Vintage Adventurer to drive across Australia – twice!

| 24 Apr 2014

Rod Wade, the man who last year drove his 1930 Ford Model A across the United States in a record-breaking 50 hours 20 minutes and six seconds has now set his sights on Australia. The intrepid explorer and his co-driver, Austen Ritchie, are planning to drive from one side of the country to the other – and back again – in less than 100 hours.

Wade and Ritchie are due to leave Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast on 3 June destined for Fremantle, Western Australia, before returning to their departure point on 7 June.

The pair plan to fill a container with water from the South Pacific Ocean to pour into the Indian Ocean at the halfway point of the journey, while also tipping a bucket of Gold Coast sand onto the beach.

Rod Wade Vintage Adventurer celebrating at Venice Beach

Wade's previous feat involved driving from Staten Island, New York to Venice Beach, California in just over 50 hours – a total distance of 4734km.

He failed in his first attempt to due crank failure after 1500 miles, but set a new World Record on his second attempt only a month later. Despite his previous success, the Ocean to Ocean Challenge is an altogether more difficult undertaking, with the full round trip clocking in at nearly double that distance.

Australia and Europe comparative map

The 71-year-old Aussie pensioner has been fundraising for a number of years to help those suffering from kidney disease; it's a subject close to his heart because both his wife and daughter are sufferers. We caught up with Wade at the NEC Classic Motor Show and he was as impassioned as ever, telling C&SC that his next adventure was just around the corner.

Across America in just 50 hours

The monies raised are destined for Kidney Health Australia, and more specifically 'Kidney Kampers' – a project Wade personally spearheaded. The idea behind the initiative is to retrofit campervans with kidney dialysis machines, allowing those who are normally restricted in their movements to go on holiday, a logistical feat beyond the reach of most people with the disease.

Wade told C&SC: "The USA challenge was just a warm up for the Australia main event. Going one way is tough, but there and back in such a short time and sticking to legal speed limits in a pre-war car is where the real challenge lies."

Rod Wade's 1930 Ford Model A crossed Arizona

At the time of writing, $51,600 has been raised by the Vintage Adventurer. Click here if you would like to sponsor him during his Australian trip – every penny helps!