Matters Of Moment, May 1961
MERCEDES-BENZ WINS CORONATION SAFARI
By winning outright the tough, dust-infested East African Coronation Safari for the third year in succession Mercedes-Benz have proved convincingly the superiority of their splendidly engineered, petrol-injection, all-independently-sprung 220SE saloon. In a contest in which to finish is more creditable than winning many European rallies, warm praise is due also to Ford, the Zephyrs from Dagenham taking the Manufacturers’ Team Prize (another ” hat-trick “) and the Ford 105E Anglias not only dominating their class, which meant defeating the once-all-conquering Volkswagens (which suffered from fractured gearbox mountings as Porsches did in less exacting circumstances some years ago), but winning the Price Index Trophy. Let us set it down as a magnificent Anglo-American success.
The names of Manussis, Coleridge and Beckett, who won the 1961 Safari in an old-type Mercedes-Benz 220SE, must be coupled with those of Mrs. Anne Hall and Mrs. C. L. Cardwell who brought their Ford Zephyr home in third place behind the pair of victorious German cars, winning the Coupe des Dames for Ford for the third successive year. With Pat Moss and Ann Wisdom triumphant in the last Liége-Rome-Liége Rally male rally drivers must look to their laurels!
That the Humber Super Snipe has emerged from mediocrity to being a very sound car is evident from fourth place occupied by the Talbot/lqbal car of this make and type, and Rootes can take further credit for a Sunbeam Rapier vanquished the Peugeot 403s in the 1,301-1,600-c.c. class.
Of the smallest cars, which have a very tough task in this strenuous, car-breaking event, all the glory goes to Renault Ondines; whereas some time ago dust in an Alpine Rally killed these rear-engined French small cars, very clearly this trouble has been cured and in the Safari it was a Morris Mini-Minor that succumbed to overheating.
In the 851-1,300-c.c. category it was Ford Anglias all the way and the Peugeot 404s made a sandwich of a Mercedes-Benz 190 in the 1,601-2,000-c.c. class.
Only 38 cars out of 77 survived this gruelling 3,300-mile marathon and for a long time to come African, Asian and European buyers will regard with great favour Mercedes-Benz 220SE, Ford Zephyr, Ford Anglia, Renault Dauphine, Sunbeam Rapier, Peugeot 404 and 403, and Mercedes-Benz 190.
The B.R.D.C. is offering a full and interesting day’s sport at Silverstone on May 6th, with races for Saloons, Sports Cars, F.J. and Historic Racing Cars supporting the main 230-mile Inter-Continental Formula Race. The last-named has entries from B.R.M., Cooper, Lotus and Scarab, etc., and there should be a Vanwall to be driven by John Surtees. The Scarab may do better on this comparatively fast circuit than it did at Goodwood on Easter Monday.
Last year’s Parade of Historic Cars at this meeting developed into a gigantic “dice,” so it is good to find that John Eason Gibson, the B.R.D.C.’s erudite Secretary, has taken the hint and that there is to be a proper 12-lap race (round the full circuit) for these popular racing cars this time.
By now all grandstand seats may have been sold, but ” All-in ” car tickets at 25s. each should be applied for at once, from the Trophy Office, B.R.D.C., Silverstone Circuit near Towcester, Northants.
MAN IN SPACE
Everyone associated with engineering technology will wish to congratulate Russia on a great achievement. Before the war Germany and Italy had a high opinion of motor racing for purposes of propaganda and should Mr. Krushchev decide to descend to this form of National advertisement Britain will be delighted and will try to give Russia a run for her money.
It is pleasing to note that not only did the Jaguar E-type (which is a G.T., not a sports/racing car) score a victory over Aston Martin and Ferrari on its first appearance in a race (Oulton Park B.A.R.C. Meeting, April 15th—Graham Hill, winner of the G.T. Race) but that at the New York Show Jaguar took orders worth 11-million. Congratulations to Sir William Lyons and his workers in Coventry. Britain isn’t dead yet!
May should be an interesting month from the point of Grand Prix Racing with two contests of World Championship calibre, the first at Monaco on May 14th, followed by the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort on May 22nd.