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Racing Through Time: Rallying Across Newport, Rhode Island in a 1902 Packard 

Contributed By The Smoking Tire

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The Smoking Tire, hosted by Matt Farah along with co-host, Zack Klapman, is the premier destination for automotive video reviews and adventures. No Hollywood, no bosses, no bullshit. From our brains to your eyes and ears, this is TheSmokingTire.

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Imagine this: a group of intrepid time-travelers, not in a sleek sci-fi machine, but in cars that make your grandma’s old clunker look like a futuristic dream. This isn’t your average Sunday drive; it’s the Audrain Museum Veteran’s Run, where the cars are so old, even history books barely remember them. The event is a 20-mile out-and-back rally across Newport, Rhode Island, featuring cars from a time when “horsepower” was more than just a figure of speech.

Enter the star of our show: a 1902 Packard Model F. This car doesn’t just have an engine; it has a “single-cylinder powerhouse” producing a whopping 12 horsepower. 

As the event kicked off under the bluest of skies, the Packard’s team was on high alert, ready to tackle any mechanical temper tantrums. Driving this Packard wasn’t just a test of skill; it was a comedy of errors, a dance with a machine that stubbornly insisted on living in its slower, dignified past.

But let’s talk about the true adventure: navigating Newport in a vehicle that predates most road laws. The Packard’s modest top speed meant that every journey became an immersive tour, with plenty of time to wave at confused bystanders and make friends with local wildlife. 

This wasn’t just a rally; it was a rolling comedy show. Challenges were plentiful. From fuel delivery issues that made one ponder the merits of just pushing the darn thing, to the thrilling (a.k.a. terrifying) experience of descending steep hills with brakes that were more a suggestion than a certainty. It was a reminder that, once upon a time, driving was less about getting from point A to B and more about not dying in the process.

But here’s the thing: amidst the laughter and the occasional scream of terror, there was a profound sense of community. This event wasn’t just about celebrating cars, it was about connecting people with the sheer joy of motoring’s infancy. 

The journey in the 1902 Packard was more than just a ride; it was a madcap leap through time, an ode to the enduring spirit of exploration and the eternal quest for improvement.

The Veteran Run may not have been about speed or efficiency, but it was a masterclass in humor, history, and the art of enjoying the ride, no matter how slow.