This past week Rick Beattie, a very experienced and capable American rally navigator sent me an image that was published in Car & Driver magazine in November 1962. This was an article discussing the dash of a Saab that was campaigned by the rally team of Roger Bohl and Allan Kalb in time-speed-distance rallies in that era. The setup shown below was as the team had used in a recently completed running of the 500 mile long Berkshire Mountain rally where they had a score of 18 seconds over this distance which had 20 checkpoints.
Rally Dash From 50 Years Ago
The following is an identification of the equipment that they used:
- Digital time-of-day clock
- Driver’s odometer
- Wakmann chronograph
- Avion adjustable odometer
- Dual electric odometers
- Two band radio to pick up CHU and WWV time signals
- Controls for digital odometers
- Speed reducer
- Thomas Mark X rally computer
- Switches to operate many devices and lights
- Cable driving the Thomas rally computer
- Cable driving the two Avion electric odometers
- Electrified clipboard with two lights
- Curta calculator
- Helphos spot light
With all of this equipment, it seems that it would be very difficult for the navigator to operate them and still provide route instructions to the driver. This dash is a clear demonstration of the development of time-speed-distance rallies in the USA where the emphasis has been on precision timing.
This photo makes me think how lucky USA time-speed-distance navigators are these days when we have many of these functions combined into one piece of equipment. Another thanks to Rick Beattie for sending me the image of this rally dash. I am always interested in information about rally navigation equipment used in the past, so please forward to me any interesting rally navigation information that you might have.