Racing is competitive. It's expensive. And you need lots of talent. Most of us have none of those things. But we like cars! We read and watch car things! We love driving! And squealing tires!

Here's my idea: A time-speed-distance style road rally with a few special stages in between at local race tracks. Mix it up with ovals, dirt ovals, and road courses.

Think Cannonball Run combined with LeMons.

The Cars
But what sorts of cars? Cars are expensive! I'm thinking 1970 to end-of-Malaise-era (1983) vehicles. Mostly. We'll have them classified arbitrarily, like an Opera Window class. A pre-1970 Landau class. A Drum Brake class. A Snow Birds class. Cream Puff class.

What I'd like to do is keep the cost per entry down, so that a team of two could enter a competitive car, pay expenses, and get home with change from $5000. Camp sites along the way, food and drink with local business, etc. Maybe we can leave emergency cell phones in each car, and take personal ones from competitors—you know, so you're forced to use a map.

Also, I think it's important to get support from local mechanics along the route to help keep the fun moving along.

What else?
A personal donation platform for each team would be provided, too. That way, teams could ask for charity donations; after a target is reached, they can use a portion to cover expenses. Nobody should be penalized if they can get support for a good cause!

For the first year, I think a target of 50 entries is reasonable. I don't care much for themed cars and the like, so I wouldn't encourage people to mount an effigy of Ricardo Montalbán on the roof of their vehicle. I also want the event to be positive and safe—think keeping up with the traffic in between special stages, not Gumball-style idiocy.

Five corporate cars, too. If Google wants to enter a Lincoln Mark V autonomous car, I'd welcome it with open arms. Maybe Airbnb wants to participate in return for, oh, booking rooms in every city?

Each year, we can start at a sort of middle point in the U.S. Target finish date could be March 16, coinciding with the Sebring 12 Hour race, the official start of the racing season. I'd also like to keep total festivities to no more than a week, so that people don't have to give up tons of vacation time to compete.

Oh! The best part! Let's name it: Targa Florida.

More than a race
I'm sure there are many ways we could make this fun. Maybe people can donate cars afterward, or cosplay TV and film stars from the 70s. On that note, the event should attract different types of people. Yes, I love being a car enthusiast but sometimes it's a Sway Bar Too Far. Non-car enthusiasts should be excited to join, too.

It's also important to me to make it an event about getting together and having fun. Maybe you can't drive but are an event coordinator, web designer, logistics guru, or photographer with some time to spare. So donate it! We'll find a way to showcase your contributions.

Probably for the first year, getting it crowdfunded is the way to go. Maybe if there's enough support I can find a way to prize a car named after a Florida-related thing. Yugo Florida? That'd be hilarious.

Oh! In addition to class wins, we can give away patches for certain things, like a SMOG patch for getting the lowest horsepower per litre when hooked to a dyno.

As a show of stupidity, and to prevent myself from chickening out, I've purchased and .ca. Yes, I can't believe it wasn't parked, either.


Free ideas

  • Lincoln x Lincoln Mark IV, official entry with redone interior and Ecoboost V6...or 1.3-litre
  • Amnesia Island Concours d'Extravagance (Thanks, Nick!)
  • A class for neo-classics
  • Waffle House Presents... Flying J Presents... Maybe title sponsorship in return for discounts
  • Free entry for automotive writers, if they provide their own Malaise-era vehicle
  • Towns along the way can welcome us with a parade and car show
  • A major manufacturer should support us by dusting off something from a museum
  • Donating all vehicles at the end to local charity...

Nearly official

Yours, Michael Banovsky

(MSG me with your offers of help, ideas, etc. etc. etc. targaflorida [at] gmail [dot] com)