1970 Canadian BP Economy Run License Plate added To My Collection

The USA and other countries (England and maybe others) had the Mobile Economy Run at various times during the 1950s. 60s, and 70s, but Canada had its own attempt at big time economy runs with the 1970 BP Canadian Economy Run.  I recently was able to acquire an original license plate from that event.  My plate is shown below.  The plate has sufficient “patina” that I believe that it was used by one of the competitors not merely be a left-over.

Canadian BP Economy Run License

License Plate From The 1970 BP Canadian Economy Run

There is an account of this event in the November 1970 issue of Canada Track & Traffic.  In that report is a picture of the start of the event.  One of the license plates from the event can be seen on the front the Renault 16.  I noted that the navigator in the car shown in the report was Terry Epp.  I know Terry from my stage rally days and Targa Newfoundland when he was the head of CARS, in charge of the Canadian Rally Championship.

Canadaian BP Economy Run Start 1970

The First Car Heads Out In The 1970 BP Canadian Economy Run

The 1970 BP Canadian Economy Run was organized by the British Empire Motor Club of Toronto.  The British Empire Club also organized the Canadian Winter Rally in that era.  Starting in Toronto, the economy run route went north through Orilla, Pembrooke, Buckingham, Montreal, and stopping in Ottawa for an “overnight” stop.  It was a short night though, as the first car was off again at 2:00AM.  The cars then went through Silver Lake, Kingston, Peterborough, and then back to Toronto.

The results were determined by multiplying each competitor’s actual miles per gallon by the car’s weight in pounds divided by 2000.  This results in a value of ton-miles per gallon.  To take into account the speed and timing aspects of the rally, 0.5 ton-miles per gallon was deducted for every minute early or late at each control.

Canadaian BP Economy Run Winners1970

Scott Harvey and Ralph Beckman Were The Event’s Overall Winners

The class winners and some of the top finishers are shown below.  Another entrant who was not listed in the top overall finishers was the great race car driver, Stirling Moss who was driving a Toyota Corolla.

Canadaian BP Economy Run Results1970

Listing Of Event Winners And The Top Finishers From The 1970 BP Canadian Economy Run

I am not familiar with all of the other economy runs in Canada, but I am aware that the Sport Motor Car Club Of Montreal had staged an economy run in the 1960s and as recently as just a few years ago.  I participated in and won (as Mike Kamm’s navigator) an economy run in Montreal in 2011.

In these days of heightened interest in fuel consumption, it is something of a mystery to me as to why economy runs are not common today.  In the meantime, I’ll have the 1970 BP Canadian Economy Run license plate to remind me of this dearth of economy runs these days.

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6 Responses to 1970 Canadian BP Economy Run License Plate added To My Collection

  1. Watson Awpher says:

    Re Stirling Moss in the 1970 BP Canadian Economy Run – an unpublished anecdote

    The story goes:

    While on a gravel road on the last night, Moss rolled down his window and spat out a loogie. He immediately slammed on the brakes and said to his navigator, Brent Davies, “My teef, My teef”
    His partial had gone out with the loogie!

    The pair got out with flashlights and just as the partial was spotted the next car came along and ran over it, breaking it in two.

    Davies had some two part epoxy in his navigators kit and proceeded to glue the partial together while Moss drove and navigated. After the epoxy had cured Moss tried the repaired partial and was delighted to find it fit well……that is, until it began to separate during the press interview at the finish!

  2. Doug Leverton says:

    We were car 54 in that event and Stirling was car 53, so we had much time to watch the back of him. Some months after the event there was an article in the Star Weekly about airline stewardess and their best and worst passengers. One stewardess had a huge rant about Stirling Moss as the grumpiest and most ill mannered passenger on a flight from Toronto to England. The,skuttlebutt at the end of the event was that car 53 was spotted by an organizer down a side road having fuel added (we did not witness that). The talk was of disqualification and that a few blocks from the finish in Toronto, Stirling had his co-driver drop him off so he could take a taxi to the airport. Stirling must have read Mark Donahue’s book “The Unfair Advantage”. Likely his teeth were bothering him on the plane.

  3. Beckman Ralph says:

    Thanks for reminding me that I used to have brown hair.

  4. Watson:

    I received the same story about Stirling’s dentures and did observe that he didn’t talk to anyone including reporters at the end of the Economy Run. He left immediately after he’d turned off the ignition of the car he’d been driving. Amusing for everyone EXCEPT Stirling. By the way, Haydn and I were part of a Renault team–all three cars were R10s. We have never, ever driven a Datsun. Please correct if possible. Potts & Wilson were also part of the team driving a R10. There has never been a R16 to my knowledge. Stevens & Grundy were driving my R8 automatic. It was a fun event!

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