Convincing Hotchkiss Victory. Bristol Placed First of the British Cars.
Good Showing by Jowett Javelin, Allard, Ford, o.h.v. Simca and rear-engined Renault entries.
The Monte Carlo Rally, held last month for the first time since the war, was a great success, and a gruelling test of the modern car which warranted, and received, world-wide publicity. The regulations called for closed cars and the freak cars of before the war were effectively barred.
On the whole Europe’s weather was kind, but not everyone checked in at Monte Carlo to participate in the ingenious and excellent special test, comprising, this year, two timed laps of a 10 1/2-mile mountainous course and a regularity requirement over two short sections.
Of the unfortunates, Oscar Moore and Peter Clark, making up time lost by an over-elaborated mayoral welcome at Boulogne, had the misfortune to hit a lorry which, without intimation, swung across in front of their “1,800” Triumph, the car being wrecked but the occupants not too badly damaged. Donald Healey, Tommy Wisdom and Norman Black were delayed when their Healey encountered blazing lorries blocking the ice-covered road en route for Milan, and losing marks for being late, they retired. Through a gap, somewhat earlier, Imhof and Hutchison had got through, although their Allard, which, too, had started from Florence, was some 20 minutes behind time at Milan. A Citroen and a Matford experienced trouble near Digne and retired, while the experienced Mesdames Simon and Rouault lost so much time cleaning out the fuel system of their Delabaye that it wasn’t worth continuing. There was an amusing incident at Brigg when, having serviced their cars while on the railway trucks, Imhof and Delmarco drove off the instant the unloading ramps were down, along the platform and on with the Rally.
Of those starting from Prague an Aero-Minor was out ere reaching Strasbourg, and Ruppert’s Studebaker hit an electric standard, damage being so extensive that, although the car eventually got to the finish, it was out of the rally. Fog not only proved a nightmare to Imhof and made Delmarco’s Lancia “Aprilia” and Coppola’s F.I.A.T. late with him, but so bad was it on the Hengelo-Amsterdam section that a Buick, a D.K.W., a F.I.A.T. and two Renaults decided to retire. Odell’s Triumph never checked in at Brussels, where even Hall’s V12 Lagonda was late, and on the Nevers-Lyons route Hume’s Jowett Javelin hit a lorry a glancing blow, legal formalities making the car subsequently terribly late. Lyons produced more fog
A Jaguar, a Ford, Channon’s Riley, the Alvis, a Lancia, a Chevrolet., two Aero-Minors, a Kaiser-Frazer and Wansen’s Austin were out before Brussels, and of the ladies competing for the Coupe des Dames, Mme. Itier crashed, Greta Molander was very late, but Countess van Limburg’s Ford V8 and Mrs. Wisdom, Miss Betty Haig and Miss Barbara Marshall in the wonderful little Morris Minor (1949 style) were still in the running. Another lorry-crash put out a Jowett Javelin on the difficult closing sections, over which the little Simcas and rear-engined Renaults hummed merrily.
Beautiful stories came in as the Rally progressed. Louis Chiron, whom Alan Hess had commissioned to drive an Austin A70, gave a demonstration of terrific temperament when held up at a level-crossing, his address to patriotic locals, who became convinced that the prestige of France was verily at stake, having the effect of making them eager to remove the gates bodily. In the end, Chiron was too early at Monte Carlo. There was, too, the unfortunate delay at Boulogne, making the subsequent drive quite a “Mille Miglia” and losing marks through lateness for 16 competitors of the Glasgow contingent. The final sections, too, were productive of more “Grand Prix,” encouraged by the local gendarmes.
The competitors losing marks for lateness numbered 16 at Luxembourg, one or two at Grenoble, one at San Sebastian, one at Bordeaux, 11 at the well-organised Hamburg control due to missing a ferry to Denmark, six at Amsterdam, seven at Brussels, 11 at Nevers.
But at last, to that so fitting setting for the conclusion of a 2,000-mile rally, the harbour front of Monte Carlo, brilliant in the sunshine, came 166 survivors; 42 had retired. Even then troubles were not at an end for, apart from the strain of the final test, during that run the engine of Allison’s Lancia “Dilambda” (not “Austura” as we stated last month) broke up. A Javelin suffered gear-shift difficulties, a Healey wasn’t too happy, and an additional handicap was imposed on some competitors by reason of having to make their runs in the dark. Perhaps Trevoux’s Hotchkiss, Potter’s Allard and Wharton’s Ford-Pilot showed up best.
The full results are appended to this report, and the very greatest credit goes to Jean Trevoux and Marcel Lesurque for their outright win in that very fine French car, the 3.4-litre Hotchkiss. They tied for first place in 1939 and Trevoux won in 1934, on both occasions by grace of Hotchkiss. This year they started from Lisbon. Second place consolidated the Hotchkiss victory, going to a car of this make driven by Worms and Mouche, from Monte Carlo, round the circular route back thereto. That a 2-litre Bristol, driven by the Czechs Dobry and Treybal (who recently took delivery of the “HighSpeed” Frazer-Nash shown at Earls Court), was third, only 8.2 marks behind Trevoux, is a magnificent tribute to one of Britain’s really fine cars. Scarcely less credit must be given to Leonard Potter, who adds another achievement to his long list by finishing fourth, from Glasgow, in a borrowed Allard coupé, and to champion trials-driver Ken Wharton, fifth, in a “works”-sponsored Ford-Pilot, likewise starting from Glasgow. The marks separating these competitors were 4.3, 3.9, 8.6 and 2.8. Of the class winners, every praise should be bestowed on T. C. Wise’s Jowett Javelin saloon, from Glasgow, which, heavily-laden, got through to win the 1 1/2-litre class by 11.8 marks from Gatsonides’ 1949 Hillman Minx saloon, and another Jowett Javelin, handled by R. Smith. Thus Jowett’s faith in “horizontal opposition” and torsional suspension is justified and the reputation of these popular modern 1 1/2-litre cars is materially enhanced. Those excellent Continental cars, the o.h.v. Simca and rear-engined 760-c.c. Renault, headed the up to 750-c.c. and 750 to 1,100-c.c. categories, their drivers being, respectively, Dr. and Mrs. Angelvin and Louis Rosier, both starting from Monte Carlo. Ford’s reputation was amply upheld by Countess van Limburg, who won the Coupe des Dames.
Naturally we are mainly interested in how the British cars fared and it can be said that they certainly did not do themselves discredit. Out of the first 27 they were placed 3rd, 4th, 5th, 8th, 11th, 14th, 19th, 20th, 22nd, 23rd, 24th and 27th, the make-order being Bristol, Allard, Ford, Allard (driven by a comparative novice, A. A. C. Godsall), Allard (Imhof’s, after a really hazardous drive from Florence), Jowett, Hillman, Lagonda, Jowett, Austin and Bentley. Moreover, in the hard-judged Comfort Competition, W. M. Couper’s standard saloon-bodied Mk. VI Bentley won the Grand Prix d’Honneur, an immense boost to British prestige and worth every mile of the long journey from Glasgow, and Anderson’s Hillman Minx won the 1,100-1,500-c.c. class. Other class winners were Buick, Renault and Simca. Nor is that all, for the 1949 Sunbeam-Talbot and 1947 Hillman Minx teams gained special plaques for sensible rally equipment, and the Morris Minor (1949 Minor we again emphasise!) was third in the 750 to 1,100-c.c. category.
Now everyone looks forward to another Rally in 1950, so here’s to the finest winter adventure of all time. Meanwhile, some exclusive accounts of drivers’ experiences in this year’s event follow:—
Leonard Potter, a member of the winning team, winner of the Stuart Cup and winner of late Public Schools Trophy, who came 4th in general classification with an Allard, writes:—
“With Robin Richards and Horace Roberts as co-drivers, I drove drophead coupé JYM 272, starting Glasgow in favourable weather.
“A bad skid just outside Glasgow nearly put us out of the Rally almost at the start, but from then on the journey was comparatively uneventful. We had plenty in hand at all times and in almost all cases it was necessary to wait before checking in at the controls. We met fog, ice and snow before we reached the end the run, but in general the weather conditions were quite good.
“Needless to say the car ran impeccably throughout and at no time did we have any cause to wonder whether it would hesitate whatever calls we might find it necessary to make on its power, acceleration, roadholding and manoeuvrability.
“Realising that success or otherwise would depend mainly on the result of the special test in Monte Carlo, we took the elementary precautions of planning our course of action beforehand, and we spent a short time practising passing a line at a given second. Thanks to this, our regularity was the best recorded, there being only one second total error on the four timings, with a time base of 3 minutes 34 seconds.
“We were, of course, very pleased with our success, particularly in proving to be the best all-British combination (car and crew) and in helping to win the Team Trophy for a British car.”
Alan Godsal, a member of the winning team who was 8th in the general classification in his Allard, writes: —
“Starting from Glasgow, I had my friend Money-Coutts as co-driver in Allard coupé NFC 139. We must have been the youngest competitors in the Rally, I should think, both being under 23, and were without any previous competition motoring experience. We realised that, as we should be competing against so many experienced and competent drivers of all nations, we would have to rely, in the main, on our car, and, apart from having to tighten the screws holding a switch assembly on one occasion, the vehicle could not have gone better.
“Arriving at Luxembourg on time, we were penalised four points for leaving four minutes after the time written in our road book, as were many other competitors. We protested, of course, but without avail. We were not notified that the check point in Paris had been changed and therefore went to the original place, but from then on there were no further incidents. We made a tactical error in the eliminating test in failing to “dump” our chains, spare battery, etc., and we should have had something to counter “pinking” caused by poor quality French petrol, these being the penalties of inexperience. Nevertheless, we are more than satisfied with the result of our initiation into competition motoring, as may be imagined, and would like to express our appreciation of the hospitality and helpfulness extended to us by everyone throughout the Rally.”
T. C. Wise, who won the 1 1/2-litre section for Britain in a Jowett “Javelin” saloon, writes: —
“This was my fifth Rally and I must say that conditions on the road section were the easiest I have known. Co-drivers Cuth Harrison and Gerry Palmer were new to the job. The “Javelin” was a perfectly standard model except for stiffer shock-absorbers, a 17-gallon reserve tank and duplicated fuel line, Michelin Success-S tyres, and all the usual Rally accessories.
“Having made an early entry I was fortunate in being first away from Glasgow and other controls. However, this was a disadvantage on the Boulogne-Luxembourg section as due to delay at Boulogne we were 1 3/4 hours late. Setting a cruising speed of 60 m.p.h., we were beyond Cambrai before realising we must step it up; it was raised to 70 and the car stood a terrific battering from the poor pavé roads. Including losing our way at Longuyon, we made Luxembourg with 30 minutes in hand-250 miles in six hours.
“From thence to Lyon the journey was uneventful — memories are the reception at Liege and being piloted out by a fast 328, the reception in Paris, and losing our way leaving it. At Lyon we hit thick fog — providentially, we didn’t lose the road, but driving through fog banks at 50-60 m.p.h. was hazardous. We made Valence with 10 minutes in hand.
“There followed a spring-like morning and, Cuth, dicing, averaged 40 m.p.h. up and down the Col des Legues. And so into Monte Carlo, with no loss of marks. In the eliminating trial I safely under estimated my time on section BC, and could have improved it by 4 and,12 seconds on each run.”
Allard, who finished 24th in the general classification in his Allard coupé, writes: —
“In company with Alan May and Tom Lush I drove an Allard coupé, MRB 441. We started from Glasgow and, apart from meeting fog just south of Doncaster, found everything favourable on the run to Folkestone. At this point I would like to express appreciation of the service and hospitality offered by the Clifton Service Station on the Sidcup by-pass.
“Owing to the delay Boulogne it at was necessary to make up over one hour between that point and Luxembourg. This resulted in a miniature Grand Prix and was the only time when the car was really extended. In general we found that it was not necessary to call upon the full capabilities of the Allard to cope with the climatic and other difficulties and to maintain the required times, but between Lyons and Valence, owing to thick fog, we arrived at the control point with only 29 seconds to spare. Leaving Amsterdam, we missed the route and motored, for some two miles, over a completely unmade road running parallel to our correct road, but as the continental roads were generally in such bad condition, and the car made no complaint about the exceptionally rough surface, we did not at first realise we were off the route.
“Due solely to my navigator making a time-keeping error we lost heavily in the eliminating test, which resulted in our final placing being far below that justified by the actual performance of the car. As a manufacturer, it was very gratifying to me that Allard cars, and British cars in general, more than held their own in competition with the cream of the foreign marques.
“We were most impressed with the hospitality and generous treatment with which we were greeted throughout the Rally.”
Miss Betty Haig, who shared with Mrs. Wisdom and Miss Barbara Marshall the Morris Minor which finished second in the Ladies’ Class, writes: —
“I think that the chief impression of the Monte Carlo Rally for anyone in the Morris Minor was of hard work! Constant time-checking on three stopwatch-clocks to keep up to the high set average without overdriving the little car, and never considering that we had any time in hand until actually within sight of the control! (The controls were too close to enable any real rest time to be built up with a slow car.) Even before the rally started, many hours of ‘desk work’ had gone into these reckonings. (Barbara and I made a route-map-timekeeping book which proved invaluable, and might later be offered to the British Museum as a basic text book for all rally drivers who do not like to be hurried over their arithmetic!) My final driving impression (Valence-Grasse), was that the International Alpine Trial is a pleasant saunter when compared to hustling a poor little tired Morris Minor over 80 miles of cols to the final Mille Miglia set average! (And the brakes had to be carefully saved for final tests next day.) Yes, much hard work.”
Peter Clark, second driver of No. 139 Triumph which, starting from Glasgow, finished in collision with a lorry between St. Pol and Arras (Pas de Calais), writes:
“I am writing these notes because I was the mug driving when it happened. Yes, it can happen to you. Having always been rather scornful, of people who go about having accidents, I am particularly chastened.
“It was, of course, all along of that fantastic delay at Boulogne, and we were pushing ahead all we knew, to make up as much of the delay as possible in daylight. N 39 between St. Pol and Arras is straight, not very wide and undulating: from the top of a rise, I saw a lorry some 400 yards ahead, going the same way as ourselves: I gave several long blasts on the twin windhorns, but when we were about 40 yards away he put on his flashing trafficator and began to turn slowly — so very slowly — across our path to his left. I might have escaped the accident — or made it much worse — by going down the side turning with him. I elected to hit him right-hand front wheel to left-hand rear.
“Nobody was damaged very much. In fact, only Dave Price (who was in the back seat) bore any mark at: he clouted his nose on the back of the bench-type front seat and will no doubt feel it swelling up again whenever anyone mentions Peter Clark to him. I said a number of things to the lorry driver, and when I was exhausted some kindly Dutch competitors in a Jowett Javelin took over. Then the police arrived, the senior one of whom was especially emphatic and unkind to the poor fellow who had, after all, only wrecked £1,200 worth of motor car and our chances in the Rally (and Dave’s nose), by daydreaming.”
Monte Carlo Rally
Final Results-General Classification
International Sporting Club Cup (Rally Winner). — J. Trevoux and M. Lesurque (Hotchkiss).
Riviera Cup (1,500 c.c.). — T. C. Wise (Jowett Javelin).
Country Club Cup (1,100 c.c.). — L. Rosier (760-c.c. Renault).
Mont Agel Cup (750 c.c.). — Dr. Angelvin (Sinca).
Ladies’ Cup. — Countess van Limburg Stirum (Ford).
Charles Faroux Team Prize. — Allards (L. Potter, A. A. C. Godsall and A. G. Imhof).
Officiel de la Couture Trophy. — Countess van Limburg Stirum.
A.C. of Portugal Cup (best from Lisbon), J. Trevoux.
Aftenposten Cup (best from Oslo). — Wittkampf (Chevrolet).
Barclays Bank Cup (best British car). — Dobry (Bristol).
Hotchkiss Cup (win three years in succession). — Hotchkiss.
“L’Equipe” Cup (best aggregate performance). — Hotchkiss.
Crommelin Cup (best Dutch driver). — Countess van Limburg Stirum.
K.N.A.C. Cup, Dutch Ford Co. Cup, “W.S” Cup, Gatsonides Cup (best Dutch driver, best Dutch Ford performance, best Dutch driver on any route, best Dutch lady).Countess van Limburg Stirum.
Late Public Schools M.C. Trophy (best Public School driver). — L. Potter.
A.C. De Monaco Cup (best in Final Tests). — J. Trevoux.
Noghes Trophy (best performance by oldest competitor). — Dr. Sprenger van Eijk ( Chevrolet).
Robert Poole Trophy. (best American-made car). — Giro Minguella (Ford).
Stuart Trophy (best British driver). — L. Potter.
750-c.c.— (1) Dr. and Mme. Angelvin (Simca), 706.6 (2) Lacman (Aero Minor), 705.6; (3) Baboin (Simca), 685.6.
1,100-c.c. — (1) Rosier (Renault), 757 (2) Norma (Simca), 752.6; (3) Peraud (Renault), 738.4.
1,500-c.c. — T. C. Wise (Jowett Javelin), 754.6 (and 14th in general category); (2) Gatsonides. (Hillman Minx), 749.6; (3) R. Smith (Jowett Javelin), 745.6; (4) P. Monkhouse (Sunbeam-Talbot), 726.2; (5) N. Haines (Sunbeam-Talbot), 717.7; (6) G. Goedhard (Volkswagen), 711.9.
(1) Countess van Limburg Stirum (Ford), 757.4; (2) Mrs. E. M. Wisdom (Morris Minor), and 7th in 1,100-c.c. Class, 707.15; (3) Mrs. K. Molander (Dodge), 701.4.