. . . . to Paddy Hopkirk and Henry Liddon on their splendid outright victory in the Monte Carlo Rally, endorsing all MOTOR SPORT has said in the past about the merits of the front-drive, rubber-sprung small cars built by the British Motor Corporation. That the little Mini-Cooper S beat even the mighty Ford Falcon Sprints, on which American Ford had staked so much, was sweet indeed for Britain’s Motor Industry. Even Mr. Marples has ordered one of these Minis. which we hope will prove at least the equal of his bicycle …. Last year, when Ford introduced their powerful GT engine and enticed away from the B.M.C. some of their best rally drivers, Alec Issigonis spoke of a new Mini-Cooper and remained quietly confident. His unconcern was justified and the Monte Carlo victory of the Mini-Cooper S should be reflected in an increased demand for all models of the successful Mini family.
Coupled with warm congratulations to modest Hopkirk go congratulations to all concerned, not forgetting Wilson McComb, B.M.C. Competitions Press Officer, who contrived a very topical interview with the victorious driver on the eve of the rally.
. . . . to Mike Hailwood, on keeping his licence when his ease of driving in a built-up area at 75 m.p.h. was heard recently. John Gordon of the Sunday Express criticised the Court’s decision as absurd, illogical and unjust, because the Chairman of the Sessions did not disqualify Hailwood and thus jeopardise his three Motorcycle World Championships. At other times the Sunday Express is pleased to make much of National heroes and brave men. Does it not occur to John Gordon that the Magistrates may have appreciated that to someone of Hailwood’s ability and judgement and keen eyesight 75-m.p.h. is not quite so shocking as it sounds? In any case, £75 is a pretty stiff fine, and the winning of a triple crown of no little value to British prestige deserves a little leniency in a case in which no accident happened and no-one else was involved.
That 100,253 people attended the January Racing Car Show in London, compared to the 560,001 who went to Earls Court last October, is a firm indication of the interest taken in high-performance motoring in all its forms. This B.R.S.C.C. exhibition was the fifth of the series and it has been widely assumed that the first Racing Car Show was held, therefore, in 1960. So far as a commercial show is concerned, this may be so but – credit where credit is due – the first racing car display, as such, was probably that organised by the present Editor of MOTOR SPORT, under the sponsorship of Capt. O. V. Holmes, proprietor of Brooklands – Track & Air, in the Paddock at Brooklands, during the B.A.R.C. Easter Meeting of 1934. The cars displayed comprised Chitty Bang Bang I, loaned by the Conan Doyle brothers, the Blake brothers’ 1903 G.B. Napier, R. G. J. Nash’s 1912 G.P. Lorraine-Dietrich “Vieux Charles Trois,” and R. O. Shuttleworth’s replica Paris-Madrid 1903 de Dietrich. Today Chitty I has been broken up, the Napier is in America, the Lorraine-Dietrich in the Montagu Motor Museum and the de Dietrich in the Shuttleworth Trust Collection.
And in 1948 the B.R.D.C. organised a Racing Car Exhibition at Henly Hall for the Primrose League, at which many racing cars, now recognised as historic, were displayed.
MEMO FOR A MINISTER!
The Conservative Party is hopeful of remaining in power after the forthcoming General Election – and the best of British luck (sincerely).
To gain motorists’ votes there are several things that Ernest Marples might consider, such as raising the town speed-limit to 40 m.p.h. (even if doubling the penalties for exceeding it), recruiting a force of motor special police from amongst the more reliable Motor Club members, sworn in and controlled in the same way as existing Special Constables, to aid the regular police in keeping the traffic flowing in emergencies and apprehending dangerous and careless drivers, and making Traffic Wardens undergo a course of Common Politeness.
Best of all, Marples might offer careful drivers a concession, applying at the time of renewing their clean three year driving licences, of six years, or 4 1/2 years, before three endorsements entailed automatic disqualification, instead of retaining the three-year clause in this respect for everyone, no matter how good or how black their former driving record.