Autoweek sent myself and Pal Peet up into the hinterlands of the Great Lakes region in search of a legendary rally car, the Lancia Stratos. Stories of a genuine team car abandoned in the woods of northernmost Michigan have been swirling for years, and the magazine knew only its most intrepid reporters could get to the bottom of the tale…
In the process we witnessed one of the world’s most affordable and exciting forms of motorsports up close, stumbled onto a mysterious government testing site, talked with air rescue pilots, found a thriving culture of DIY racers of every gender and background, took a lap on the dirt in a vicious, vintage 1980 Ford Escort Mk. II rally car that blew our minds, and spent an hour hanging out with the man many rally aficionados consider the greatest rally driver of all time, Hannu Mikkola.
All in all, a good trip.
If you haven’t watched any rally footage before, click on the links above—it is insane and insanely cool.
I did a dozen or so illustrations for the article, Peet wrote the text. Peet and I hadn’t done an article together before, but quickly fell into a routine where we’d take turns chatting up sources and then splitting up to pursue leads…frequently I’d listen to Peet interview someone while I took notes; I’d sketch some, and Peet would take photos that I could later use as reference for the big illustrations. We expected to have fun on the assignment, and figured the final article would be good, but neither of us expected to work so dang well together. We were a real team—and it really improved the work! We decided we need to do more articles together like this. The organizers and sponsors agreed—both the race organizer, and the primary sponsor of the event, Dirt Fish Rally School came up to us at the event’s closing awards dinner and said we were the best journalists they’d ever worked with (!). So much so, Dirt Fish invited us out to take a 3 Day course at their school so we could write about the experience.
An article on that experience will be coming soon….