Great American Mountain Rally – A Major American Rally Of The 1950s

A few months ago I asked for any information that was available on the Great American Mountain Rallye that was held four times from 1953 to 1956.  I want to thank those would sent me some information and others who were kind enough to talk to me and send me message with very helpful information.

I’m sure that there is much information and memorabilia out there and I would appreciate anyone who can pass along such information, so I can correct or add to the information provided in this post.  I decided to put together this post based on the information that I have.  I could have continued to look for additional information and expand the post, but I had got hold most of the easily available information and I was not planning on writing a book about the rally.  I thought that it would be best to post what I was able to find out about the rally.  Perhaps this post will jog someone’s memory about a source for additional information.

Throughout the post below I realize that I have used is spelling “rallye” and “rally”which reflects the variable spelling used by the organizers and throughout the reporting of that era.  As a result, I decided not be concerned about uniformity of spelling.

The Great American Mountain Rallye

The Great American Mountain Rally was first held in 1953.  This was an American attempt to emulate the major rallies in Europe of that time – the Alpine Rally, the Tulip Rallye, and the Leige-Rome-Liege rally.  The Motor Sports Club of America was the group that organized this rally.  The Motor Sports Club of America was a New York rally group that also organized another major rally of this era in the USA – the Continental Divide.  The Great American Mountain Rally was the first rally sanctioned by the FIA in the Americas.  As a result, this rally caught the attention of some major automotive manufacturers.

The 1953 Great American Mountain Rally was a 1,100 mile long rally that was held over the Thanksgiving weekend from November 25 – 29.  The rally began in New York City, went north to the Canadian border, and then returned south to finish in Poughkeepsie, New York.  Along the way, there were two nightly stopovers.  Winning this rally would be quite an honor plus first prize for this rally was a free trip to Europe with an entry into the legendary 1954 Alpine Rally.

In 1953, because of the high profile of this event, the Rootes Group entered a three-car team in the Great American Mountain Rally.  Two of the three cars were Sunbeam Alpines – one for well-known English international rally driver Sheila Van Damm with another Englishman, Ron Kessel, as her navigator.  The other Sunbeam Alpine was to be driven by Sherwood Johnson, who was a successful American race car driver.  Sherwood Johnson was a very capable driver.  For example, earlier that year Sherwood Johnson had finished 3rd in the Twelve Hours of Sebring in a Jaguar Type C and he had won the Mount Washington Hill Climb.  The third car, a Sunbeam Talbot 90 Saloon, was driven by Ian Garrad, who was the son of Norman Garrad, founder and manager of the Rootes’ Competition Department.  Ian Garrad also worked for the Rootes Group where he had an executive position with the Rootes Group in Canada.  In later years, Ian Garrad became the West Coast Sales Manager for the Rootes Group where he became instrumental in the design and eventual production of the Sunbeam Tiger.

Sunbeam Alpine Sheila Van Damm

Sheila Van Damm And A Sunbeam Alpine

 The above photo shows Ms Van Damm with one of the special Sunbeam Alpines with the high performance engine.  I note that this Sunbeam Alpine has left-hand drive.  One of the visual clues for the high performance Sunbeam Alpines is the presence of the hood or bonnet strap.  With very few exceptions, Frank Jenkins’ black Sunbeam Alpine being one of them, all of the Sunbeam Alpines with the high performance engines were painted a light blue color called “Alpine Mist”.

During the scrutinising for the 1953 Great American Mountain Rally, which took place the day before the start of the rally, each competitor had to declare their speedometer’s percentage error.  Apparently this was required because penalty points were assigned for differences between the competitor’s odometer readings at the end of the rally and the rally’s official mileage.  The Sunbeam team rally cars drove up and down the Jersey Turnpike using the mileposts to accurately determine their cars’ odometer error.  In Sheila Van Damm’s book, “No Excuses”, she said that all three cars in the Sunbeam team declared their exact error.  However they eventually learned that the smart thing to do was to declare a speedometer error greater than the actual error and manage the odometer readings.

During the running of the rally, specific time control locations were not provided, as with the European rallies, but incremental distances between control points were provided to the competitors. Penalties were assigned at 4 points per minute early or late arriving at a control.  Competitors not allowed to stop within sight of a control.  Most of the competitors ran a little ahead of the required average speed but as the competitors got close to a control, based on the mileages, they had to be careful not to be seen if they were running a little ahead of the required time.

Some problems began to emerge due to the official mileage provided to the competitors.  Apparently when the course was laid out, the course was measured six times by six different cars and the final official mileage was based on the average of these six runs.  As odometer calibration did not seem to be part of the official rally route, it is possible that none of the course layout car’s distances were based on a calibrated official distance.

The navigators had to work particularly hard during the Great American Mountain Rally. As the exact location of the controls was unknown and the rule that said cars would be penalized if they stopped and waited within sight of a control, Ron Kessel navigating for Sheila Van Damm, would get out of the car and peak around corners to see if there was a control. If there was no control then they would move on to the next hill or corner to see what was ahead.  Timing was very strict.

As noted previously, competitors were also penalized when there were discrepancies between the official mileage and their car’s odometer mileage for each day. This matter was further complicated by problems with the official mileage.  What took place was that some competitors who thoroughly understood the rules, stopped their cars on the side of the road near the end of each day, then jacked the rear wheels of the car off the ground and put miles on the car to make their odometers agree with the official mileage (plus their previously declared error).  Other drivers disconnected their odometers if necessary to make the odometer reading agree with the official mileage (plus their previously declared error).  This was a foolish rule and this regulation was eventually cancelled later in the rally causing an extensive change in the rally scoring order.

In addition to the issues involving mileage, the Sunbeam team claimed there might have been some problems with the clocks in the 1953 Great American Mountain Rally due to the mechanical clocks being affected by changes in temperatures.

In general for the 1953 event the weather was quite good.  Many of the competitors had expected snow, but it never came, except for some sheet ice and snow at Lincoln Gap which required the use of tire chains.

The rally was won by two Americans, Stewart Blodgett and J. Bough in an old MG.  W. Deuess finished 2nd in a Jaguar.  For the Sunbeam team Sherwood Johnston finished 7th Overall and first in the 3 litre Sports Car class.  Ian Garrad finished 13th Overall and 2nd in the touring category.  Sheila Van Damm finished 18th Overall and 2nd in the 3 litre sports car class.   Note that the two Alpines were in the Sports Car class while Garrad in the Sunbeam Talbot saloon was in the Touring class.  As a result of the finishes by the Sunbeams, the Sunbeam team was awarded the manufacturers award. Additionally, there was another Sunbeam Talbot 90 Saloon driven by Krag & William Giltzow which finished 8th Overall and 1st in the Touring category.

1954 Great American Mountain Rally

After the 1953 event Sheila Van Damm wrote a scathing article in Autosport about the problems with the 1953 Great American Mountain Rally.  Also two members of the organizer, the Motor Sports Club of America, George Freund (Clerk of the Course) and Lew Scott (Secretary) were sent copies of the regulations for the larger European rallies to use as a helper for modifying the regulations for future runnings of the Great America Mountain Rally.

The Rootes Group again entered three cars in the 1954 Great American Mountain Rally.  Sheila Van Damm was to paired with her frequent rally navigator from England, Ann Wisdom.  This time Stirling Moss entered the rally with Ron Kessel as his navigator.  Ron Kessel had navigated for Sheila Van Damm in the 1953 running of this rally.  The third car was made up of the American team of Krag and Giltzow back again from their success in 1953 in this rally.

Buick and Porsche From 1954

Motorsport Magazine Bill Callahan’s Buick Contrasts The Porsche (16)

 The 1954 event maintained a version of matching the Official mileage on each competitor’s odometer, but this year the organizers had provided a 2% allowance, plus/minus, on the competitors’ odometer reading taking into account the declared odometer error.  This would have been achievable if the competitors stayed on course.  Each day the rally distance was about 350 miles, so the competitors were effectively allowed an +/- error of about 7 miles.  But realize that if you drove off course, then you also have to drive back to the course, so if you were off course you would need to recognize that fact quickly to remain within your distance allowance.

The following is a copy of the first page of the route instructions from the 1954 Great American Mountain Rallye.  This provides an idea of the style of instructions provided to the competitors.

GAMR Route Description

Page One Of The Route Instructions For The 1954 Great American Mountain Rally (12)

 You can see from these instructions, that most navigators would want to have good maps to refer to as the car follows the route instructions.

1954 GAMR Kaiser Darrin

I Wonder How Many Kaiser-Darrins Were Ever Rallied?  This Might Be It(16)

For 1954 all of the controls were secret controls.  At the start of each day the competitors were given a timing sheet with the average speed that was required to be maintained between controls.  Therefore the competitors had to be on time, all of the time.  This kept the navigators quite busy during the rally.

1954 GAMR Sunbeam Alpine Sheila Van Damm Sheila Van Damm’s Sunbeam Alpine With Body Damage In Front Of The Rear Wheel Opening Due To A Loose Rear Wheel Chain (16)

 There is a story that this year there was a lot of snow on the road over the Lincoln Gap.  Stirling Moss was not able to get his car up the hill.  There were a number of cars at the bottom of the hill waiting to get up the hill.  Moss was saying that the road was impassable and wanted everyone to agree with him so the organizers would disregard the scores from that leg.  Leo Rizzo pointed out that there was a set of tracks going up the hill that must have been left by the course opening car, so would have worked against such a claim that the road was impassable.  Suddenly panic ensued as teams retreated to their cars to try to get up the hill.  Not everyone made it over the hill, but many did.

1954 GAMR Poughkeepsie Trials

A Jaguar XK120 Starts On A Test At The IBM Plant In Poughkeepsie, NY (16)

Despite the Sunbeam Alpines and the Jaguars, I found it surprising that the 1954 Great American Mountain Rally would be won by a team in an Oldsmobile.  Apparently it was the Oldsmobile’s performance at the trials at the end of the rally that was the main reason for the win.  I suppose having the legendary Oldsmobile Rocket 88 V8 engine helped considerably.

1954 GAMR Winning Oldsmobile

The Rally-Winning 1954 Oldsmobile Convertible (16)

 The Overall winners were Bill Grauds with Art Mulligan as the navigator in the 1954 Oldsmobile.  Second place was William Buick with Emil Buick navigating in an Austin Healey 100.  Third place went to the Canadian team of George William Scully with Neil Bryson in a Jaguar XK120.

1955 Great American Mountain Rally

In 1955 the format of the event changed significantly.  In fact it was now referred to as the Great American Mountain Rallye Endurance Run.  The rally became a two-stage event lasting 7 days.  The first three days made up an optional Stage One where all of the cars met up at Baltimore, Maryland after a drive of about 1,000 miles from various starting locations.  From Baltimore, there was a regularity run northerly to New York City.  Stage Two started on Thanksgiving Day with the route going from New York City to Lake Placid.  The following day, there was a 22-hour route through Vermont and New Hampshire, with an end point again at Poughkeepsie, New York.

1955 GAMR Route Map

Route Schematic Of The 1955 Great American Mountain Rally (10)

 The overall winners were determined based on results on elimination trials held in Poughkeepsie, New York.  Those eligible were the top 10 teams from Stage One and the top scoring teams from Stage Two.  However only the top 10 teams from Stage Two were eligible to be the overall winner.

In order to finally put the timing issues to bed on the Great American Mountain Rally, the organizers placed Ross Merritt in the position of Chief Timer and Scorer.  Apparently he placed excellent people at the controls and ensured that they had good time pieces that were updated by frequent checking with the timing signals by radio.

In anticipation of snow, teams were required to have a set of chains.  This would help prevent having stuck cars block narrow roads.

Jaguar Puts On Chains A Jaguar Team Adds Chains To Their Tires (10)

 As with the previous Great American Mountain Rally there were the tests or trials held at Poughkeepsie, NY.  The example below shows an Austin Healey being measured for distance away at a test stop location.

Measuring At Test 1955

Measuring The Stopping Distance From The End Of The Driving Test (10)

 The Overall winners in 1955 were Donald Kripen and Charles Rickert of Indianapolis driving a Porsche Speedster.

Overall Winners Of Stage 1 Including Elimination Trials

Overall                        Car                                          Driver/Navigator                                 Points

  1. ’55 Jaguar XK140MC                                    Gingras/C. Bernard                                    183
  2. ’55 Porsche Speedster                                   Kriplen/C. Rickert                                      186
  3. ’54 Triumph TR-2                                         J & Cynthia Robinson                                 318
  4. ’54 Porsche                                                     H & Martha Schweighofer                         364
  5. ’54 Austin-Healey                                         Sheehan & R. Pitbladdo                             413
  6. ’56 Ford Zephyr                                            Bathurst & W. Caddington                        440
  7. ’55 Morgan                                                     Oulton & E. Kirtz, Jr.                                  521
  8. ’55 Hillman Husky                                        Yount & R. Scott                                          534
  9. ’56 MG Magnette                                           Ryan & R. Turner                                       745
  10. ’55 Porsche                                                      Ford & A. Baron                                         749

Overall Winners of Stage 2 Including Elimination Trials

Overall                        Car                                          Driver/Navigator                                 Points

  1. ’55 Porsche Speedster                                       Kriplen/C. Rickert                                  257
  2. ’54 Triumph TR-2                                              Blodgett/J. Bough                                  259
  3. ’55 Austin-Healey                                              William & E. Buick                                 272
  4. ’55 Volkswagen                                                   Wallbridge & Inge Bailey                     295
  5. ’51 MG TD                                                           Baldwin/J. Harrison                              329
  6. ’56 MG Magnette                                               Ryan/R. Turner                                      351
  7. ’55 Jaguar XK140MC                                        Gingras/C. Bernard                               352
  8. ’53 Jaguar XK120                                               Fogg III/P. Bullard                               361
  9. ’54 Austin-Healey                                              Kinne/F.Neyland                                   368
  10. ’55 Porsche Speedster                                       Schellenberg/R. Dewees, Jr.               379

Up To 1500cc Touring Award

  1. Walbridge & Inge Bailey – ’55 Volkswagen
  2. John Ryan/Richard Turner – ’56 MG Magnette

1500 to 3000cc Touring Award

  1. Robert Bathurst/Willard Caddington – ’56 Ford Zephyr
  2. Fidia Guastini/Virgil DiMassino – ’52 Sunbeam Talbot

Over 3000cc Touring Award

  1. Harold & Catherine Thomas – ’50 Nash Ambassador
  2. Philip Halzell/Paul Miller – ’55 Buick Century

Up to 1500cc Sports Award

  1. Donald Kriplen/Charles Rickert – ’55 Porsche Speedster
  2. William Baldwin/John Harrison – ’51 MG TD

1500 to 3000cc Sports Award

  1. Steward Blodgett/John Bough – ’54 Triumph TR-2
  2. William & Emil Buick – ’55 Austin-Healey

Over 3000cc Sports Award

  1. Roland Gingras/Clement Bernard – ’55 Jaguar XK140MC
  2. George Fogg III/Peter Bullard – ’53 Jaguar XK120

Dead Last But Finished

  • Edward & Robert Spreen – Ford Anglia

Shell Oil Sportsmanship Award

  • Martha Schweighofer

Rene Dreyfus Award (furthest distance by car to compete)

  • John Ryan/Richard Rurner

Club Teams

  1. VW Auto Club of U.S.
  2. Woodstock Motor Club
  3. Eastern PA Sports Car Club

Factory Teams

  1. Austin-Healey
  2. Rootes Motors (Hillman Huskies)
  3. Ford of England (1 Zephyr and 2 Anglias)

Production Touring Team

  • Rootes Motors (Hillman Huskies)

Ladies Team Award

  • Elizabeth Menino/Virginia Tardif

American Production Award

  1. Philip Halzell/Paul Miller – ’55 Buick Century
  2. Melville Collins Sr. & Jr. – ’51 Ford Crestliner

American Modified Award

  • Harold & Catherine Thomas – ’50 Nash Ambassador

 

1956 Great American Mountain Rally

In 1956 the Great American Mountain Rally continued to get the attention of factory teams.  Saab entered three cars including one driven by Swedish rally champion Rolf Mellde with an American navigator, Morrow Mushkin.  The other two had American crews with Bob Wehman/Louis Braun and Gerald/Doris Lankowitz in the cars.

In other ways the 1956 Great Mountain Rally had an international flavor.  The honorary starter was none other than Formula 1 World Champion Juan Manuel Fangio.  Also present was famed French racing driver, Rene Dreyfus.

Triumph sent European rally specialist Maurice Gastonides in one of their cars.  Triumph also paired Gastonides up with Stewart Blodgett as his navigator, who won the first Great American Mountain Rally as a driver in 1953 and was runner-up in 1955.

The rally route headed north into New England.  The route went through Maine, New Hampshire, and into Vermont.  Many of the roads were narrow and the required average speeds were quite brisk.  Rolf Mellde, who had rallied all over Europe said that in a leg coming into St. Johnsbury, Vermont, that he had never driven harder.

The picture below is perhaps why some people call navigators “ballast”.  Actually it was quite common in the 1950s to have navigators ride up snow-covered steep hills while standing on the back bumper of the typical rear wheel drive cars.  I’ve even seen cars fitted with special handles fitted onto the trunk lids for the navigators to hang onto when they were called upon to put some weight over the rear drive wheels.

 Gatso With Blogett in Trunk

 Gatsonides Driving A TR3 Up A Steep Hill With Blodgett In The Trunk (15)

The Saab factory sent over Rolf Mellde, a very experienced rally driver from Sweden, to drive one of their cars.  Mellde had competed in the Monte Carlo Rally in the past.

Saab Rally Team Drivers

Saab’s Rally Drivers, Greta Molander & Rolf Mellde, At The Start Of The 1950 Monte Carlo Rally (13)

The unexpected victory of the Saab 93 in the 1956 Great American Mountain Rally was a very important occasion for Saab.  It made a commercial impact in America that even the rather tight-fisted Saab management could not ignore.  From that point forward, Saab took the preparation of rally cars seriously and increased their staff devoted to rally cars from two people to five.  This victory in the Great American Mountain Rally really set the stage for Saab rally success worldwide in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

gamr1 Rev 1

The 1956 Great American Mountain Rally Winning Saab Team Of Bob Wehman and Louis Braun (14)

The final results of the 1956 Great American Mountain Rally are presented below.

Final Results 1956 Great American Mountain Rally

Overall                        Car                              Driver/Navigator                                 Penalty Points

1                                Saab 93                       Wehman/Braun                                               1516

2                               Renault 4CV               Maclay/Locke                                                  1554

3                               Jaguar XK140            Blackburn/Blackburn                                    1993

4                               Volkswagen                Young/Fendler                                                2071

5                               Triumph TR-3           Hurtley/Reider                                                2272

6                               Saab 93                       Mellde/Mushkin                                             2277

7                               Triumph TR-3           Gatsonides/Blodgett                                      2325

8                               Volkswagen               Allen/Allen                                                        2701

9                               MG Magnette            Yount/Thomas                                                3105

10                             Volkswagen                Millard/Bower                                                3185

 

Factory Team Award

  • Saab
  • Renault
  • Jaguar

Up To 1500cc Touring Award

  • Saab
  • Renault

Up To 1500cc Sports Award

  1. Porsche
  2. Alfa Romeo

1500 – 3000cc Touring Award

  1. Jaguar 2.4
  2. Ford Zephyr

1500 – 3000 Sports Award

  1. Triumph TR-3
  2. Triumph TR-3

Over 3000 Touring Award

  1. Plymouth
  2. Buick

Over 3000 Sports Award

  1. Jaguar XK140
  2. Chevrolet Corvette

Ladies Award

  1. Chevrolet

Even the Chrysler Corporation made a big deal of its success in the 1956 Great American Mountain Rally.  A 1957 Plymouth had finished first in the over 3.0 litre class.

Plymouth AdvertisementPlymouth Won The Over 3.0 Litre Touring Class (9)

 The 1956 Great American Mountain Rallye was the last running of this event.  It is unfortunate that America somehow lost this significant, high-profile rally.

Bibliography

  1. “Essential Triumph TR, TR 2 – TR 8” by David Hodges, 1994
  2. “From Two-Stroke to Turbo” by Anders Tunberg, 1980
  3. “No Excuses” by Sheila Van Damm, 1957
  4. “Sports Car Rallies, Trials, And Gymkhanas” by David Hebb and Arthur Peck, 1956
  5. “Triumph Cars in America” by Michael Cook, 2001
  6. “Saab Half A Century of Achievement” by Eric Dymock, 1997
  7. Leo Rizzo, Personal Communication
  8. “Motorsport” Jan-Feb 1955
  9. Plymouth Advertising, Chrysler Motor Corporation
  10. “Auto Age” April 1956
  11. Bernie Stolzman, Personal Communication
  12. “1954 Great American Mountain Rally Route Instructions” Motor Car Club of America
  13. “The Saab-Scania Story” by Saab-Scania, 1987
  14. Road & Track, March 1957
  15. “Gatso, The Never Ending Race”, by Michael Allen, 1993
  16. “Motorsport”, March-April 1955

 

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14 Responses to Great American Mountain Rally – A Major American Rally Of The 1950s

  1. Fred Gallagher says:

    That is a great piece of historical research. Thanks.

  2. Jay Nemeth-Johannes says:

    Great article Steve. I was wondering about your statement that MSCA had also organized the Continental Divide rally. There could have been multiple events with that name, I suppose, but Continental Divide was the name of the long running national SCCA rally organized by Colorado Region. I competed in several, and the name was active into the mid-1980s. We retired it when Skip Crowder, longtime RM became too ill to continue.

    I believe the event first ran in 1953, and I have a promotional booklet for the second running posted at http://users.frii.com/cindy/cont_div/

    Let me know your thoughts. Is this the same event, or was there another one, possibly up in Canada?

    • Hi Jay,
      Thanks for your comment and the link to the Continental Divide booklet. Clearly the booklet identifies the Continental Divide as a SCCA rally. I took a second look at the 1956 book “Sports car Rallies, Trials and Gymkhanas” by David Hebb and Arthur Peck. I believe now that I misinterpreted the following sentence on Page 85 of that book: “Three of these dominate the American field: the “International 1000” rally conducted annually by the Eastern United States Centre of the MG Car Club: the yearly “Continental Divide” rally staged in Colorado; and the “Great American Mountain Rallye Endurance Run” sponsored each November by the Motor Sports Club of America.” I interpreted this sentence to infer that the MSCA sponsored both the Continental Divide and the Great American Mountain Rallye as no mention was made of the SCCA.
      Thanks Jay, as this is just the sort of information feedback that I am looking for.
      Steve McKelvie

  3. RICHARD H. JARVIS says:

    I actually went on two of the rallies. .I believe it was 1953 and 1954..my brother in law. .Wesley D. Mackey was either President or Vice President of MSCA at that time. .I remember my sister designed their logo ..some random tidbits I remember are as follows. .Sunbeam allowed the club a Talbot to use as the official car. .the next year we had a full size Kaiser to ride in…Sheila Van Damm making the New York Daily News for someone running over her foot in the snow..Ford having a Thunderbird entered in 1954, it didn’t do well. .the one they entered had automatic transmission. .another notable member was Briggs Cunningham. .I thought I remember one year Graham Hill being there. .quite a character with his handle bar mustache. .I think in 1953 my brother in law entered a car he had built. .It was called the Mackey Special driven by Peter Sugg…that car is still owned by someone in south west Florida. ..my nephew Wesley D. Mackey Jr is still alive and living in New York. .I believe it was a huge IBM parking lot in or near Poughkeepsie that we ended up at..I think in was 1954 that the FIA gave up as the ruling body for racing in the United States. .USAC Was formed. .we’re all issued USAC licences. .I had held on to mine for many years but eventually misplaced it..if it shows up here is a picture in the article of someone waving a flag..that is my brother in law Wes Mackey. .I hope someone enjoys reading this..well I can’t get it to paste but you can see it in the article. .waving a start flag for a Jaguar. .enjoy. .great memories

    • I’m very glad to have reached someone who competed in this rally. I did not know that Graham Hill had taken part in the rally. Briggs Cunningham is news to me as well. I appreciate getting as much information about these events as possible. My plan is to re-post this article at some point in the future with all the additions and corrections included.
      Thanks very much for this information!
      Steve McKelvie

  4. Rupert Lloyd Thomas says:

    Good stuff. Should be Sherwood Johnston throughout – not Johnson. I would like to see the evidence that Graham Hill took part. Up until the mid-fifties Hill was a lowly mechanic.
    1953:
    Car #33, Sunbeam-Talbot, crew Charles W. “Chuck” Stockey, Eric Roberts, Gord Barber from Toronto, Canada.
    Entry: Volkswagen, Don & Mary Swall, Exton, PA.
    I have the following results, quote:

    Manufacturers team prize went to Rootes with Austins
    second. In the 1500-3000 c.c. class Rootes’ products were first and
    second in the Sports, and 1st., 2nd., and 3rd in the Touring groups.
    Touring Group:
    1st. Chas. Breck Sunbeam-Talbot
    2nd. Ian Garrad ” ”
    3rd. Chas. Stockey ditto – #33
    Sports Group:
    1st. Sherwood Johnston, Sunbeam Alpine
    2nd. Sheila van Damm, Sunbeam Alpine

    The Rootes entries were managed by John T. Panks, director and sales manager of Rootes Motors Ltd., Canadian concessionaires, based in Toronto, Canada

    RGDS RLT

    • Hi Rupert,
      Thanks for the additional information and the spelling correction for Sherwood Johnston. I will rewrite this article sometime this year. I got a lead earlier that the Henry Ford Museum has a file from/about this rally. I contacted them about a year ago to find out what, if anything, they might have on this rally, but they did not respond. I did not want to drive over to the Henry Ford Museum on a wild goose chase.
      Thanks again and hopefully more information on this rally will emerge.
      Steve McKelvie

  5. Rupert Lloyd Thomas says:

    The Globe and Mail, Toronto, 1 Dec, 1953, Page 18:
    Torontonians Win Event in Four-Day U.S. Auto Rallye
    New York, Nov. 30 (CP).-Six
    Canadians, in two sports cars, com-
    peted in the four-day Great
    American Mountain Rallye which
    ended last night.
    The Rallye, first of its kind here,
    was organised by the Motor Sports
    Club of America and covered a
    1,000 mile route through Connecti-
    cut, Massachusetts and Vermont to
    the Canadian border and back to
    Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
    A Sunbeam Talbot driven by
    Ian Garrard (sic) of Toronto, with To-
    rontonians Don Fedeski as naviga-
    tor and Ray Carter as co-driver,
    won first prize in the manufactur-
    ers’ team event. The other two
    cars in the winning team were
    driven by Sheila Van Damm,
    women’s international champion
    sports car driver, and Sherwood
    Johnston, Sports Car Club of
    America champion.
    Garrard’s car won second prize
    in the sedan class 1,500 to 3,000
    CC. competition.
    The second Canadian car, a Sun-
    beam Talbot driven by Charles
    Stockey of Toronto with Toron-
    tonians Eric Roberts as navigator
    and Gordon Barber as co-driver
    placed third in the manufacturers
    team competition.
    Overall winner was E. Blodge (sic)
    of New York driving an MG
    Garrard placed 13th.

  6. Craig Bozorth says:

    Would you like a photo of the 1955 Long Distance Award pitcher for the SCCA Continental Divide Rally?

  7. Jay Nemeth-Johannes says:

    I have the brochure for the 1954 Continental Divide Rally posted here:
    http://users.frii.com/cindy/cont_div/

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