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Automotive Traveler Magazine: Vol 3 Iss 5 Page 4

Rear View Mirror: The Greatest Week of My Life

How I came to drive a Ford GT and Dodge Viper from London to Maranello and back.

By Richard Truesdell

More than six years ago, in July 2005, I set off on the trip that best defines my work as an automotive photojournalist: driving the then-new Ford GT and a Dodge Viper roadster from London to Maranello and back. While the trip certainly made for a great adventure, it also served as the inspiration for the magazine you're reading now.

The background story of how the trip came about is almost as interesting as my adventure itself. And now, more than six years after the fact, I'm able to produce this feature the way I wanted to, and, along the way, properly thank all those who made it possible.

In 2004, I flew into Amsterdam to cover the Geneva Auto Show for Motor Trend, one of a dozen or so automotive publications around the world I was contributing to at the time. I'd arranged for a weeklong loan of a 2004 Commemorative Edition Corvette, the European version of our Z06, the last year of the C5 generation.

After the story of that trip ran in Corvette Enthusiast, Amos Automotive editorial director Rob Reasor, who was also the editor of Mustang Enthusiast, approached me: "Would it be possible to do something similar this year [2005] with a Mustang?"

Going through channels at Ford in Dearborn, I put in a request for a Ford Mustang for a week in Europe. The Mustang was all-new and, although not officially sold in Europe, a handful of cars had been exported for testing and publicity purposes. My request was turned down. So, I arranged for a Chrysler Crossfire SRT6 convertible, which I would have to fly into Paris to pick up.

And here's where Chance played its part in getting me behind the wheel of a Ford GT.

Having missed my flight from Heath-row to Charles De Gaulle, I was able, just barely, to get on the next plane to Paris before the cabin door closed. Settling in my seat, I took note of the gentleman in the window seat, well dressed and reading Automotive News Europe. Guessing he worked in the auto industry in some capacity, I struck up a conversation, and we exchanged business cards. His read "Paul Harrison, Director, Public Affairs, Ford of Europe," and he, too, was headed to Geneva.

As I showed him some published clips on my laptop, including the Corvette feature, Paul asked why I was flying into Paris. I explained I was picking up a Crossfire to drive to Geneva--and that someone at Ford