Wednesday, 27 February 2013
Vintage Car Rally Barcelona-Sitges (Discover Penedès March 1-3, 2013)
On Sunday, March 3, we will see one of the unique events we have here in the Catalan cava and wine region Penedès, the 55th Vintage Car Rally Barcelona-Sitges (Ral·li de cotxes d’època). Now what is this and why does it go to Sitges (Garraf) at a time of the year when there are not many tourists here?
This vintage car rally is, in fact, not very much of a rally, but rather a parade of old cars, all manufactured in 1928 or earlier. It usually takes place on the first weekend of March and starts in the square plaça de Sant Jaume, in the very centre of Barcelona. From there, the route – lined with spectators –, goes through Hospitalet de Llobregat, Sant Joan Despí, Cornellà, Sant Boi de Llobregat, Viladecans, Gavà and Castelldefels before it reaches the road C-31 along the Garraf nature reserve, where you always have a scenic view over the Mediterranean Sea. However, this road is also very curvy, so a true challenge for these vehicles, some of which spend the rest of the year as exhibition object in museums.
Interestingly, what we nowadays perceive as a natural annual tradition was, in 1959, created on purpose by the tourism board of Sitges (Foment del Turisme de Sitges), with the very objective to attract more visitors during the winter months. And the campaign has been highly successful – the rally which had 28 participating cars on the first occasion, nowadays registers close to a hundred, representing different parts of Spain, the rest of Europe and even the USA.
Fortunately, speed is not the main criteria in this competition. The top prize is for elegance and goes to the vehicle where the driver and passengers are dressed in a way which best matches the manufacturing year of their car and, apart from that, there are five more prizes for best maintenance, with consideration taken to the age of the different vehicles.
Before the Vintage Car Rally reaches its final stop along the beach walk (passeig de la Ribera) of Sitges, it is welcomed by a huge crowd of spectators and a very festive and colourful atmosphere. So, although you can watch it at the starting point or along the road, I truly recommend you to visit us out here.
More recommendations about concerts, guided tours and other events which take place in Garraf, Alt Penedès, Baix Penedès or Anoia during the weekend March 1-3 can be found here.
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My earlier posts on the Vintage Car Rally Barcelona-Sitges:
2008: 50th Anniversary of the Rally Barcelona - Sitges
2010: Too Few Vintage Cars, Too Much Reality
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Find here the organizer’s web.