maharajah of the road

Day 1

Maharajah of the road

Muscle cars


Day 1

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From Paris to Saulieu

Paris is France’s most populated city and also its capital.

It is situated on a branch of the river Seine at the center of the Parisian basin. Paris’s position is an intersection of river and commercial terrain at the heart of an agricultural region.

Recognized throughout the world for its monuments and artistic and cultural life, Paris holds an important place in the history of the world, with a major political and economic impact. A symbol of French culture, Paris’s activities and grand museums attract over thirty million visitors per year. Paris is also considered one of the world’s fashion and luxury capitals.

Sunday 12th April 2009

All times indicate France Standard Time


The engines have been running for several minutes already near the hotel where the role-players have spent the night. Among them, Dan Panoz and John Levrette, respectively the President and Founder and the Head of Sales & Marketing for Panoz Auto Development Company, partner of Equus Automotive.

Each one takes his place behind the wheel of his car so that the voyage may begin. We will set off in the direction of the Eiffel Tower, symbol of Paris and of France with the eyes of all Paris’s tourists fixed upon us. They could never have imagined stumbling across these mythical cars in the City of Light. After a passage in front of the Trocadero, we arrive at the Place de L’Etoile home to the Arc de Triomphe. The Champs Elysées, the Place de la Concorde, the most beautiful Parisian monuments savor the Mustangs and Shelbys sent from another world. What a wonderful sensation to discover or to rediscover Paris in this way. It would be wonderful to stay longer but there’s a still a journey to make and our host awaits us for lunch. We have been invited to a very special residence, which once belonged to the famous designer Christian Dior.


We set off in the direction of Milly-La-Forêt by way of the periphery. As we leave Paris, the cars grow warmer. In his ‘65 Notchback, Murat has already run out of gasoline. Franco stops to help him and we think we’ve lost them both. Soon, Chet’s Shelby GT500 falls into disrepair in the tunnel leading to the highway. Luckily for us the truck is not far away and we are able to start off again towards Moulin de Coudray. We are surprised to discover that a helicopter is following us. It starts to feel like a Hollywood chase, but what could harm we possibly have done?? Bassam then confides that there are a photographer and cameraman on board the helicopter to immortalize the event. Before he is able to take the highway towards Milly-La-Forêt, Dan stops on the side of the road in his ’68 Shelby GT500 KR, we didn’t know it yet, but this was the beginning of an unremitting struggle between man and car. Dan waits for the truck and tries to resolve the problem, will he conquer the machine… ? We cannot wait to find out, we must continue because time is racing on. He will join us later. Without too much remorse, we leave the car on the road; it’s in good hands. At the exit we discover a country road winding through the forest and fields. We are only a few minutes from Moulin.


Once we arrive at Moulin we can appreciate the spectacle; a helicopter landing on the estate. It was spectacular, with miles of green and enormous lake surrounding the Moulin, which had been entirely restored by its owner, Mr. Coquin, famous photographer and inventor of the filter, which bears his name. The initiation into French gastronomy can now begin, a buffet of sweet and savory canapés from “Le Notre” is waiting inside for us. A while later, Dan and Tara, accompanied by the truck, finally join us. After a few adjustments some good news, the car is able to take off again. After having enjoyed the estate and the splendid weather, we have to get on the road.


We head for Fontainebleau, which has been famous for centuries; it is the third most visited site in France (after Notre-Dame-de-Paris and Disneyland) with more than thirteen million visitors. Its enchanted forest leads us to the famous castle "house of the centuries, true house of kings ", a title awarded by Napoleon 1er. The castle of Fontainebleau bears the memory of more than 700 years of sovereigns and of the crowning of Louis VII in 1137. We are about to discover a small piece of France’s history. After a photo session in front of the castle, we head towards Saulieu, home of Bernard Loiseau, hotel, castle and gourmet restaurant. Night begins to fall and some of the cars are experiencing problems with the headlights, it’s best not to be on the road too late.


After several trials and thanks to the mechanical competencies of our drivers, we have finally reached our resting place for the night. The dinner is spectacular, the delicacy of the dishes and the variety of flavors, simply unforgettable. After this very full and trying day, we have earned a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow the French patrimony is waiting to share the secrets of its famous Burgundy wines.

Maharajah of the Road

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