Throughout the history of the automobile, there has always been a fascination of pushing the car to its limits. Whether that’s through the crucible of motorsports, or driving it across mountain passes, people have always wondered, “How far can I push a car?” It’s that same question that pushed The Great Race organizers, Tom McRae and Norman Miller, to race pre-WWII cars across the US. And it’s the same question that fuels The Great Race participants to this day.
The Great Race began in 1982, when McRae and Miller came together to take part in The Great American Race, which went from Knott’s Berry Farm in California to Indianapolis. At the time, it was in the same vein as the grand tradition of cross continental racing that began with the inception of the automobile. Entrants would contribute $5,000, and would race across the country to win a $250,000 purse. However, when McRae and Miller turned up, they were the only entrants.
Undeterred by the lack of participants, McRae and Miller decided to buy out the race organizers a few weeks later, pooled their money together and in 1983, put together what is now known as The Great Race. For the start of the inaugural Great Race, the pair called some of their closest vintage car friends, friends with pre-WWII cars, and got 69 cars together.
Now, some 35 years later, the Great Race is still going strong, getting bigger every year, and the participants list has grown to over 130. This year’s Great Race began in Kirkwood, Missouri, and ended in Santa Monica, California. We were on hand for the finish, and the cars that showed up, after driving thousands of miles, were still stunning. We’ve compiled a nice gallery below of some of the cooler, more esoteric things, but I highly suggest you go take a look at the complete entry list, it’s full of amazing vehicles from all over the world.