Austin Healey At 2014 Colorado Grand

This week Kevin Healey sent me a photo of five Austin Healey cars that took part in the recently completed 2014 Colorado Grand.  Earlier Kevin had sent me some pictures of Terry Hall’s new Austin Healey 100 that Terry was going to use in the Colorado Grand.

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Austin Healeys At The 2014 Colorado Grand

In the above photo, Terry Hall’s Austin Healey is the second car from the left.  This is a new car for Terry, who also competed in this year’s Mille Miglia is an AC Ace.

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Terry Hall’s Austin Healey 100

Visually, the big Austin Healey sports cars are about as nice as sports cars get.  The main visual feature of this car is the folding windshield.  High speed tests in the early 1950s showed that reducing the windshield height increased the speed of the car.  The folding windshield was a good compromise for a car that could be used on the street, as well as a car that could be driven to the track and be competitive on the weekends.

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The Austin Healeys Had Very Smooth, Flowing Lines

In these pictures, note how large the drum brakes are!  The brake drums are about as large as wheels.

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The Folding Windshield Noticably Effects the Car’s Profile

In addition to the folding windshield, note the hood louvres and the leather hood strap.  These help to give the car a classic, racy look.

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The Austin Healey 100 Has A Simple Dash

In the photo above, note the goggles hanging from the rear view mirrors.  These goggles would come in handy with the windshield in the down position.

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The Engine In Terry Hall’s Austin Healey 100

I don’t know the details, but I understand that the engine in Terry Hall’s Austin Healey 100 is tuned beyond the typical 100 engine.

One thing that is clear is that the Austin Healey 100, or any other of the big Healeys, would be a good choice for a touring rally like the Colorado Grand.

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A South African Adventure

A couple of weeks ago I got a message from Darryl Hurter of South Africa.  I have posted some material from Darryl in the past focusing on his interest in Triumph cars and some of the activities related to Triumph cars in South Africa.  This time Darryl sent me a report on a recent vacation that he and his wife, Rosemary, took to a remote part of South Africa.  Much of the report that had been prepared by Rosemary dealt with normal family vacation matters, but there were some images that changed some of my perceptions of South Africa.

One of the places that they visited was the Vleihuisie – a remote little get-away situated on the Doornberg Farm about 13kms outside Nieu Bethesda deep in the Karoo. The little rural cottage, shown in the image below, has electricity which would make one appreciate small luxuries, such as an electric blanket which is a must at night as the temperatures can get below freezing at night.  As you can see, it appears to be a modest place.

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Vleihuisie On The Doornberg Farm

From the Vleihuisie Darryl and Rosemary had an uninterrupted view of their favorite mountain – Compassberg – and the view from the back of the cottage is of vast lands stretching away into the distance.

There is no jungle or bush around, only low scrub and fynbos. The purple mountains are all around in the distance.  The farmer on whose land the Vleihuisie lies is a fourth generation farmer in his family. His forebears lie in the quaint little grave yard on the farm.

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The Karoo Area Is Not An African Jungle.  Compassberg Is The High Mountain In the Center Of The Picture

Darryl and Rosemary were surprised one night when they realized that it was snowing. They opened the door of the Vleihuisie and watched in wonder as the snow gently wafted down.  They had never seen snow falling in South Africa before.  They had parked their 4×4 outside the front door in readiness for packing the next morning and it quickly gathered snow on its roof.  When they woke in the morning they thought that they were in a winter wonderland.  They had to pour hot water onto the 4×4 door locks to open them.

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Same View of Compassberg (to the left of the tree), But Now With Snow On The Ground!

On the farm there was the wreck of a nineteen-thirty-something car. Darryl couldn’t find any badge or indication of the make. It had wells for 2 spare wheels in each front fender so would have been a desirable cross-country vehicle back then.  Darryl says that it was definitely made in the USA.

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4×4 Trail To The Base Of Compassberg

Darryl and Rosemary have always been attracted to Compassberg – which at 2,502 meters or 8,209 feet was the highest peak in South Africa until the Transkei was incorporated into South Africa. Now the peak Ben McDui in the Malutis is the highest. Darryl’s dad grew up in this part of the Karoo and he would tell Darryl and Rosemary so many stories about the mountain and folk who had climbed it. He never did himself and was hugely delighted when Darryl and Rosemary climbed to the top of Compassberg in 1998.  So on this most recent vacation, they yet again hatched a plan to tackle the mountain – they got permission from a farmer who has a 4×4 track to use the track to get to the base of the mountain early one morning.  As you can see from the photo of the 4×4 track, it was quite rough!

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View From Compassberg

After driving to the base of Compassberg, Darryl and Rosemary climbed a long way up Compassberg.  Their 4×4 is parked at the end of the trail which, although almost invisible in the photo, is just in front of the brim in her hat.  The view from here is spectacular and does not look like Africa to me at all.

While the topic is slightly different than what I usually post, I found Rosemary Hurter’s report interesting and fascinating and I enjoyed reading it.  It provided me a look at South Africa as I had not seen or visualized before.

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A Great Jaguar XK140 At Lime Rock

On Labor Day weekend I went to the Lime Rock Historic Festival.  This is an annual must-see event with a spectacular gathering of vintage road cars and race cars.  I was able to combine a wonderful motorcycle ride through rural Massachusetts and Connecticut with the visual splendor of the cars at the Lime Rock Historic Festival.  Throughout the upcoming weeks I will be posting about some of the cars that were at Lime Rock for the “Sunday In The Park” car show.  This Jaguar XK140 is one of them.

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A Spectacular Jaguar XK140

At Lime Rock Historic Festival you will find cars on display all around the 1.5 mile track.  Typically, some of the special cars or featured marques are on display on the front straightaway.  I had the opportunity to tour the entire track with VSCCA Chief Steward Bob Melhado.  On the backside of the track we spotted a spectacular Jaguar XK140 drophead coupe.  This is a car that was a must-see car!  It had just been restored to a very high level and was very impressive.

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All Of The Chrome Has Been Upgraded

The car’s owner, Stanley (I lost his business card on the way home.  I think that it blew out of my pocket while I rode the motorcycle.), who lives in both Maine and Texas, noted that there was only 53 miles on the car.  He said that it was restored to a high level with all of the touches that he wanted.  (By the way Stanley, if you should see this post, please let know you last name and I will include it in the post.)

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 The Elegant Interior Was Spotless

The Jaguar engines of the 1950s were both powerful and nice to look at.  The engine in this Jaguar XK140 is no exception.

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The Jaguar Engine Was ReBuilt As Well

The base Jaguar XK140 was powered by a 3,442cc dual overhead camshaft six-cylinder engine that produced 190 horsepower.  This was 30 more horsepower than the earlier XK120 which had the same engine as the Jaguar XK140.

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A Lovely Blend Of Paint and Chrome

The Jaguar XK140 was available in the USA from 1955 to 1957.  In 1958 the XK140 was replaced by the XK150.  The XK120, XK140, and the XK150 all looked similar, but had subtle changes over the years.

The lesson to be learned from the Jaguar is that when you visit the Lime Rock Historic Festival next Labor Day weekend, be sure to check out all of the cars around the track.  There are spectacular cars to be seen everywhere and this Jaguar XK140 is a great example.

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Saab Monte Carlo 850

Last Sunday the Larz Anderson Museum of Transportation in Brookline, MA held its annual Swedish Car Day.  I was dealing with my own Swedish car issue that day and as such I was unable to make it to Larz Anderson’s.  However my friend, Gary Hamilton, was able to attend and Gary sent me some of his photographs.

Swedish Car Day Ad

The car that caught my eye in Gary’s photos was a Saab Monte Carlo 850.

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The Two Chrome Strips Along The Rocker Panels Distinguish The Monte Carlo 850 From The Standard Saab 96

The Saab Monte Carlo 850 was a three-year model, 1964, 1965, 1966 and may have trickled into 1967, that had a special two-stroke, three-cylinder, three carburetor 841 cc engine that produced 60 horsepower.

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All Of Sweden Celebrated Saab’s Monte Carlo Victory In 1963

The Saab Monte Carlo 850 was a rather expensive Saab.  For example, in 1964 a standard Saab 96 with the standard 750cc engine cost $1,895 while the Monte Carlo 850 cost $2,790.  That is almost 50% more!

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The Red Color Of The Monte Carlo 850 Is The Classic Saab Color

While the outside lines of the early Saabs are not appreciated by everyone, the interior design would surely be considered excellent by everyone.

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This Car Has Been Restored Inside and Out

The origin of the Saab Monte Carlo 850 goes back to the Saab GT750 that was introduced in 1958.  This was considered a performance car in the Saab line-up.

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Saab GT750 Advertisement

The GT750 car was introduced primarily for the American market in 1958.  I believe that this model was a result of Saab’s success in the Great American Mountain Rally.  The Saab GT750 had increased horsepower from the standard 93B’s 38 horsepower to 50 horsepower and there was a modified version of the GT750 that produced 57 horsepower.

An interesting feature of the Saab GT750 was that it included a Halda Speedpilot as standard equipment.  This left no doubt that Saab was focusing on rallying for the GT750.  By the early to mid 1960s when the Monte Carlo 850 had evolved from the GT750, the Halda Speedpilot was no longer standard equipment, but it could be ordered as an option.

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The Saab Monte Carlo 850 Dash Is Among The Best There Is

If you look carefully at the glove box door on the Saab Monte Carlo 850 dash you can see what appears to be a “knock out” plate where the optional Halda Speedpilot could be mounted.

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Special Badging On The Fenders

The Saab Monte Carlo 850 was an interesting car in the Saab line up.  Given the price premium for the Monte Carlo 850 at $2,750 in 1966 compared to a 1275cc Austin Mini Cooper “S” at $2,349, I would think that it was a car that appealed to a narrow market.

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An Excellent Guide To Rally Co-Driving

Right away when I saw that Mark Williams had written a book on rally co-driving I knew that it would be a valuable and useful guide.  And now after having read the book, I can say that it is all that I expected and more.

Mark Williams Book Cover

Mark William’s New Guide To Rally Co-Driving In North America

Over the years of competing as a rally co-driver, I have read just about all of the books and guides about co-driving and I can say that this book is head and shoulders better than the other rally co-driving books out there.  While the book specifically focuses on North American rallies, most of the information can be applied to stage rallies around the world.

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Useful Explanation of Stage Notes

The information is up-to-date and full of practical advice that is immediately useful to rally co-drivers and drivers too.  The frequent use of graphics, specific examples, and rally “war stories” make the issues easy to understand and informative.

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Nice Visual Explanation Of Crest Descriptions

As noted in the title of this book, Mark focuses on North American stage rallies.  Most of the rally co-driving books that are out there are written by English co-drivers and frequently include information about other types of rally navigation and co-driving techniques.  This book only deals with stage rallies.

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The Book Is Full Of Practical Examples As Shown Above

I enthusiastically recommend this book, both for new rally co-drivers and experienced co-drivers as well.  New or aspiring rally co-drivers will learn from all of the information provided, while the experienced co-drivers will surely pickup some tips and insights from Mark’s many examples and rally “war stories”.

For details on getting this book go to www.rallycodriver.com

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Ronnie Adams Caricature Sketch

Recently I bought an older print of a caricature sketch of rally driver, Ronnie Adams, from a seller in Australia.  Ronnie Adams was a very successful rally driver, who among other things won the 1956 Monte Carlo Rally when this rally was the best known rally in the world.

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Ronnie Adams

Ronnie Adams drove for a number of works rally teams, mostly in the 1950s.  His story is told in the book “From Craigantlet to Monte Carlo”.

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Ronnie Adams Driving A Jaguar To A Monte Carlo Rally Victory

Ronnie Adams’ son, Kenneth,  now lives in New Jersey.  I have had the opportunity to meet Kenneth and hear stories about his Dad and what it was like riding with his Dad whenever they went anyplace.  Ronnie Adams was a businessman, not a professional rally driver, so he had to practice whenever and wherever he could.  Kenneth has also shared with me articles and paper clippings about his Dad.

As I said in my September 23, 2012 post about Ronnie Adams; he was a great rally driver.

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A Triumph TR4 Takes On The Summer Alcan 5000

Robert Vogel of Massachusetts sent me a copy of an article entitled “Beachers Ready To Rally” written by Andrew Hudson that was published in the “Beach Metro Community News”. Robert Vogel is a Cape Cod area British car enthusiast who drove a MINI in the last winter Alcan 5000.  The “Beach Metro Community News” serves the Beaches area of the City of Toronto.  The Beaches is a wonderful area of the City of Toronto full of interesting neighborhoods and parks.  When I lived in Toronto, I often rode my bicycle and played ball in the Beaches area.  The following is Andrew Hudson’s complete article:

“Next time they get stuck on the Gardiner Expressway, Tim Burgess and Jan Frolic can look ahead to a summer of open roads with truly wild traffic: elk, deer, bears, and logging trucks.

For fun and a good cause, the Beach couple is gearing up for the Alcan 5000 – a nine-day, 7,200-km rally that will take them from Seattle to Anchorage on dirt roads and Arctic highways with names like Klondike and Top of the World.

And, just to make it interesting, they will do it all in a tiny 1961 Triumph TR4.

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Tim Burgess and Jan Frolic pose for a “before” shot with their 1961 Triumph TR4 sports car, which they will drive some 7,200 km this August on a nine-day rally from Seattle to Alaska. Along the way, the Beach couple hopes to raise $5,000 for Princess Margaret Hospital. Anyone who wants to make a donation or track their progress on rally can find out more on the Facebook page called Jan & Tim’s Excellent Adventure.  PHOTO: Andrew Hudson

“We were looking for a big adventure,” says Burgess, who raced older rally cars in the UK before he moved here and started driving the only rally-ready Triumph in Ontario.

“I came across this thing and went, ‘This is for us! This is a stupidly long way in any vehicle at all, and especially in a tiny little 50-plus year-old car.’”

Now in its 30th year, this summer’s Alcan rally will feature 23 cars and 46 motorcycles, each driving a minute apart.

To keep it legal, drivers hold the speed limit. They compete instead on precise cornering and by following a race itinerary that is spot-checked by people waiting at hidden checkpoints and timed to the hundredth of a second.

Nearly everyone else on the Alcan has a rally computer that beeps if a driver goes a second or two off-course.

But keeping in tune with their four-gear, spoke-wheeled, sixties sports car, Frolic will help Burgess navigate using a wind-up clock and stopwatch.

“He doesn’t have anything sophisticated,” Frolic joked. “He has me.”

The pair plan to start the August rally in style – a costume-designer friend insisted on making them sixties-style rally suits, possibly in lightweight silk.

But such finery won’t last.

“I imagine us having one change of clothes each, and that’s it,” said Burgess. Frolic has already picked out their key piece of rally-wear: camp T-shirts they can wring clean in a motel sink.

Even in the Beach, neighbours often see the two roll in from weekends in Trent Hills, Seneca, or Prince Edward Counties with the Triumph totally covered in mud.

“We kind of seek out the roads that say, ‘Unsuitable for motor vehicles,’” said Burgess.

They will find many such roads in B.C. and the Yukon, including one 160-km spur known as the “Grand Canyon of the North” that edges the Stikine River down to Telegraph Creek. Some of its hills have grades that push 20 per cent or more – think of Scarborough Road only steeper, with no asphalt and a river below.

But that’s just the sort of country that Giovanni Michelotti, the Italian designer of the British-made Triumph, had in mind.

While its 180 km/h top speed may seem modest by today’s standards, in the 1960s the high-torque Triumph was a rally favourite, especially on mountain routes.

“That’s where they really excelled, coming out of hairpins and going all the way up mountains,” Burgess said.

The Triumph also has a very simple, “un-fussy” design, he added, so all but the most serious repairs can be done roadside. Each wheel has a wing-shaped hub that can be knocked loose with a hammer, making for speedy tire changes, too.

Frolic said friends and family have told them everything from “You’re insane” to “If you can’t go, I’ll take your place.”

But however sane it is to drive a Triumph on backroads to Alaska, everyone has good reason to back the trip – the couple hope to raise $5,000 for Princess Margaret Hospital.

“We thought, it’s 5,000 miles, and if we could raise $5,000 that seems reasonable,” Frolic said. “It’s a buck a mile. We just hope we can contribute while we’re doing something fun.”

To track the Triumph during the August 18 to 26 rally, visit the couple’s Facebook page called Jan & Tim’s Excellent Adventure.

Donations will be made through the website for Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer – an Aug. 27 fundraiser they will have to miss this year since it comes on the day they will be cooling their heels in Alaska.”

 

Further to Andrew’s article the Alcan 5000 is now underway and last night I got the following message from Tim:

We have made it to Stewart BC at the end of a (very tough) day 2. ‎ The TR4 is going like a train so far, and we are having a load of fun. But the rough forest roads give it a pounding, I can tell you!!
Feel free to look us up on facebook too: Jan & Tim’s Excellent Adventure. 
Best,
Tim

 

I wish all of the best for Tim and Jan as they take part in this challenging rally.  This is not Tim’s first rally as I know that Tim frequently competes in car rallies in Ontario with his Triumph.  His Triumph is driven the way the way it was meant to be driven.

Finally, I want to thank Robert Vogel for sending me this article from the Beach Metro Community News.

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