Top 5 Craziest Paris - Dakar Rally Vehicles

  • Renault 4 Dakar
  • Jules Proto 6x4
  • Rolls-Royce Corniche Dakar
  • Vespa P200E scooter

The legendary Paris Dakar off road rally is one of the most interesting and hardest races on the planet. Two weeks of racing trough the desert, mountains, jungle or South American swamps is the ultimate test for both the man and the machine and just finishing is almost equal of winning.

Those were the days…

During its history and since 1979 , the Dakar rally was always full of specially prepared and purpose-built machinery with just one goal in mind – to endure the extreme conditions and circumstances and run as fast as it could trough some of the harshest and roughest terrain in the world. However, during the early days of Dakar rally the rules were much looser than today, so participants could race anything they wanted. A few of them showed on the start with some very interesting and sometimes pretty crazy machines.

This is our selection of Top 5 of craziest Dakar vehicles ever to enter the race:

5. Renault 4

In 1979, two brothers Claude and Bernard Marreau took their Renault 4 to Dakar and finished 5th overall! The car was modified to have a 4×4 drivetrain, but the engine was left stock with factory bodywork. The humble R4 proved to be very tough and next year the brothers even finished third!

Renault 4 Dakar Rally cars road

Renault 4 did surprisingly well at Paris – Dakar Rally

4. Jules Proto 6×4

Due to the growing competition during the ’80s it was clear that more advanced cars are needed in order to beat the competition and win the race. That was the idea behind crazy Jules Proto 6×4 vehicle. Sponsored by the famous fashion brand Christian Dior, Proto 6×4 had a mid-mounted Chevrolet 350 V8 engine, Porsche gearbox and space frame chassis. The power was transmitted to front and middle wheels but not on the rear axle and that’s why it’s called 6×4. The innovative prototype stared well but broke its chassis and did not finish the race.

Jules Proto 6x4 Dakar

Jules Proto 6×4

3. Porsche 959

Although the Porsche 911 (with all its variants) was enormously successful in racing and even in some “normal“ rally events, nobody thought that it could win the Dakar. However, Porsche entered the ultimate 911 version – 959 in 1985 but the advanced technology was lacking testing and none of the cars finished. But in 1986, Porsche came back with better cars and won the Dakar in a fantastic 1-2 finish. We have covered the history of these legendary cars in detail.

Rene Metge Jacky Ickx Porsche 959 rally news

Rene Metge and Jacky Ickx driving Porsche 959s at Dakar Rally

2. Rolls-Royce Corniche

It is very unlikely to see Rolls-Royce in such an event but in 1981, Thierry De Montcorge made a bet with his friends that he would race his Corniche in Dakar rally. Normally, a stock Corniche would not last even a 100 km of the race so he made extensive modifications to the car in order to be competitive. The body was made out of fiberglass and the car was mounted on top of Toyota Land Cruiser chassis with Chevrolet’s 350 engine. Sadly, he was disqualified while competing for 13th place after making an illegal repair and it is unknown if De Montcorge won his bet.

Rolly Royce Corniche Dakar peugeot share racing 2015 rally

Rolls Royce Corniche, 1981 Paris – Dakar Rally

1. Vespa P200E scooter

The first place of our list is occupied by possibly the craziest entry in Dakar rally, the Vespa P200E. In 1980, four participants in the motorcycle class rode basically stock Vespas with no protection across the Sahara desert and sometimes even carried them over the rocky terrain! Surprisingly, two of four riders even managed to finish the race, but they were two days late and the rally was already finished by then.

Vespa Dakar rally peugeot share racing cars

Vespa at Dakar Rally? Everything was possible in the 1980s


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