Bengt Söderström, the versatile Swede who made his name driving for the works Ford team during the mid-1960s, died in late August after losing his battle against cancer.
Söderström began his international rally career at the wheel of a Volkswagen Beetle, the highlight being a strong second place on the 1961 Midnight Sun Rally, later to become the Swedish Rally.
A contract with a local BMC dealer for 1962 gave him his first home win in a Mini-Cooper.
But he achieved his major successes at the wheel of Ford’s twin-cam Lotus-engined Cortina. Co-driven by Gunnar Palm, he won the 1966 Acropolis and RAC rallies, finished second on the Czech Rally, and took the car to its last major championship win on the Swedish Rally of ’67.
He also led the gruelling East African Safari Rally that year — until he dropped into an uncharted ditch during darkness, almost destroying the car.
On the RAC of 1966, arguably his greatest success, Söderström beat off the challenge of ‘celebrity’ team-mate and double F1 world champion Jim Clark, as well as that of fellow Cortina rally ace Roger Clark, to give Ford its second victory on the British event.
A win for the Blue Oval on the Austrian Alpine Rally in 1968 (in a Mkl Escort TC) was not enough to save his career, though, and retirement followed soon after.
He was replaced at Ford by future Toyota WRC and F1 boss Ove Andersson.