Following in the footsteps of Paddy Hopkirk and the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally
11:36

Following in the footsteps of Paddy Hopkirk and the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally

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-I'm Rich and that's Daryl. We're off to France to retrace the steps to the ultimate underdog victory. Paddy Hopkirk, 1964 winner of the Monte Carlo Rally, in a mini. -As tempting as it is to drag a classic mini halfway across the continent. Basically, we're lazy. So we're easy jetting it down to Nice and clicking a car from Hertz. And as we all know, nothing handles like a rental. -The 1964 Monte Carlo Rally has little resemblance to the rally of today with the same name. Now back in those days, it was more of an endurance race with the starting points all over Europe. Hollslow, Glasslough, Minz, Lisbon -Athens -Paris -I can't remember. But anyway, it's about three thousand miles and all, wasn't it? And they drove down on the common route from Reems. But the average speed over that three thousand miles was only about thirty mile an hour. I mean, back then it was reliability. Reliability was absolutely key. And the start in itself was down by the F1 circuit, is in Monaco today. -In 64, though, Hopkirk started a [unk] behind the iron curtain. Probably because he had never been behind the iron curtain before. -So the Mini Story really picks up in 62 when an ordinary Cooper, like this one, not the Cooper S, nine hundred ninety seven cubic centimeters was entered. Pat Moss, Stirling Moss' sister, was actually entered for the lady's trophy. -She was entered? For a trophy? What kind of contest is this? -Ignoramus. Ignoramus. It was a different time. -She -- -You can't judge it by today's standards. -She went on to marry Erik Carlsson. Actually, he was one of Paddy Hopkirk's competitors. They were a very close knit bunch in those days even though they were all red hot competitors. -Pat Moss actually didn't like the Mini very much. She thought it was really twitchy on the limit. This thing's pretty fancy, to be honest. This smash box sorta kills any chance of any hairpin heroics anyway. So pack in a hundred and twenty two brake horsepower which is just under twice what the Hopkirk Mini of 1964 had. -This weighs twice as much? -One thousand two hundred kilos, I think it is. -There you go. -So, Hopkirk's Mini was about seven hundred kilos. This thing really liken a super charge [unk] though is a natural successor to the car that Hopkirk had back in 64. -But preferably without the box that sounds like a drunken telephone call. -I don't think it approved of the soft top option really, either. -It's important to put the Mini into context against its competition. Whereas the Mini only had seventy horsepower, one of its main rivals, the Ford Falcon had a v8 with three hundred and five PHP, fiber glass foot wings, front disk brakes and was a really handy car. But there's a complex scoring system and handicap, meaning the Falcon had to win by significant distance to stand any chance of winning the rally. The rally was absolutely grueling, combining the Works teams and private entries, there were two hundred and thirty seven teams that entered and only about thirty five that managed to finish. There were three Citroen DS 19s entered by the Works team, none of whom finished. There was a Saab 96 piloted by Eric 'On the Roof' Carlsson, called 'On the Roof' because of his driving style regularly ending him up on his roof. Other competitors included the Saab 96 driven by Tom Trana. Tom was known as the Horseman of the Apocalypse. It seems that most of the drivers of that era, had unusual nicknames. Mine would be Richard Adequate Jewesburg, striking fear into the back markers in his automatic Mini. -After a lovely afternoon tuning in the mountains, we finally arrived at Sospel, the starting point of one of the most arduous rally stages. -I feel a word on towards the competitors. There was Eugene Barringer who was a German chap who drove a Mercedes 300. He was an ex-prisoner of war of the British and only got into rallying for bet. -Hopkirk himself learned his trade in something called a Hardin 22 -- -Yeah. -which was this ancient little thing given to him by the local priest. Got a motorcycle engine in the back and apparently a hand like a pig but it actually helped him with his car control and got him to where he was by 64. -Story goes he fitted his own brakes. -The Monte Carlo is full of heroic stories, probably one of the best is Baselomba again in a Ford Falcon, who had a blow out of a hundred mile an hour. He blew his radiator, he had problems with his clutch. He had to wake up a French farmer at two in the morning just to get water to fill his rack. After a [unk] from one of his mechanics, he also had to drive fifty mile an hour with no clutch whatsoever. So more or less, this is typical Monte Carlo weather. It is pretty stunning set up here in an American Tour National Park. It also has the Col de Coyale and the Col de la Bonette which are two of Europe's highest roads which are absolutely stunning in their own right. -So the three thousand miles covered on the rally, there was a number of special stages towards the end and the ultimate one was the Col de Turini known as the Night of the Long Knives due to the way that the headlights cut through the dark. It was pretty hairy, too, spectators had been known to throw snow on to the road to liven up what is already a very lively piece of road. Remember also that it was in depths of winter and its one thousand six hundred meters high. That's a mile high. Hopkirk poured gin into the water bottle to stop it from freezing. He was my kind of driver. -There are a number of speed runs as well. Obviously, not for many strong point. The Ford Falcon is absolutely mighty and set fastest speed in six consecutive sections. There are only about twenty years later by the Mighty El Quatro. -One interesting little snippet is on route, one of the stages --

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