Travel: The Canadian Wilderness Is A Perfect Place For A Classic Car Rally

The Canadian Wilderness Is A Perfect Place For A Classic Car Rally

By Michael Banovsky
September 30, 2015
7 comments

Photography by Michael Banovsky

If you enjoy being treated like an adult, wide-open roads perfect for sports cars, epic scenery, and nice people, you’ll probably enjoy a Classic Car Adventures event.

It’s the conclusion I arrived at about halfway through the first day of the inaugural Maple Mille, a rally that went from Barrie, Ontario, Canada to North Bay and back, using mostly well-paved back roads, with some highway and a few car lengths’ worth of hard-packed gravel (due to construction) thrown in to keep it interesting.

An early passion of company founders Dave Hord and Warwick Patterson’s is top-level rally competition, so a few lessons learned there were applied here: everyone needed a warning triangle onboard, there was a mandatory tech inspection, the Hagerty Insurance-supplied “sweep” ensured no strays were left behind, and the roads chosen were—especially once out in the middle of nowhere—brilliant fun.

You should know two things. First, I’m not a fan of most traditional car events; concours, auctions, “fast” road rallies, ride-and-drives, scavenger hunts—even most car shows. Why? I’d rather be out and about in my own car, traveling at my own pace (quickly, natch), with the freedom to stop or to not feel too terrible about getting lost.

Second, because my 1973 Porsche 914 2.0-litre is out of commission, I shared driving duties with my friend Nicholas in his 1971 Plymouth Valiant Scamp…yes, the one with the agricultural-but-bombproof slant-6.

In Canada, we have a lot of “nowhere”, and most of it is far prettier than what you’ll see on TV. With twisty, hilly, winding roads to far-off communities built over old logging or trade routes, I often wished I was driving a sportier car—but the Scamp cruised around just fine.

Hord says that the crowd varies depending on where the event is being held (B.C., Washington/Oregon, and Colorado all have CCA events), but my fellow participants were laid-back, fun to talk to, and shared the same mindset: classic cars are made to be driven, so drive.

So why are you looking at a Porsche 914 and not a Scamp? A few months ago, you may recall a story about Classic Car Adventures. Well, Petrolicious reader Victor saw that article here, signed up, and traveled all the way from Ohio to take part—and he loved it.

Even better: Victor’s beautiful 1973 Porsche 914 2.0-litre is a car he’s had since 1979 and one he lists as the favorite among his collection (of some pretty amazing stuff)—a believable claim since the odometer has already rolled around once. Maybe I’ll get to drive it again next year…

For more on Classic Car Adventures, visit the website. Keep in mind for next year: the well-established events typically sell out of all 75 entries within hours.

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Mouse
Mouse
6 years ago

Had Slinger read the article he would have seen paragraph four in which the author said he disliked traditional car events which is a very good reason to avoid the Colorado crush. As for Ontario being flat as a pancake he apparently has his provinces mixed up, Ontario is not a prairie province Slinger. Driving from Barrie to North Bay in the fall on those undulating twisty secondary roads is glorious and the scenery ain’t bad either.;)

geelongvic
geelongvic
6 years ago

Regarding the Maple Mille, what a delightful, low-key, laugh filled event it turned out to be.

Contrary to commentary of GS suggesting that Ontario is flat and likely boring, Dave Hord of Classic Car Adventures planned and organized a first time, inaugural Ontario rally route with some rolling elevation changes, albeit not as challenging as in the mountains of the west, but with wonderful frequent,scenic curves threading the route throughout, the new to me, multiple lakes in Muskoka region of Ontario.

Regarding this event, I drove the 73 fourteen about 3400 miles over 5 days, driving from Ohio, picking up my co-driver in Connecticut, then driving through the rush hour nightmare of Toronto (my left leg/the clutch leg was really exercised in Toronto), onward to scenic Northern Ontario, driving the rally, and then returning to CT and eventually returning to Ohio.

Dave organized a perfect Rally. Did we run a perfect rally, far from it, on the first day we were about 40 miles off course winding up in Huntsville, ON with the equally lost Hagerty chase vehicle, lost behind us, because he assumed that we knew what we were doing. Happy fools were we. Andrew from Hagerty helped us get our proper bearings and get us back on course again. Lots of laughs in the process.

The fellow rallyists were a hoot and we all became a band of brothers, including the women amongst us. The evening dinners arranged by Dave were worthy of the long travel/trip alone. Everyone was great fun. Donnovan and Cheryl from Manitoulin Island with their GT350 were especially fun and entertaining. I think that we Yanks became honorary Canadians during the adventure (Thanks to all for sharing that sentiment with us).

The 42 year old 914 that I have owned for 36 years was flawless during the adventure. Would I do it again? In Ontario? Yes, in a heartbeat!

Of all my cars, and I do have several, I love driving the 914, it always leaves me with the biggest smile, and some of the best memories.

FYI, GS, Dave Hord has multiple other adventures in BC, Washington/OR, and since you want the mountains of Colorado, check out his Colorado Sliver Summit held in the month of May. Just Google the Classic Car Adventure site. Maybe I’ll see you at the Spring Thaw in BC or the Colorado Silver Summit next year, likely with the fourteen, unless my wife wants to go in another car.

geelongvic aka Victor

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
6 years ago

What the … ? You go all the way up to Canahoodia .. especially to flat as a pancake Ontario for their little romp in the woods and you don’t come to Colorado for what has become one of the worlds best world class classic car events in the entire planet attracting collectors from around the world ?

That … is just plain down right wrong … ugh …..

Nice photos though ….

Aaron McKenzie
Aaron McKenzie
6 years ago
Reply to  Guitar Slinger

Fortunately – in this instance, at least – Michael lives in Canahoodia and this little romp in the woods took place in his Ontario back yard.

TVOHIO
TVOHIO
6 years ago
Reply to  Guitar Slinger

Yet another uninformed an negative posts from Slinger.
Why am I not surprised ?

Warwick Patterson
Warwick Patterson
6 years ago
Reply to  Guitar Slinger

If you’re speaking of the event in Colorado I think you are, the CCA events are in a COMPLETELY different financial ball park. For 3 days of driving, 2 nights hotel, and included dinners for two people, CCA events are ridiculously good value.