscape. A few miles further on is an off-grid community of 139 ‘earthship’ houses build partially below ground and using solar power to provide power.
Highlights of the day include the sweeping roads to the Navajo Dam, a true spectacle as you drop down the mountain to cross it. Here there is a houseboat community on the reservoir and bizarrely a dry dock up by the road.
Further on there is obviously an abundance of oil as well-heads are all around. We soon arrive at the town of Durango which has its place in cowboy history with a town centre sympathetically modernised but retaining its old time character.
A major attraction of the town is the Durango to Silverton steam railway which follows the million dollar highway to the gold mining town of Silverton.
Day 15 – Durango to Moab – 9th August
A day of wonder as we start with lush green rolling hills which seem to effortlessly meld into some of the most spectacular canyons you will ever see. The San Miguel canyon is first up with its red rock towering walls. We follow the river at the base of the gorge, which seems impossibly narrow at times. We climb out of the canyon to 2,229 metres onto a wide open plain with one street towns slumbering in the heat.
Dropping 700 metres we soon get to a viewpoint, or overlook, to the Hanging Flume, an open water wooden trough built along the Dolores River Canyon during the gold rush. Time has taken its toll and most of the wooden structure and boards have disappeared into the spectacular gorge below.
From here we go to Gateway and a fantastic classic car museum in the middle of a desert. Turning out of the museum we head to the John Brown Creek road, which is dirt until we reach the Bull Canyon overlook and Dinosaur track site. Here you are in the land of the giants. Its spectacular all the way to the Colorado River which we follow to within a couple of kilometres of Moab, our stop for the night.
Day 16 – Moab to Bryce Canyon – 10th August
From Moab we quickly leave the canyons behind and head up onto the high country. In contrast to yesterday’s drive this area is almost totally bereft of vegetation. It’s big and open and rocky to the horizon.
But the desert slowly greens as we approach the aptly named Green River. Then it’s back to the moon-like landscape. We meet up with and drive along the Freemont River at times, then cut through the Capitol Reef National Park. Towns that come and go are Torrey, Boulder and Escalante. We climb through unexpectedly forested areas and fabulously named locations such as Hell’s Kitchen. It seems to have its own micro climate, as one moment we see some rain then round the next corner its sunshine! Eventually we climb up to Bryce Canyon City, which is surprisingly busy compared to everywhere else we have been in the last few days. The rally will stop here for a well deserved break and an opportunity to take a helicopter ride over the canyon to see the Hoodoos or take a 4×4 for a dirt trail day.
“The GP of South America was a great event and John and I enjoyed ourselves immensely. It is always good to be the first to try something that no one else has done for a long time, in this case 70 years. Your team were fantastic and that made it even more enjoyable . The roads were challenging as they should be and the scenery spectacular. The hotels were good quality and the food was very good. This is an event for anyone who wants an adventure and I would whole heartedly rec- ommend it; if you want to do something a bit different, exciting and a bit of a challenge, then the GP of South America is for you. Thanks John and team for putting together such a great event.”
Paul Michael, The Grand Prix of South America 2018
Day 17 – Day off in Bryce Canyon – 11th August
Day 18 – Bryce Canyon to Las Vegas – 12th August
Turning out of Bryce Canyon you immediately encounter the Red Rock Canyon – and very well named. It differs in having pine trees dotted through the canyon and some smaller examples of hoodoos. As if you hadn’t seen it all by now, our route takes us through Zion National Park with yet more variations on rocks and canyons. This time there’s an entry fee of $35, which they take from you most gracefully. To get through the park there’s a massive tunnel carved out of the rock, which becomes one-way when a large vehicle tries to traverse the park. Take your time and stop at the odd overlook to get your money’s worth.
Once out of the park we are in a sandy rock area before jumping on the Veterans Memorial Highway which takes us all the way to Las Vegas. For a motorway it’s pretty spectacular. We take the ring road round Las Vegas to get to our hotel on the south side of The Strip and ensure a quick getaway the next day
Day 19 – Day Off in Las Vegas – 13th August
Day 20 – Las Vegas to Yosemite – 14th August
Leaving Las Vegas we are immediately in the desert with a hazy landscape of cactus and sand blowing across the road. We turn off onto the 266 and then onto the 168 and over the foothills into Big Pine. Here we turn parallel to the Sierra Nevadas into Bishop which has plenty of fuel and cafes for a break from the heat.
It’s almost an Alpine landscape as we head for Yosemite. At the gate there is a charge of $15 from 6am to 4pm – after that it is free so there is usually a queue at the gate waiting for the clock to strike the hour. Once in, its easy to find somewhere to stop and let the crowds go by so you can enjoy the scenery more or less on your own
Day 21 – Yosemite to Auburn – 15th August
A short day in kilometres follows the longest day, but today we are on traditional Californian roads which are narrower and twistier than in the rest of the country. Out of Groveland we turn past the Around the Horn Brewing Company and we are straight into the hills.
The road alternates for a short while between tarmac and dirt but nothing is rough. As we come out of the hills we are in Murphy (around 88kms), where there are plenty of great restaurants and coffee houses. Ideal for a stop.
Out of Murphy we have our first sight of vineyards before finding the Emigrant Road Trail which takes us deeper into the hills. Twisting our way we move from vineyards to fruit growing and Boa Vista where you can stop and get some fresh fruit, ice cream and refreshments.
Approaching Auburn we get a great view of one of the highest bridges in America, the Forest Hill Bridge at 730 feet. It’s the 4th highest in the USA and in the top 70 in the world. Not bad for a sleepy town.
Day 22 – Auburn to Bodega Bay – 16th August
Today you get the typical Californian white picket fence ranches with free range cattle and manicured grounds. As we move east the weather begins to cool from the heat we have experienced for the last few days.
From Maxwell we begin to climb the hills again over the Sierra Nevada range to Clear Lake. On the way there are orchards as far as the eye can see. Our stop is Bodega Bay and when we pulled up at The Tides it was 14 degrees – a drop of 25 degrees on the day!
Day 23 – Bodega Bay to Monterey – 17th August
Within minutes of leaving Bodega Bay we were again in a swirling sea mist, reminiscent of a Hitchcock movie!! But wait, a small diversion brings us to Bodega village with Saint Teresa of Avila Church and, yes, a familiar house. Here Hitchcock filmed one of his best known films, The Birds. Stop here for a photo opportunity before heading on down Route 1 to The Golden Gate bridge – surely the most iconic in the world. We continue down to Half Moon Bay and then on to Monterey.
Day 24 – Pebble Beach – 18th August
Collect passes and enjoy the auction previews
Arriving in Monterey we head to the Pebble Beach Golf club to collect our passes. After that we have time to attend the auction viewing days. The following day we are off to Laguna Seca raceway to see a full day of classics on this amazing track.
Day 25 – Pebble Beach. Laguna Seca Races and Auctions – 19th August
Day 26 – Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance – 20th August
Sunday morning, get up early to see the Dawn Patrol as cars arrive for the Concours d’Elegance from around 6am. The results are out at around 15:00 and the winner is crowned at 16:30. It’s a truly amazing spectacle and is rightfully the greatest concours and car show on earth. It must be on your bucket list – right at the top.
Day 27– Depart – 21st August
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