I love the books about the 1950s rallies. Therefore I am pleased to have acquired a book titled “No Excuses”, an autobiography about the 1950s English rally driver Sheila Van Damm. Van Damm was a competitive driver, frequently part of a works rally team, and usually challenged for the Coupe des Dames or Ladies Trophy that was commonly given to the top finishing ladies team at the major rallies of the day.
Autobiography Of English Rally Driver Sheila Van Damm
Much of Van Damm’s competitive rallying was done as part of the Rootes works rally team. Some of the Rootes rally team are shown on the image below. That’s Stirling Moss sitting on the hood of the Sunbeam Alpine at the 1953 Monte Carlo Rally. Another Rootes driver during this period was the American, John Fitch.
Sheila Van Damm Standing On The Right At The 1953 Monte Carlo Rally
Some of the rally roads used those days were quite spectacular. Perhaps one of the most famous was the Stelvio Pass as shown below from an image in the Sheila Van Damm book..
Stelvio Pass During The 1953 Alpine Rally
The major rallies of the 1950s, such as the Monte Carlo Rally and the Alpine Rally, were considerably different from the World Rally Championship events held today, but the rally cars were not nearly as good or as powerful as the street cars are today and today’s roads are much better as well. Look at the condition of the Gavia Pass shown below!
Gavia Pass – “A Goat-Track Cut In The Side Of The Mountains”
This should be a good book and I look forward to reading “No Excuses” over the holidays.