New Book About Long Time Rally Co-Driver/Navigator Willy Cave

I have just received a copy of a very interesting book about one of England’s most well-known co-driver/navigator – Willy Cave.  This book, “Putting Willy Cave On The Map”, has just been written by Pablo Raybould. I am really enjoying reading this book.  It must be understood that Willy Cave started rallying in 1950 and is still actively competing in car rallies. This year he competed in the 2018 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique at the age of 91.  So when you read a book about Willy Cave and contributed to by Willy, then the story goes a long way back.

Pablo Raybould’s New Book About Willy Cave

In the cover of Pablo’s book above, the lower photo shows Willy Cave, on the left, Marcus Chambers the BMC Competitions Manager in the center, and John Sprinzel rally driver on the right preparing for the Monte Carlo Rally in 1958.

The upper photo on the cover shows two Sprites (John Sprinzel’s Sprite is on the right)  at the 1959 Monte Carlo Rally in which Willy competed with John Sprinzel.

The book is full of images and information that I, as a rally navigator with an interest in the classic rallies, find interesting and not often found in rally books.  An example is the stylized map below that shows the general route of the Alpine Rally in 1961.

 

1961 Alpine Rally Route

The 1961 Alpine Rally totaled 3,035 kilometers and only two stages – Marseille to Chamonix and Chamonix to Cannes with a total of 10 tests along the way.

As you would expect, there are plenty of black & white photos as well as color photos in the book.  The photo below shows the Rover P5 Coupe that John Sprinzel and Willy Cave competed in, but had to retire from due to brake failure.

Parc Ferme At The Start Of The 1963 Liege-Sofia-Liege Rally

Pablo Raybould also included copies of letters sent by the various works teams to their rally teams in preparation for the major rallies.  An example is shown below.

Standard Triumph Rally Team Instructions For the 1957 Tulip Rally

Other uncommon information included in this book are copies of time cards from several rallies.  Below is a copy of a time card from the 1963 Alpine Rally.  In that rally Willy Cave  again was the co-driver for John Sprinzel, but this time in a 997cc Mini Cooper.

Time Card From The 1963 Alpine Rally

Also included in the book are even copies of some notes that Willy made to himself that he stuck on the dash of the car to help him with the navigation.  Below are some notes that he made on a Ferodo Brake Linings note pad.  Things like that provide insight to the necessary preparation for major rallies at that time.

Some of Willy Cave’s Route Notes From The 1959 Alpine Rally

As you can see there is a lot of interesting information in this book about Willy Cave.  I highly recommend it. I am pleased that my copy has been autographed Willy Cave.  I met Willy briefly when I was competing in the 2016 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique.  He looked impressive with his Monte Carlo competition lapel badge with well over 20 bars.

If you want to get a copy of this book, then contact Pablo Raybould via the following email address: pabloraybould@blueyonder.co.uk

If you have any comments or questions about this post or this book, 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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Great American Mountain Rally Revival Route Finalized

The route of the Great American Mountain Rally Revival has been finalized.  The rally is made of transits between self-start timed sections.  While there are times required to complete the entire day, it is not necessary to be on time, all the time, therefore drivers can enjoy the mountain roads and the colorful autumn leaves that New England is famous for in the fall without the constant timing stress except for the timed sections.

Great American Mountain Rally Revival Route

If you want to take part in the Great American Mountain Rally Revival or have any questions then please call the Rallymaster: Gary Hamilton: 978-500-8039 or E-mail questions to: GAMRR2018@gmail.com (preferred).  I will be the Rally Chairman.  I look forward to seeing you all there.  I will have more information about this rally in the following days.

To enter the Great American Mountain Rally Revival, then you can use the following link to the Motorsport Registration page:

http://msreg.com/GAMRR18

General Instructions will soon be posted on the New England Region website: www.ner.org

If you have any questions about 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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2018 Trans America Challenge Shortlisted For An Historic Motoring Award

I was pleased to see that the 2018 Trans America Challenge has been shortlisted for the Historic Motoring Award in the Rally Category.  Now in its eighth year, the Historic Motoring Awards, in association with EFG Private Banking are the most prestigious in the industry, recognizing the elite in the international classic automotive world.

The winners will be announced on 25th October 2018 at the Sheraton Grand London Park Lane Hotel.  This distinguished gala night will see awards presented in a broad selection of categories, selected by the experts from Octane magazine and an international panel of judges. The evening will be hosted by broadcaster and Formula 1 pundit Steve Rider, with Awards being presented to winners in front of a room of eminent guests.

Octane magazine is a British premium automotive magazine that focuses on classic cars.

The shortlist for the Rally Category for 2018 has been selected and is as follows:

  • Bernina Gran Turismo
  • Trans America Challenge
  • The 1000 Mile Trial
  • Friendship Rally
  • Stella Alpina Rally

I am proud that I was part of the team that worked to put the Trans America Challenge rally on this summer.

2018 Trans America Challenge Rally Is Up For An Historic Motoring Award

If you have any comments or questions about 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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Witton/Chevy Special

Just the other day I got an email message from Brian Harper.  Brian is a Canadian freelance auto writer for the Postmedia News Network.  I met Brian while we were competing against each other at Targa Newfoundland in 2003 and we have kept in touch over the years because of our common interest in cars.  He was recently at the Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races and came upon the Witton/Chevy Special – a unique Canadian car.  The pictures and the story below came from Brian Harper.

The Witton/Chevy Special

Brian wrote: There had to be a car among the hundreds from other countries represented — including Israel in the form of the Sabra sports car — that was uniquely Canadian. I found one 10 minutes later, the flag on a very sleek, very red, front-engine race car with a huge power dome atop the hood, three serious-looking air intakes and large exhaust headers gracing the sides. Its history on a board next to it described the roadster as a 1959 Witton/Chevy Special. Perfect!

Witton’s English Background Likely Resulted The Right Hand Drive Layout

The Special, as I read down the board, was the handiwork of one Leonard Fredrick Hugh Witton, an Englishman living in Montreal. Apparently, Witton was quite the renaissance man; not only was he a builder of race cars (about 10 Specials in all), he was also a mock-up engineer for Boeing and a world-class clock maker. While most of his Specials were small-engine racers, the Witton/Chevy was Chevrolet V8-powered, his most ambitious project.“Working in the basement of his house,” read the biography, “much racing technology from the ‘old school’ went into the project.” This included using chicken wire and plaster to form the body and chalk lines on the floor for chassis design. Lacking the resources to properly test and sort out his cars, “the streets of Montreal were often echoing with the roar of his race cars, which also gave him notoriety.”

The Chevrolet Corvette 283 Cubic Inch Engine With The Three Carbs

Unfortunately, the Witton/Chevy Special was not particularly successful, being down on power — its 283-cubic-inch Corvette V8 with three two-barrel carburetors put out about 300 horsepower — in comparison with its rivals, as well as suffering mechanical issues. Driver George Pepper of Ottawa did win several amateur events between 1963 and 1965, but sold the car the following year for $1,800.

The Witton/Chevy Had A Front Engine, Rear Wheel Drive, Two Seat Layout

After being driven on the street for a few years, the car disappeared for more than three decades, until 1999 when Jim Collins of Vermont, while checking out old cars in a garage just south of Montreal, found the deteriorated Witton and bought it. After several years of restoration and a few races, the car was sold in  2004 to Wes Abendroth of Carson City, Nevada, the current owner.

I found Brian’s story very interesting and he gave me permission to post it on this website.  In the above photo I was interested in what the apparent writing on the dash said.  So I enlarged the photo as shown below.  Look at it carefully!

Interesting Toggle Switch In The Center Of The Dash!

The writing on the dash says: “Job well done”, with a signature and possible date below that.  Then I noticed the label on the toggle switch in the center of the car.  Obviously somebody has a sense of humor.  It also appears that the speedometer was added to the car at sometime for road registration purposes as both odometers in the speedometer register zero miles, suggesting that the speedometer has never been functioning.

Many thanks to Brian Harper for sending this story to me!  If you have any comments or questions about 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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2018 Alpine Trial Winner To Compete In The Great American Mountain Rally Revival!

I am pleased that Jim Gately who won last weekend’s Alpine Trial rally in the French Alps will be competing in the upcoming Great American Mountain Rally Revival.  The Great American Mountain Rally Revival will be held on October 12 – 14, 2018 starting in the Brewster, NY area and ending in Bennington, Vermont.

Jim Gately On His Way To Winning The 2018 Alpine Trial Rally

Jim has a 1937 LaSalle convertible in which he has rallied extensively in Europe and North America.  For the Alpine Trial rally, Jim’s navigator was Tony Brooks, but for the Great American Mountain Rally Revival Jim’s navigator will be Fred Gallagher.  Fred had an enviable record as a World Rally Championship co-driver.  Fred has been a co-driver with John Haugland, Tony Pond in a TR7, Henri Toivonen, Juha Kankkunen, Bjorn Waldegard, Ari Vatanen, Thomas Radstrom, Petter Solberg, and others.  Fred has been involved in rallies all over the world.  Competitors in the Great American Mountain Rally Revival will have to opportunity to meet, talk to, and learn from these very experienced rally people.

If you want to take part in the Great American Mountain Rally Revival or have any questions then please call the Rallymaster: Gary Hamilton: 978-500-8039 or E-mail questions to: GAMRR2018@gmail.com (preferred).  I will be the Rally Chairman.  I look forward to seeing you all there.  I will have more information about this rally in the following days.

To enter the Great American Mountain Rally Revival, then you can use the following link to the Motorsport Registration page:

http://msreg.com/GAMRR18

General Instructions will be posted on the New England Region website: www.ner.org

If you have any questions about 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 Philson Falcon

When I was at the recent Lime Rock Historic Festival, Bob Melhado, who was the Chief Steward, said to me: “Let’s take a look at a Philson Falcon.”  I agreed as I had never heard of Philson Falcon.  Bob said that this car has had a long racing career and looks the part.

The Philson Falcon

The car was much different from what I expected.  I was expecting something that looked like a or that was based on a Ford Falcon car, but the Philson Falcon is a unique car, unlike any Ford Falcon ever built.  It was custom-built by machinist and USAC technical inspector Norbert Philson in the 1957 – 1959 time frame.

The Philson Falcon Was Built Using A Tube Frame And Homemade Aluminum Body Panels

The Philson Falcon has a tubular ladder frame of Philson’s own design, the front suspension from a TR3, and the rear suspension from a MG.  The result is a 1,500 pound car with a 88-inch wheelbase, a 139-inch overall length, and a height of 29 inches.

I Found It Curious That The USA-Built Car Had Right-Hand Drive

The Philson Falcon is powered by a considerably reworked Ford Falcon six-cylinder engine fed by three SU carburetors.  As the car was built in the 1957 – 1959 period and the Ford Falcon was not introduced until 1960, I understand that this was a pre-production engine from Ford.  The standard Ford Falcon engine was a 144 cubic inch (2,365cc) 90 horsepower vertically mounted six-cylinder engine, but for the Philson Falcon the engine was installed at an inclination of 30 degrees from vertical in order to reduce the overall height of the car.  The car is fitted with a 4-speed transmission.

The Philson Falcon Is Raced On A Regular Basis

If you look closely you can see that the body panels are not particularly smooth.  They seem to tell the story of races past, but this car was built to be a racer.  I also found myself wondering what would have happened if Ford had taken the concept of the Philson Falcon and made a small two-seat sports car with this tuned engine to take on the British sports cars of that era?

If you have any comments or questions about 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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Some Photos From The 2018 Lime Rock Historic Festival

Once again I was lucky enough to be the guest of Bob Melhado, the Chief Steward at the Lime Rock Historic Festival.  This festival is held every Labor Day weekend at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut.  It really is a special weekend.  As no racing is allowed on Sunday at Lime Rock, Sunday has a great car show all around the race track.  I can’t recommend it enough.  I have included some of the pictures of the cars that I saw today.  It was spectacular!

A Bug-Eye Sprite

The featured marque this year was Bugatti.  There were dozens of Bugatti.  Possibly this was the largest gathering of Bugatti cars ever on the east coast of the USA.

A 1930 Bugatti Type 44

Ralph Lauren’s Bugatti

Another Beautiful Bugatti

One of My Favorite Cars – A Maserati 300S

1951 Ferrari 195

1954 Siata 200CS Coupe

1965 Alpine A110

Lancia Stratos

Another Fast Lancia

1954 Nash Healey

A Late 1930s Alfa Romeo Grand Prix Racer

One of the Legendary Fabulous Hudson Hornets

A Lovely Riley

The Last Of The LaSalles – A 1940 Convertible

A 1930s Aston Martin

This is just a small sample of the cars that were at Lime Rock today.  Mark you calendars now for next Labor Day weekend.

If you have any questions or comments about 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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