I recently have been thinking more about rallying in the 1960s and 1970s. To this end, another book on this topic that I have acquired and read is “Rally” written by John Davenport and published by the Hamlyn Publishing Group Limited in 1976. John Davenport was a professional co-driver from the mid-1960s until 1975. He sat with drivers such as Ove Andersson, Timo Makinen, Hannu Mikkola, Vic Elford, Simo Lampinen, and Achim Warmbold with the Ford, Lancia, BMW, and Peugeot teams. The book was a little different from I expected as the book is very wide-ranging with almost no reference to his own results during the period that he was active in big-time rallying.
John Davenport’s Rally Book Is Very Informative
Davenport begins at the beginning of car rallying in the early 1900s, but he moves quite quickly to 1960 when rallying began its rapid change to becoming a professional sport, at least at the highest levels. It was in that late 1950s and early 1960s when Erik Carlsson became a world known star driving Saab rally cars and Stuart Turner transformed the BMC team with professional drivers that were needed to beat Carlsson.
The Team of Aaltonen/Ambrose On Their Way To Victory In The 1964 Liege-Sofia-Liege Rally In A “Big Healey”
Davenport discusses the background of the decline of the major classic rallies in Europe of that era – The Alpine Rally, the Liege-Sofia-Liege, and to some extent the Monte Carlo Rally. Davenport noted that the 1964 Liege-Sofia-Liege rally was the last of the great European classic rallies where the competition was at the highest level. The photo above from Davenport’s book shows Rauno Aaltonen driving an Austin Healey to a close win over Eugen Bohringer’s Mercedes-Benz in the 1964 Liege-Sofia-Liege rally.
At the same time, he traces the rising of the East African Safari Rally as the successor of the European classic rallies that was occurring at that time. I found the following photo of a 1964 Mercury Comet Caliente in the book to be very interesting. The 1964 Mercury Comet Caliente is one of my favorite cars since I first saw Morley Brown’s 1964 Caliente in Shelburne, Ontario many years ago. Unfortunately, a subsequent owner, Pete MacGregor, rolled that car on Wasaga Beach, back in the days when you could actually drive the cars along the beach. Until I read John Davenport’s book, I did not know that these cars had any rally history at all. Certainly the Ford Falcon’s rally history is reasonably well-known, but this Comet was a surprise to me.
Two Mercury Comet Calientes Finished And Were Class Winners in the 1964 East African Safari Rally
The book has numerous photos in it which anyone interested in rallying will find interesting. Davenport’s book is divided into chapters by topic, rather than a chronological order, which at times means that it seems at times that some stories are repeated, but they all have different viewpoint or perspective.
Roger Clark Driving A Ford Escort Mk. II
This is a good book about rallying and I was glad to be able to add it to my library.