A caravan of vintage Rolls-Royces, Bentleys and Aston Martins shimmers in the heat of the Jordanian desert. It's a vision but not a mirage. The Jewel That Is Jordan is an annual 1,300-km classic-car tour from the Red Sea port of Aqaba to the Roman ruins of Jerash and back. This year, 55 cars and 150 people from Europe, the U.S. and South America are registered for the two-week circuit that takes in some of Jordan's most beautiful sights, including Petra, Wadi Rum and Mount Nebo—a robust test for the vehicles.
The oldest is Lord Montagu of Beaulieu's Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, which has been purring along since 1909. If you can't get your classic car shipped over for the Sept. 14 start, then for $5,800 you can join as a passenger, including flights, accommodation and events. The whole shebang ends with a black-tie dinner in Jerash. Expect five-star accommodation every night, as well as traditional Arabic and Bedouin cuisine. The expedition enjoys the royal patronage of Prince Faisal bin al-Hussein, and his brother King Abdullah II and sister-in-law Queen Rania may just make an appearance, as they did at the 2003 inaugural race. A motoring holiday it may be, but participants should expect much, much more than just deserts. tel: (44-207) 229 9481