Friday, May 15, 2015
The Safari Rally Car That Never Was
If you know your motor history you might recognize this car. It's a Peugeot 404. From 1968. The design features will tell you that it once took part in the Safari Rally. The toughest rally ever. Legendary. This car with the number 33 on it has been parked in the same spot for several years and when I passed it two days ago on my way to the cafe I decided to take a photo of it. There are two names on the side of the car. Gérard Pautonnier and Une Salope. I did an online search and found a remarkable story. Here it is: Gérard Pautonnier and Une Salope took part in the Safari Rally in 1968. They never made it to the finishing line. During a stopover in Uganda Gérard Pautonnier ended up in jail after a bar fight. Une Salope had other problems. He met a married woman and had a fling with her. He was later chased away by an angry mob. Nine months later the woman gave birth to twin boys. The owner of the car was Paul Hegesippus Adelard Ladislas. The Count of Champignac. He managed to get the car back home but it never raced again. No one knows what happened to Une Salope. Gérard Pautonnier stayed in Africa and became a preacher. Years later the Count made a business trip to the little hamlet Vikmanshyttan in Dalarna, Sweden. He arrived in the Peugeot, but left hitchhiking as he lost the car in a card game. Then, many years later when a property at Norrhyttan changes owner the car is found hidden away in an old barn. And that's where our story ends. But does it really? Not exactly, because it is a fabricated story. Made up by the Swedish motor journalist Gunnar Ljungstedt. He bought the car in Skåne and decided to have some fun. He designed the car so that it looked like a real Safari Rally car. Then he made a funny YouTube video and wrote the story that I just told you. Why? I have no idea. I guess you will have to ask Gunnar about that. Another question is how it made it's way to Handen where I found it.