The Preparation


The history of the three previous Peking to Paris Motor Challenges can be found at, therefore, they do not need to be repeated here. Instead, we will focus on the 2010 Peking to Paris Motor Challenge as seen by two of the participants, Lloyd Dahmen (driver) and Chuck Schwager (navigator) as they prepare the car and then participate in the event departing Beijing (formerly Peking) September 10th and arriving in Paris October 16, 2010 .

We are embarking on this event to raise awareness of Scleroderma, a disease which afflicts Chuck’s daughter, Elaine. We are paying all expenses associated with this endeavor and, as such, all donations will go directly to research and treatment of this disease. If you wish to make a donation, please click on the following link:
and thanks for helping fight Scleroderma.

Preparation of their car, a 1949 Cadillac Series 62 coupe #86 began several years ago with Lloyd’s acquisition of the car from Wayne Watkins of California, the son-in-law of the original owner.



Preparations / modifications began at the shop of Bob Moran in East Falmouth, Mass with the installation of skid plates and reinforcement of the chassis.


Many thanks Bob for a great job well done.


Now, after the additional modifications which included an engine and transmission rebuild, Lloyd and his brother Joe are off for a road test which they called their “Shuffle off to Buffalo” (maybe a little shorter trip would have been easier).



The good news is that all went well, now start the serious Rally Modifications and FIVA inspection. Sometimes it takes a woman to get things moving so Chuck’s wife Lyn stopped by to make sure Lloyd was motivated and working – thanks Lyn …



Based on Lloyd’s pants, it would appear that some progress has indeed been made. Note the shiny new MSD ignition …



And the truly remarkable (and complex) fuel delivery system complete with three fuel tanks …



Of course, those of us who are old enough will recall that ’49 Caddies had a 6 volt electrical system which is being converted but fuses up under the hood do not make it for this adventure so a new switch and breaker panel has been installed under the dash …



Can’t ride across the Gobi Desert on a bench seat – it’s too heavy anyway – so upgraded seating and rally belts have been installed – Note the missing steering wheel …



The steering wheel was removed to send the steering box out for a rebuild – the good news is that now that the box is back, Lloyd is still in control of the wheel …



And then there is the small matter of cooling – well, maybe not so small keeping in mind that we will be spending 10 days in Mongolia and most of that somewhere on the Gobi Desert so a high capacity radiator seemed like a good investment. That’s Dale of J. C. Carroll who prepared the radiator and Lloyd with the finished product on the left.



Then there is the problem of stopping the beast with drum brakes which are waiting to be redone with riveted and bonded high metallic brake shoes …

The chains over the axels are to limit movement when becoming somewhat airborne going over desert “obstacles”.




This trip also requires special licenses plates, probably to warn pedestrians of approaching danger …



Then there is all the “other” stuff needed for basic survival – the pile grows each day …



To rebuild the suspension, a lift became a necessity so we move the car to Chuck’s farm and brought in some outside “ringers” to help expedite the process -that’s Charlie Beck on the right and Chuck Jardine on the left of Classy Chassis along with Big Bob Irrer, middle right, who helps run the farm and Lloyd, middle left who seems to be getting ready for rain. Perhaps a little optimistic Lloyd, the guys just got here and we’re going to work from the bottom up.



Lloyd, being rightly proud of the fuel system takes a minute to show off his workmanship to Charlie – now Lloyd, if you can just remember what all those valves do and where the fuel goes …



Mike “The Spring Guru” Eaton of Eaton Detroit Springs, Detroit Michigan was kind enough to provide proper springs for the adventure – THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT MIKE, IT IS GREATLY APPRECIATED.



Unfortunately they had to come back out in order for Charlie, who wastes no time, starts to pull the rear out of the car for rebuild – looks like we have a lot to take apart.



Dan Mitchell (left) of Mitchell Differentials did all the work on the differential and his Dad (right) rebuilt the drive shaft for the car …



We look forward to their efforts saving us much time and aggravation, to say nothing of repairs, out on the Gobi Desert – thanks guys.


Front suspension looks pretty good for a ’49 Cadillac but not to Charlie and Chuck – they did a complete rebuild and added telescoping shocks to help take the beating and offload the standard lever shocks and reinforced the A-arms. Brake cylinders, master cylinder and new brake lines have all been rebuilt or replaced to add reliability to the drum brakes – unfortunately, we can’t change them to discs but those are the rules.





Time for the wheels and tires to be dealt with – Michelin LTX AT/2 tires were selected for their strength and load rating (load range E) and steel rims by Stockton Wheel were added to provide saftey and reliability for the tubeless tires (they didn’t have tubeless tires back in ’49).



The differential is being installed by Charlie Beck along with supplemental shock absorbers to handle the load in the rear. We decided to keep the chains to limit axel drop as they should be the most rugged and dependable of our options.



Well, with the suspension all back in place it’s time to see if the wheels still turn, the car can turn and go straight and can stop – Charlie gets the nod to perform the first test run – seemed appropriate. The good news is that all went well – oh, by the way Charlie, something seems to be still missing – look around the shop for any small parts please. And for any of the eagle eyed, yes, those are rubber gloves at the ends of the front bumper – the questions is, what are they for?



Time to add the TerraTrip to help us find our way … This is a great device designed to very accurately measure distances, compute average speeds and provide all sorts of navigational assistance – the blank spot to the right is for the Garmin 76Cx GPS which is not yet mounted.



Well it runs and drives so it’s time for our tired Florida crew, Chuck and Charlie (middle) to head home and for Dennis and Bob to return to a more normal existance.



Chuck and Lloyd – friends for now – we’ll see how that works out over 9,000 miles and 6 weeks on the road …



And yes, it does have a hood – we are making progress …



And now we add in the GPS, stopwatch and other useful navigational tools



Switch panel all wired up, speaker grill back in place, digital clock for accuracy and the MDS ignition control in place – it’s beginning to look like a car again …



Pretty clean too …



Comfortable and safe too …



And then there is all the “stuff” needed to survive – We’re sure the “RO” will say it’s too much but if you bring a bus, you might as well fill it up – all secured in bins, marked and available for use – the tool box is on top and hopefully ready to be unneeded (hopefully) …



And let’s not forget we have some room for small “stuff” in the trunk – most of which is taken up by the auxiliary fuel tanks and spare wheels and tires …



Pickup date has finally arrived (July 7) and the list is complete – the car is ready to head to California to be put in a container and forwarded to China – amazingly, the list of “things to do” is complete thanks to a couple of “all nighters” Lloyd pulled – it looks ready …



Lloyd’s lovely wife Gene came to see the car off and to reclaim her husband – what are you going to tell her now about where you have been all night Lloyd?



And Chuck and Lloyd are still speaking – amazing! Let’s hope we are still smiling when we reach Paris.



Going, going, gone on everybody’s favorite car hauler – Intercity Lines – take good care of her Maurice …



Our next update will be from China sometime in early September – in the mean time, we’ll just have to study the route and pack our own stuff.


It’s been fun.


Lloyd and Chuck








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11 Responses to The Preparation

  1. Robair Vonheck of SanDiego Calif. says:

    -Having had several of these uniquely beautiful ’49Cad.-fastbacks, it is great to see this survivor back in the limelight; –however, i would suggest not resorting to harsh metal-chain as a rear-axle restraint means, -but rather install Nylon-straps which have proper resilience. Additionally, it would be important to install a substantially larger-diameter front/anti-roll bar, as the original lacks the stiffness for good roadability; -going the route of overly-stiff shocks is antithetic to good handling, a medium 50/50-action is recommended, the original arm-shocks were actually excellent and should have just been resealed with slightly heavier-oil for added stiffness. While the HydraMatic-4spd. is very rugged and reliable, i’d personally prefer the optional 3-spd. column-shift. Also, a 1959-62 V8 fitted with 1953-HydraMatic drops right in in place of the very smooth albeit less powerful original ohv-V8 (-the stock-oem intake-manifold & 2BCarter-carb. can still be employed instead of the much preferred 4B-Carter-carb.) . Shame to have rejected the original 15″-wheels, as they’re plenty strong, work perfectly with Michelin/LTX-AT/2 -radials. Greatly increased my driving-range by splicing two 1949 gastanks together, so as to efficiently fill-in the entire space between the frame-rails. Your fuel-system seems like overkill, as the standard mechanical-pump is fine when augmented with a rear elect./pusher-pump via a dash-switch. You should only be using a brand of brake-shoes called ‘VelvaTouch’, as they are astonishing, –absolutely do not fade and give performance equal to disk-brakes, without harshness to the drums (-i could reach down with my hand at 100-mph and bring the car right down to half the speed, -without power-assist!). It is not commonly known, but the original bumpers actually also serve as vibration-dampeners, –should have left’em in place. The notion of increased radiator capacity never hurts, –although i’ve never encountered any over-heating problem whatsoever, even with the transplant. Properly set-up, these wonderful 1949-Cadillacs will perform terrifically in road competition…

  2. Jim Stamper says:

    Good luck on your adventure. Tried the second year of the Baha 1000 myself in 1968. I built a 56 Chevy pickup/with a 390 Ford engine and four speed, Cadillac rear end, Olds front hubs to keep the same bolt pattern as the Cadillac. Crashed.

    I think I would consider running the axle limiting chains through heater hose to keep them from flopping around and possibly damaging something through wear. The brake lines are close by. I think they are a good idea though.

  3. Jay Friedman says:

    Great job. Did you consider replacing the Hydra-matic with a manual transmission? In my opinion, based on years of driving in 3rd World conditions in Africa and Asia, it would be better suited to the conditions in Mongolia, including being easier to repair if something goes wrong.

    I, of course, don’t know your exact route, but except for Mongolia won’t the roads be paved for the most part in China and Russia?

    Jay Friedman
    Owner of a 1949 Cadillac Series 61 Club Coupe like yours
    and President of the Forty Niners Chapter of the Cadillac-LaSalle Club

  4. OLD NINO says:


  5. Ted Wu says:

    Great job preparing the car. Look forward to hearing more from your trip.

    Good luck


  6. elisabeth evans says:

    Amazing you have been hard at work…

  7. Great website! Love the pictures and the evolution of the car. Good luck with the Rally, hope you have a great time and the car holds up. Press on regardless!!

  8. John Bryson says:

    I would suggest you read the rules again because I think you can have disc brakes – it is only the pre-40 cars which can’t have discs.
    I would also strengthen the differential housing with a welded brace of decent sized ‘U’ channel across the top of the housing. If you can also sleeve the inside and provide a thread for a lock nut with grub screw to hold the rear axle bearing in place this could help.

    My son is running with my best mate in car 102 – which is the car we took to second
    classic in the ’97 event.

  9. Dyke Morrissey says:

    I have heard the story and now seen the documented preparation. Wow. I can’t even contemplate the work that has been done let alone the adventure that awaits. My prediction is you guys will achieve great things along the 9,000 mile expedition. Your lives will certainly be changed forever. Can’t wait to hear all about it either on the blog or at the Farm.

    Congrats and best of luck to you both. Next stop Paris…just a walk in the park for two gents of your experience.

  10. Emily Sabino says:

    This is inspiring! Unkaloid, Lenin and I will have to write you a road song before you go.

  11. Kevin Roberts says:

    Mr. Schwager – what a great documentation of all of your hard work. Good luck on the trip – everyone at Lake Winni will be rooting you on!

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