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Molly ready for the Peking to Paris rally in 2007
Molly ready for the Peking to Paris rally in 2007 © David & Julie Harrison

She was manufactured in 1958, and much of her early life is unrecorded. But in 2004, a customer of Gantspeed Engineering, Lincolnshire, England, asked the workshop’s owner, Robert Gant, to find him a right-hand drive Porsche 356A. This customer wanted to try his hand at a bit of classic rallying, and for his very first event, he had entered the 2007 Peking to Paris rally! Well, if you want to learn to swim, there is nothing like diving in at the deep end to start the ball rolling, so to speak.

Molly in Russia during the Peking to Paris rally 2007
Molly poses for a snap in Russia during the Peking to Paris rally 2007 © David & Julie Harrison

Robert Gant set to work to source a suitable car and as it happened, a South African right-hand drive 356A project car came up. This was an incomplete car with VW engine and transmission, and so a deal was done and this became the starting point for the project. The body was duly stripped and media blasted back to bare metal, revealing a very rusty bodyshell that told a sad tale of botched repairs over the years. All the rusted sections were cut away and new panels installed, at this stage most of the car was being held together by mole grips. It was at this point that the car received its nickname, Molly Mole Grip, later shortened to Molly, which has stuck with her to this day.

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