Rallying the Ford Corsair GT

I am sorry but I simply cannot let Mr. M.J. Reynolds get away Scot-free. On the other hand, because I was the party who wheeled the Corsair V4 GT round the 1966 Monte Carlo Rally I am somewhat reluctant to write this letter, in case it may be construed as self-advertisement. The car which we drove was privately entered and literally unprepared. We started with the intention of trying to finish and from Reims to Monte Carlo we had an easy and uneventful passage, merely getting used to the characteristics of the vehicle. We started out on the Monte Carlo/Chambery/Monte Carlo run with some misgivings, certainly not contemplating qualifying for the first 60 but still hoping to finish; this was a pity because we should have gone harder. The car went extremely well and at no stage on this run did we really abuse it. On finding that we were in 44th position after this run, which meant that we were officially a finisher, my co-driver, Brian Metcalfe, and I did some thinking and decided to have a go.

We set out on the final 12-hour dash and in my limited experience of 17 Continental rallies I have never washed a motor car like this before. I estimate that for 10 of the 12 hours the rev.counter was in the red; I bounced the car off banks and what have you and just could not have extracted more from the machine. This is not something of which we are particularly proud but it does indicate the usefulness, reliability and performance of the car and when we finished in 20th position (after the disqualifications) we received a trophy for the best privately entered British car. As this is my first personal result in the Monte, we could not be more pleased.

We changed brake pads and a fan belt which had gone slack; these were the only minor problems that we had on our entire run. Petrol consumption on the ordinary stages was about 27 m.p.g., in the mountains a glorious 10/12 m.p.g., and when one considers that this 2,000-c.c. car costs less than £1,000 and is the best vehicle I know for drawing a caravan or trailer, I think that we must be a little more charitable. I also have a GT Cortina, which is a very attractive car, but I think that the Corsair GT has a proper place in the Ford range of vehicles.

Belfast. Ernest Minchin.