Matters of moment

Allard's great victory

Belatedly, because Motor Sport is a monthly, but none the less sincerely, we acclaim Sydney Allard's great victory in the Monte Carlo Rally. First ever to win through from Glasgow and first British car to win this great winter test and adventure since Donald Healey did so in 1931 with an Envicta, the Allard triumph. is as convincing as it was well-deserved. Weather conditions made the 1952 Rally a tough one and the final Regularity Test little less than a motor-race on ice. That the Allard saloon won through to absolute victory is an everlasting tribute to the driving skill and determination of SH Allard and his co-driver G Warburton, and to the navigational accuracy of ST Lush, who is also very competent at unravelling mechanical disasters, although his abilities in this direction were not required on this occasion. Note that the Allard was driven by its designer-manufacturer. Sydney Allard is not a man with whom to air views about motor cars, for inevitably he knows more of the answers than the questioner, particularly about just what can be done with the Ford components of which the Allard car is largely constituted. He started competition motoring almost as a schoolboy and after adolescent skirmishes with three and four-wheeled V-twin Morgans, saw in the V8 Ford the car capable of meeting his exacting requirements. Almost forced into commercial manufacture by the success of his later Allard-Fords in trials and races, he has developed both the car and the business of selling it to a high pitch of efficiency, which victory in this year's Monte Carlo Rally, amongst many other successes, endorses. A man who knows so much about competition driving, in a car he hirnseff has designed, was well equipped to win ! Especially as the 4.4-litre sv V8 engine of the Allard provides very ample speed and acceleration, while clearly the Allard chasais is endowed with highly-developed qualities of wheel adhesion under circumstances when low co-efficients of friction prevail.

A rather different assignment fell to Stirling Moss, who, aided and abetted by John Cooper and Desmond Scannell, brought a Sunbetun-Talbot 90 home in second place, from Monte Carlo, losing four marks to Allard. This, too, was a magnificent performance, in a car which has been steadily developed down the years. 

Whereas Sydney Allard donned a duffle coat and drove himself, the Rootes Brothers preferred to retain their striped trousers and umbrellas and let Moss drive their car for them. They must be extremely gratified that he brought it so near to victory, for, under the conditions encountered, the loss of four marks in the final test, after covering 2,000 miles without penalty, is a very narrow margin by which to lose—and if Stirling got embedded in the snow during the Regularity Test, Allard hit a wall, which sounds to us remarkably like a draw so top honours in this great event to Allard and Sunbeam-Talbot. Although the latter is, of course, really not a Sunbeam-Talbot at all but could be called a Humber-Hillman, or a Sports Commer, for we feel sure that, warm as they would be with their congratulations on its fine performance, neither Louis Coatalen nor Georges Roesch would claim any association with the car which Stirling Moss drove so splendidly.

But, call it what takes your fancy, this Rootes Group product is clearly a very fine car indeed in its present push-rod-ohv, ifs form, combining useful performance with economy, compact dimensions, and, in contrast to the Allard which beat it by such a narrow margin, a very handsome appearance. The fine showing of these Clapham and Coventry marques deserves the highest praise. British trade cannot fail to benefit and that is very important indeed, as Mr Butler is doing his best to convince us. It was fitting that on Allard's return to England he was given a civic reception by the Mayor of Wandsworth and he and Moss were asked by the BBC to go on the air in the "In Town Tonight" programme. The BARC also held a reception for them. Now that the congratulations are over this well-deserving designer-driver can look forward with confidence to increasing sales of his very roadworthy Allard cars the world over.

Before we conclude these congratulatory remarks very warm tribute must be paid to the little 1,221-cc Simca Sport driven by Dr M Angelvin which finished third, losing only nine marks more than the Allard and winning the 1 litre class. Should petrol prices preclude prsonal use of an Allard or a SunbeamTalbot it is nice to know that the 1.2-litre Simca can do nearly as well. High praise, also, to the British Mk VII Jaguars and Jupiter which filled the remaining three places in the first six. And to the class-winning Dyna-Panhard. Volkswagen and Simca cars and Mrs Molander's Saab, which have proved themselves fast touring cars of the finest sort, and to the Mk. VI Bentley which won the Coupe de Confort Prix d'Honneur, although finishing only 103rd in the Rally section.

This year it was "Britain's Monte Carlo" and in congratulating the successful manufacturers and crews we would like also to congratulate the organiser, Mons Noghes, for rescinding the proprietary-engine ban, which last year excluded Allard cars from his most excellent Rally !