Ferrari 330 GT
Ferrari 330 GT in the Chilean Highlands. Note the monkey puzzle tree.

He explained to the lady at the check-in that he was a Senior British Airways jumbo pilot by trade but she was unimpressed and called security, who told him he couldn’t put it on the plane.

2001 Inca Trail

Having decided to take the Ferrari 330GT to the Inca Trail rally, Alastair and his navigator suffer all sorts of set backs on route.

I’d set myself an impossible task and the whole rally turned out to be an epic saga. People have written books about things far less interesting than this rally. They write about their stroll in the park in their Japanese 4x4s that don’t even need the tyre pressures checked whereas my Ferrari had a job-list before it got to South America. The jobs never got done because during the rally the suspension broke, the rear axle broke, the engine box broke, the suspension broke again, the rear axle broke again, wheels flew to pieces that I rebuilt out of shattered wheels, and so on. My navigator became ill while we were away, so he faded away on me, through no fault of mine. It was a nightmare journey but sadly, being quite a perverse creature, I actually quite enjoyed it. Despite the fact I worked on the car every night for 56 days until the early hours of the morning there was never a day when I didn’t rally. The majority of other cars failed because they got too tired or went the wrong way or couldn’t be bothered.

A friend at home who was an airline pilot tried to get parts to me by bringing them over himself. He arranged to meet us in La Paz but he never turned up because when he got to Miami, he had to change flights and was stopped because of the heavy case he carried containing a Ferrari Differential. Someone in that airport had decided that it was unsuitable for taking on a plane. He explained to the lady at the check in that he was a Senior British Airways jumbo pilot by trade but she was unimpressed and called security, who told him he couldn’t put it on the plane. They all thought it was a risk.

So he decided to go to the loos, change his appearance a bit and check-in some place else. This turned out to be a mistake because they’d marked the ticket and he was picked up at another desk with alarms and security who tried to deport him. He was put straight on the next plane back to London but he managed to smuggle the part back on the plane, even though the Americans had told him it had to go by sea because it was far too dangerous.

I didn’t win anything but I finished the rally. It was the most fantastic trip over the most amazing roads. We had some great rally days driving at high speeds going through the Andes. We went up to 15,000 feet and down to sea level and then back up to 15,000 feet twice in one day.

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