Preparations For The 2017 Baden Classic Rally

These days I am getting ready to compete in the 2017 Baden Classic car rally which is based in Michelbach, Germany early next month.  Once again I will be navigating for Harald von Langsdorff.  I have navigated for Harald in this rally for the last six years.

2017 Baden Classic

This year Harald and I will be competing in a 1951 Mercedes-Benz 220.  This car will easily be the oldest car in the rally and should create quite a lot of interest.  I have briefly seen this car before and it looks great.  I like those suicide-style front doors.

1951 Mercedes-Benz 220

The Baden Classic is a car rally that has a lot of different styles which helps to make this rally quite interesting.  There are special tests with target times that are quite aggressive, which this year will be especially challenging for us in this older, rather low horsepower family sedan.  Other parts of the rally have controls timed to the 1/10 second and other controls are timed to the minute. Below is a time card with some of the controls that are timed to the 1/10 second.  Note that some controls are timed from the start, while other controls are timed from the time that you crossed the previous control.  Note that these times are not additive.  For example from WP 2 Reichental if you are 3.2 seconds late breaking the timing light at Ziel 1, then your target time for Ziel 2 will be 35 seconds after the 3.2 second late time at Ziel 1.  You start your stopwatch for Zeil 2, when you break the timing light at Ziel 1.

Sample Timing Requirements

A sample score card from the 2016 Baden Classic is shown below for the controls that are timed to the minute.

The DK controls are Passage Controls at unknown locations.  Some of the Passage Controls are manned, where the timing marshals will sign or stamp your Time Card in the proper place.  Other Passage Controls are unmanned, but it their place is a small, white sign, about 12-inches square with a number or letter on it.  Competitors must write the number or letter on the Time Card in the order that you saw it.  These signs are not hidden, but they are not always easy to see.  You have to be on the lookout for them at all times.  Missing a Passage Control carries a 5-second penalty which is quite significant in this rally.

Sample Timing Card

The score sheet above was for a maze that was set up in an industrial subdivision.  The correct route through the subdivision is shown on the red line on the map which was published after the rally.  The rally instructions did not have this map, but laid out a number of locations that had to be passed in sequence with restrictions such as if you traveled on a road in one direction, then you could only drive on that road again in the same direction.  There were a large number of Passage Controls (several were passed more than once) and competitors lost points if the observed numbers or stamps were missed or out of sequence.

Post Rally Route Map

Harald and I were fairly successful last year in this rally and we hope to do well again this year, but a great deal of the competitors from previous years are returning and they are quite competitive.  This rally is part of an overall ADAC Oldtimer Championship with German rally teams that are competing for their national championship.

Our Trophy From Last Year

I look forward to competing in the Baden Classic rally with Harald von Langsdorff once again.  In addition, we have met a number of other competitors over the year and it will be good to see them once again.

If you have any questions or comments about this post or the Baden Classic rally, then leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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A 1956 Volkswagen Beetle To Compete In The 2017 Mille Miglia

Mark Reynolds of the United Kingdom contacted me by mistake about the 2017 Mille Miglia.  He was looking for some in-person navigation advice about the Mille Miglia.  However he thought that I lived in the Netherlands, so when we sorted that out, he looked for advice closer to home.  Mark did say that he would share some photos and information about his car and he has done just that.

This week Mark sent me a press release that he has prepared along with some photos of his car.  To say that I was surprised would be an under statement.  A Volkswagen Beetle is not the first car that I think of when I think of the Mille Miglia.  But his 1956 Volkswagen Beetle is in the 2017 Mille Miglia when many other more high-end cars are not.  Well played Mr. Reynolds!

The two-page press release that tells the story of his car is below.


This 1956 Volkswagen is very well prepared as evidenced from the photos that Mark sent along to me.

The Volkswagen Looks Good!

Volkswagens have competed in the Mille Miglia on many occasions.  And this Volkswagen looks like it is prepared about as well as it can be for the Mille Miglia.  I think that the car will do well.

By 1953 Volkswagen Had Dropped The Split Rear Window For The Oval

While the Volkswagens never had much horsepower, they did not weigh very much either at just over 1,600 pounds.  The reported top speed of the basic standard 1956 Volkswagen sedan was 68 miles per hour.   As can be imagined, these cars were not sold for their performance, but for their fuel consumption which was said to be 32 miles per US gallon.

The 1956 Volkswagen Had A 1,192cc Four-Cylinder Engine

The engine in this Mille Miglia-bound car now has two carburetors compared to the one Solex carburetor on the original 1,192cc horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine.

The Base 1956 Volkswagen Engine Had 36 Horsepower

Mark Reynolds said that he would send me some of his photos after the 2017 Mille Miglia is completed.  I look forward to seeing those.  The more that I look at this car, the better I like it and the more I admire that they were able to get the Volkswagen to be selected to compete in the 2017 Mille Miglia.  I hope that Mark and his son, Josh, do well.  I’m sure that they will have fun.

If you have any questions or comments about this post or the Mille Miglia, then leave a comment below, or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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Team Silver Baron Great Race Hero Cards

Yesterday a package from Harald von Langsdorff arrived in the mail with some Team Silver Baron hero cards that will be distributed during our participation in the 2017 Great Race.

Front Face Of The Team Silver Baron “Hero” Card

The livery of Harald’s 1972 Mercedes-Benz 350SLC will be silver/black to match the works Mercedes-Benz rally cars of the 1970s.  We have also been able to secure the use of car #8 during the 2017 Great Race to match the number of the Mercedes-Benz SLC rally car that is in the Mercedes-Benz Museum.

Back Face Of The Team Silver Baron “Hero” Card

The back side of the card provides some information about the Mercedes-Benz 350SLC coupe and the support crew for the Great Race.  David Wells is a professional mechanic with great rally experience including refurbishing Harald’s Mercedes-Benz 350SLC, building his own Mercedes-Benz SL, and servicing a Mercedes-Benz 450SLC in the East African Safari Rally.  Paul Henshall has been involved in all sorts of rallying in Ontario, Newfoundland, Dubai, and Germany (and that’s just what I know about) as a driver, navigator, rallymaster, marshal, or providing service support.

This 1972 Mercedes-Benz 350SLC is newest car that is allowed under the Great Race rules which is limited to cars 1972 or older.  The use of a “new” car will make the Great Race more challenging for us because we will not get any benefit from a scoring factor in reducing our timing score.  Despite this, Harald and I have had very good success with Mercedes-Benz cars and we look forward to this year’s Great Race.  If you are in one of the cities/towns where the rally will stop, please look us up and say “Hi!”: we’d enjoy meeting you – Car #8.

If you have any comments or questions about the Great Race or this post, then leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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The 2017 Flying Scotsman Continues On Its Road To Success

As you might know I am doing some work with the Endurance Rally Association (ERA) in England laying out the route for the 2018 Trans America Challenge from Charleston, South Carolina to Seattle, Washington.  As a result I have been following the other events that the ERA has been holding.  This past weekend the Flying Scotsman rather took place from Slaley Hall in northern England to the Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland.  This was the 9th running of this popular rally.

Fred Gallagher, the ERA Rally Director, sent me some photos that he took while he was in attendance at this rally.  These photos show just how tough both the cars and the crews are that take part in this rally.  Not only are many of these cars quite old, they are open cars with the crews exposed to cool and damp conditions.

Car #1 – David Ayre/Anthony Thompson 1907 Itala 40

The Itala 40 crewed by Davis Ayre and Anthony Thompson shown above finished 1st in Class 1 for pre-1920 cars.  It is interesting to note that an Itala 40 took part in the first automotive trip from Peking to Paris in 1907.  This particular Itala, powered by its 7.5 litre engine, is a frequent participant in car rallies these days.

Finishing second in this class was the team of Robert and Matthew Abrey in a 1913 Chalmers 10 shown below.  Not only was the crew in an old car, they were dressed in clothing like the clothes that would have been worn in 1913.  The marshal standing beside the car in short pants is a remarkable contrast to the crew in the car!

Car #2 Robert Abrey/Matthew Abrey 1913 Chalmers 10

The 1937 Lagonda LG45 shown below crewed by John Abel and Leigh Powley finished in an impressive second place overall.  As can be seen in this photo the roads used in the Flying Scotsman rally look great and very appropriate for the cars in this rally.

Car #89 John Abel/Leigh Powley 1937 Lagonda LG45

Bill Cleyndert shown below in his 1928 Ford Model A Special seems to be thoroughly enjoying the rally.  And well he should, as in addition to having the fun of taking part in the Flying Scotsman rally, he, along with his navigator Dan Harrison, finished in third position overall.

Car #16 Bill Cleyndert/Dan Harrison 1928 Ford Model A Special

It is good to see that the owners of these grand old cars are enjoying them by driving them in car rallies like the Flying Scotsman.  Comments from the Endurance Rally Association people indicate that the 9th running of the Flying Scotsman was very successful and everyone is looking forward to the 10th running of the Flying Scotsman in April 2018.

For the detailed results of the 2017 Flying Scotsman, click on the pdf file below:

Flying Scotsman 2017results

If you have any comments or questions about the Flying Scotsman or this post. then please leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot com

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Lotus Elite: Lotus’ First Real Road Car

The Lotus Elite, introduced in 1957, was Lotus’ first true road car.  Many earlier Lotus 7 cars were on the road, but with the coupe design, the Lotus Elite was a more all-season road car.   I saw the Lotus Elite shown below at the Lime Rock Historic Festival in 2015.

Lotus Elite

In total the Lotus Elite was built from 1957 to 1963.  The cars built from 1957 to the early part of 1960 were the Series 1 cars, while those cars built from 1960 to 1963 were Series 2 cars.  All of the Series 1 cars were built with right-hand drive, therefore I conclude that this left-hand drive Lotus Elite is a Series 2 car.

The Lotus Elite Has A Streamlined Design

The body of the Lotus Elite is made of fiberglass which was not common in the mid-1950s.  In order to keep the weight down the body is an integral with the chassis.  As a result of this design the drag coefficient was a sleek 0.29.  And the weight of the Lotus Elite was just under 1,500 pounds.

The Aerodynamic Design Of The Lotus Elite Was The Work Of Frank Costin

Frank Costin, a full-time engineer working with De Havilland Aircraft Company, had a significant input to the design of the Lotus Elite.  Costin did work with Lotus over the years, but not as an employee; he was a paid consultant or a volunteer.  Costin also did the design of the Vanwall Formula 1 car that won the Formula 1 World Constructors Championship in 1958.  Frank Costin should not be confused with his brother Mike, who along with Keith Duckworth, started Cosworth Engineering, the race engine company in 1958.

The Lotus Elite Was Powered By A Coventry Climax Engine

The Lotus Elite did not have a powerful engine, so the lightweight approach was key to having good performance.  The engine was a 1,216cc 4-cylinder Coventry Climax engine that produced 75 to 105 horsepower.  Top speed was in the 115 – 120 miles per hour range.

The Elite had a good race record.  A Lotus Elite won its class at Le Mans five years in a row starting in 1959.  David Hobbs and Frank Gardner finished 8th Overall at Le Mans in a Lotus Elite in 1962.

Not Surprisingly, The Interior Is Quite Plain

Lotus Engineering founder and owner Colin Chapman was famous for “building lightness” into the Lotus cars, so it is not surprising that the interior of the Lotus Elite is plain.  If it’s not needed, then it’s not there.

For A Small Car The Interior Appeared To Be Comfortable

I did not sit in the car; however, I thought that the Lotus Elite would be comfortable for its two passengers.  I liked the rather neat way the emergency brake handle was provided for in the floor mat.

Lotus built about 1,000 Lotus Elite cars.  The cars were never a commercial success as they were rather expensive.  And in some cases, the build quality was not particularly high, given the selling price. In the mid-1960s the Lotus Elite was replaced by the Lotus Elan.

If you have any comments or questions about the Lotus Elite or this post, then leave a comment below or you can send me a private email at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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My Newly Acquired Book About HRG Cars- “HRG The Sportsman’s Ideal”

Last week there was a comment on my website from Peter Davis about the driver and the navigator in a particular HRG car that competed in the 1948 Alpine Rally.  I had previously try to help Peter get to bottom of this but I could not provide a complete answer.  In Peter Davis’ comment, he said that he was able to find the answer about that crew in a book entitled “HRG – The Sportsman’s Ideal” by Ian Dusssek.  On reading that comment I decided to find a way to buy that book about HRG cars and today that book arrived in my mailbox.

Good Book About HRG Cars

One thing that I did not realize until last week that Peter Davis is now the current owner of the HRG car shown in the image below that is printed in Ian Dussek’s HRG book.  During the 1948 Alpine Rally this HRG was driven by Rod Ross with Ted Farley as the navigator.

The Ross/Farley HRD 1100 Gets Some Oil During The 1948 Alpine Rally

There was quite a number of HRG cars entered in the 1948 Alpine Rally in addition to the Ross/Farley HRG 1100 shown above.  Below Robin Richards/John Beaumont are shown checking into a rally control in another HRG 1100.

Richards/Beaumont In A HRG 1100 Check Into A Control During The 1948 Alpine Rally

HRG cars were for the most part built to be rallied or raced. And they were reasonably successful at both.  I don’t think that are many HRG cars in the United States.  There is (or was) at least one HRG car in the Boston area which I photographed at the Lime Rock Historic Festival in 2014.  This car is shown below.  If you look carefully it is a right hand drive car indicating its British manufacture.  I think that all of the HRG cars were made for the domestic British market, but some did make it to the United States.

A HRG At The Lime Rock Historic Festival

The HRG book that I got was published in 1985.  I understand that a second edition of this book was published in 2010.  My 1985 edition is 176 pages long, while the 2010 second edition is apparently 432 pages long.  Obviously lots has happened in the intervening 25 years.  I generally like older books about old cars because they were written more closely to the era that the cars were in active use.  However in this case as the author of the new book is the same as the old book the second edition is probably better.  I found that the first edition book is much less expensive than the second edition.  I just got this book and therefore I have not had the opportunity to read it, but just looking through it, I’m sure that it is a good book.

For more information about HRG cars see my post on this website posted on december 3, 2015.

If you have any comments or questions about this post or HRG cars, then leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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1954 Triumph TR2 At The 2017 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique

One of the more interesting cars that I saw at the 2017 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique was an Italian entry of a 1954 Triumph TR2.  In fact this was this not only an interesting car, this car was also very successful, winning the Category 1 prize for cars built before December 31, 1961 and also winning the Category 1 Class 2 award for cars with engines less than 2,000cc.  The crew was driver Paolo Marcattilj with navigator Francesco Giammarino.

1954 Triumph TR2

The Triumph TR2 cars were possibly the most competitive of any of the Triumph TR range against cars of their era.  These cars were competitive in both rallying and racing right from the start.  In many ways the success of the Triumph TR cars can be said to be a result of the rally and racing success of the TR2 cars.

The TR2’s Hardtop And Side Curtains Suited The Cold Weather

As a rally navigator I noticed “Blunik” decal on the side of the hardtop.  This car, as well as many of the top cars used this Spanish rally computer, which I have shown below.  These very capable rally computers can also be had with a driver’s display.  These rally computers provide the timing error of the car in either seconds plus/minus the perfect time or in plus/minus distance traveled in meters on the road.  A Blunik II rally computer is shown below.

A Blunik II Rally Computer

Another interesting aspect to this car was the tires that were fitted to the car.  See the photo of the  tire below.  These tires have a configuration that I have not seen on the road before here in North America.  Perhaps they are available it’s just that I have not seen them before.  The outside of the tire is completely different from the inside portion of the tire.  Note that studs have only been added to the inside of the tire.

Note The Configuration Of the Tires

The brand name on the tire is Sisteron, perhaps named after the French town of the same name that we passed through during the rally.

The Tire Brand Name Is Sisteron

This was a very good Triumph TR2 and it did well in the rally.  Congratulations to the crew!  It was good to see a Triumph TR2 as I don’t see many Triumph TR2 cars in North America as compared to the later TR3 cars.  Too bad.

If you have any comments or questions about the any of the issues mentioned in this post either leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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