Weird History

The Bizarre Story Of The Great Automobile Race Of 1908, When Drivers Raced From New York To Paris  

Mel Judson

If you think the Tour de France sounds like too great a distance, imagine a race from New York City to Paris. This video details the real-life around-the-world-in-80-days race between six automobiles that set off from New York bound for Paris.

The Great Automobile Race of 1908 was meant to prove the latest “horseless carriages” could go above and beyond any other means of transportation, and it retains the record for longest motocross sporting event in the world (spoiler: the race lasted much longer than 80 days).

How exactly were cars expected to travel across oceans? Asphalt wasn't invented until 1910, so even before attempting to drive across a frozen sea, the drivers sometimes progressed only a few feet a day. Then, of course, they found out the hard way that their route across the Pacific did not, in fact, freeze over in winter.

Watch the video below to see what it took the drivers six months of extreme effort to discover. Obviously, you want to know who won, but, just like Rupaul’s Drag Race, the dramatics of the race itself proved to be much more gripping than the finale.