Matters of moment, May 1963
Peugeot wins Safari Rally of 77 retirements
That splendid French family car, the Peugeot 404, has achieved enhanced prestige by its remarkably convincing victory in this year’s Safari Rally in Kenya. Perhaps the most informative and toughest rally in the World, informative because the cars have to be virtually to catalogue specification, on account of 40 to over-50-m.p.h. average speeds over 3,200 miles of “impossible” terrain, the Safari this year stopped 77 out of the 84 cars that left the start. It even knocked out Carlsson and his Saab, which had tried to treat it as a race.
Through all this the Peugeot 404 driven so ably by Nowicki and Cliff came through to outright victory, 79 points ahead of the next finisher. Moreover, two more Peugeots, a 404 and a 403/7, finished 5th and 6th in a contest in which no team survived intact.
High praise must be accorded to the four other finishers—to the British Ford Anglia 1200 which was 2nd, to the Mercedes-Benz 220SEb that was 3rd, to the Fiat 2300 which came in 4th and to the 3-litre Rover P5 which was 7th. East Africans and all the World’s customers will long remember that for toughness and reliability you want PEUGEOT, or Ford Anglia, Mercedes-Benz, a 6-cylinder Fiat or one of the new big Rovers!
In the icy Monte Carlo Rally front-wheel-drive scored. In the Safari, toughness counts, allied to sufficient performance to keep up the pace in spite of clogging mud. The Peugeots had this. So had the Little Ford Anglia 1200, and the big 6-cylinder Mercedes-Benz and Fiats. So had the Rover. No others finished. The Ford Cortina GTs, well up until near the finish, couldn’t make it. Two overturned but without being on the spot it would be futile to blame this on the suspension, nor does this add anything to the verbal battle of Cortina versus Morris 1100, because four M.G./Morris 1100s retired! Other Cortinas holed sumps and suffered damaged suspension.
What a Rally! And what a tough, useful car the conscientiously-built Peugeot has once again proved itself, with its efficient worm-drive axle and clever push-rod valve gear that is the next best thing to o.h.c. After this sensationally destructive Safari, the next rally to study seriously will be the Liége.
B.M.C. CARS dominate Mobil Economy Run
The annual Mobil Economy Run which is so impeccably organised by the Mobil Oil Company and the Hants & Berks M.C. is quite different from the Safari Rally, yet has something in common with the great East African contest, inasmuch as the cars are meticulously checked as being production vehicles and made to go quite fast in spite of the predominant object of conserving the Mobilgas they consume.
This year road and weather conditions over the 1,100-mile route, of which a less economical 3-day “tour” in the British Isles would be difficult to find, made severe demands on cars and drivers.
There is, officially no outright winner, but star performance was that of H. G. W. Kendrick, three times the winner in previous Mobil Economy Runs and a class winner in every one of the contests held since the first in 1955. This year he returned 34.40 m.p.g. from a Vanden Plas Princess, victor in Class 4. B.M.C. cars proved commendably economical. Class 3 was won by P. T. Walker’s Morris Oxford VI, with 41.09 m.p.g., Class 2 by A. H. Hill’s M.G. 1100 with 44.61 m.p.g., Class 1 by M. Gething’s Austin-Mini with 53.93 m.p.g. Tyres can contribute to petrol economy, so it is interesting that Kendrick used Michelin “X,” Walker was on Pirelli Cinturas, Hill relied on Dunlop C41’s, and Gething had specified Michelin “X” covers on his Mini. The results were :—
Class 4 – m.p.g. – Tyres
1st: H. G. W. Kendrick (Vanden Plas Princess) – 34.40 – Michelin “X.”
2nd: P. R. Giles (Standard Ensign) – 32.99 – Dunlop Gold Seal.
3rd: W. R. Ogglesby (Vauxhall Cresta) – 31.44 – Michelin “X.”
1st: P. T. Walker (Morris Oxford VI) – 41.09 – Pirelli Cintura.
2nd: P. Bentley (Vauxhall Victor Super) – 37.72 – Michelin “X.”
3rd: Mrs. P. Allen (Hillman Super Minx) – 35.07 – Michelin “X.”
1st: A. H. Hill (M.G. 1100) – 44.61 – Dunlop C4.
2nd: P. A. Tothill (Wolseley 1500) – 42.73 – Michelin “X.”
3rd : E. W. L. Nicholson (Ford Consul Cortina) – 39.17 – Goodyear.
1st: H. Gething (Austin Mini) – 53.93 – Michelin “X.”
2nd: R. G. Davies (Morris Minor 1100) – 47.29 – Michelin “X.”
3rd: H. E. Marfleet (Austin A40, Mk. I) – 46.12 – Dunlop Gold Seal.
The four 4th-place cars were all on Michelin “X”— tyres had to be standard or optional equipment, run at maker’s recommended pressures.
B.M.C. and Michelin are to be congratulated on the outcome of the 1963 Mobil Economy Run. The Fords proved rather too thirsty, the highest placed being 3rd behind two B.M.C. cars.
Protection for the motorist
Readers of Motor Sport have expressed strong approval of our suggestion that a Motorists’ Advisory Council should be formed to protect their interests and fight test cases where car owners are unfairly prosecuted. We are now calling a meeting, the results of which will be announced next month, in order to form such an organisation on a sound footing. We have come to the conclusion, on careful investigation, that no existing body is carrying on quite the work we envisage and that a powerful, influential body backed by well-known motoring personalities, is what is required. We thank you for your letters, rely on your future support and guarantee that Motor Sport will announce the findings of the Council’s initial meeting as soon as possible.
The Veteran C.C. rally at Moynes Park, Suffolk, takes place on June 15th and the Shrewsbury Rally on June 29th.
A Pride of Ownership rally with prizes (entry fee 2s. 6d.) for vintage and veteran cars, starting by 2 p.m., takes place at Bedwell Park, Essendon, Herts, on June 3rd, in conjunction with the Charity Fete. Details from S.E. Robinson, Warren Road, Hatfield.
Fixtures at Beaulieu
The fixtures at the Montagu Motor Museum, Beaulieu, Hants, are:
May 5th: Federation of National and One-Make Motorcycle Clubs Rally. Vintage Austin Register Rally.
May 10th: International Bugatti Touring Rally.
May 12th: Federation of Veteran Car Clubs Rally.
May 18th: Speedbird Club Rally.
May 19th: Eastleigh and District Scooter Club Rally.
May 26th: V.S.C.C. Rally.
June 2nd/3rd: Traction Engine Rally.
June 16th: M.G. Car Club “T” Register Rally.
July 6th: Auction.
July 7th: Seven Fifty Motor Club Rally.
July 21st: Ecurie Ecosse Rally.
Aug 25th: Sunbeam Motorcycle Clubs—Graham Walker Memorial Run.
Sept. 1st: Sunbeam-Talbot Owners’ Club (Concours).
Sept. 22nd: Southampton Motorcycle Club—Vintage Motorcycle Rally.