"I raced one"

This rally czar gave modern rally weapons a fright with his Big Healey on the 1981 Himalayan Rally…

“It had been a childhood dream to rally a Healey. My father used to run a garage on the A20 and the works team would stop by on its way to Dover. I would be there in my short trousers helping to fuel up the cars and it went from there really. I drove ‘SJB 471’ which had been an ex-works car [driven by the Morley brothers to third place on the 1960 RAC Rally]. It was at its best up in the mountains; it was brilliant at high altitude. We were overtaking Porsches and all the modern kit. The Healey was a lovely car, as compact as a Ford Escort but with 3-litre grunt. With overdrive on all four gears, the changes were almost electric. It was perfect for that sort of event.

“It was a car that you had to tame, though. With tyre technology as it was back then, it was pretty lively, but I loved that. We were leading for a long time, heading all the new stuff, but the chassis broke on the last day. The car had already led quite a life so it wasn’t a great surprise. Doing that event helped kickstart the historics movement. There was historic racing back then, but not rallying. To me the works Healey is the Jaguar D-type of rallying, an absolute classic.”