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Little Classics News: 4 June 2015

97 Year Old Navigator in Classic Roller Takes on Rally

Dorothy Caldwell with the Classic Rolls Royce

The Trans-America Challenge is to play host to a woman who is believed to be the world’s oldest rally navigator. 97-year-old Dorothy Caldwell will be participating on the Endurance Rally Association’s 5810-mile rally with her son Alastair in a 1963 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud III.

“When we lived in England, my family was into racing – my brother did it, and then both of my sons in New Zealand. The first rally I did with Alastair was in Suffolk in 2011. It seemed like quite a simple thing to me, so when he asked if I would navigate for him on the first Trans-America Challenge back in 2012, I said I would! Since then, we’ve been to Burma for a rally and I’m about to leave for the second Trans-America Challenge as we speak.”

1963 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud III on rally

Dorothy’s son Alastair is a former manager of the McLaren Formula One team. He insists his mother has never attempted to ‘pull rank’ from behind the map. “We’ve never had a cross word on a rally, it’s a team effort and we work very well together.”

As navigator, Dorothy - who was awarded the prize for “Spirit of the Rally” on the 2012 Trans-America Challenge - looks after the maps, updates and trip meter. It’s a role that requires dedication and a constant state of alert; as the rally navigates a difficult route through challenging terrain. Despite her years, Dorothy takes the arduous role in her stride; and remains sharp and awake throughout regardless of the rally in question.

Trans-America Challenge 1963 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud III

“I’ll only come if he takes the Rolls-Royce though,” says Dorothy. “It’s more comfortable than his sports cars, and it has air conditioning! I’m the last in my generation now; I’m starting to find it harder. I’m beginning to need glasses for distance, and as I’m in the middle of moving house I think it might be time to ease back a little. So this will probably be my last big rally.

“But Alastair tells me there’s going to be one in New Zealand soon… so I might be back for that.”

The 2nd Trans-America Challenge will begin on Sunday 7th June. The route begins in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and will finish in San Francisco, California, on Sunday 28th June. There will be 45 participants in classic cars ranging from a 1927 Bentley 4.5 litre to a 1973 MGBGT.

Visit for updates on the rally.


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