UPDATE: Restoring a classic: Team Sunhill at the Dakar Rally

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Marc Douton and Emilien win the inaugural Dakar Classic with the Team Sunhill Buggy, finishing 1st in the majority of the 12 stages of the race.


They say history repeats itself and you may be forgiven for thinking you have traveled back in time when the original Sunhill Buggy from 1979 lines up as part of the inaugural Dakar Classic on 3rd January next year, but the 42-year-old buggy’s story is far from over.

 It was off-road race addict, Yves Sunhill, who designed and built the original buggy, who along with Co-Pilot Jean-Paul Sevin, set off from Paris as part of the first Dakar Rally, however, despite a promising start, they were forced to abandon their journey in Niger, on account of a cracked heat exchanger.

Following its first racing adventure, the buggy spent several years in the ownership of a French Expat in Niger and was later exhibited as part of several Paris-Dakar shows in the 2000s, yet as it is renovated and prepared to finally race again, the post-race plan is to retroactively fit the buggy with a renewable energy source (battery or fuel cell), ensuring its remarkable legacy continues.

Behind the wheel this time is Dakar born, Marc Douton; an experienced racer who has been off-road driving since the age of 10, and he will be joined by Navigator, Emilien Etienne. Friends and colleagues for several years, they raced together in a Buggy Baboulin in 2016 before winning the Moroccan VWAFRICA Trophy in 2017 and 2019.

Those familiar with the Dakar Rally are aware of the task that lies ahead. Drivers and navigators will have to complete a delicate balancing act of monitoring their physical, mental, technical, and strategic resources as they tackle thousands of kilometers of the gruelling course.

Celebrating the vintage cars that participated in The Dakar Rally and other Rally Raids before 2000, The Classic runs parallel to the main event and promises to offer fans watching in 190 countries a taste of 70’s style and class.

Emilien and Marc will be wearing the Heron 2.0 Ocean; forged from durable TR90® Nylon with a polarized Cat. 3 lens and leather side shields, protecting them against blinding desert rays as well as surviving the rough, dusty tracks. Check them out along with the full VALLON range here.

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