First Two Canadians In The Monte Carlo Rally

I was looking through past issues of Canada Track & Traffic when I noticed the brief story shown below in a 1964 issue.  Apparently, the first two Canadians to enter the Monte Carlo Rally was the team of Sam Nordell and Grant McLean.  They competed in 1963 in a Renault R-8.  They started the 1963 Monte Carlo Rally from Stockholm.  Grant McLean was nominated as the main driver.  They had a respectable result as they finished 48th Overall and 9th in Class.  Not too shabby in a starting field approaching 300 cars.   Regardless, the story has a sad ending. 

Sam Nordell later died while practicing for the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally.  As I get ready to compete in the 2019 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique, this story is an important reminder about how dangerous mountain winter roads can be.

I want to thank Fred Gallagher for providing the information on the Canadian team’s results in the 1963 Monte Carlo Rally.  If anyone has additional information about Sam Nordell, then I would appreciate hearing from you.

If you have any comments, questions, or information about this post, or Sam Nordell, then leave a comment below or send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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Changes Coming To “Hemmings Classic Car” Magazine

Almost 2 years ago I posted on this website that Hemmings was going to cease publishing Hemmings Sport & Exotic Car magazine.  Several months later they did.  Those of us who had subscribed to  Hemmings Sport & Exotic Car were automatically converted over to Hemmings Classic Car magazine subscribers to finish out our old subscription period.

While I preferred Hemmings Sport & Exotic Car, I found Hemmings Classic Car to be an interesting and informative magazine and I have renewed my subscription to this magazine on two occasions and continue to be a subscriber.

In the recently issued February 2019 issue of Hemmings Classic Car, Hemmings have announced that Hemmings Classic Car will have a slight change in its vehicle coverage by expanding the magazine content to cover the type of cars that formerly were the topic of Hemmings Sport & Exotic Car magazine.  Richard Lentinello explained this change in the editorial presented below.

This is great news!  So all of you who bemoaned the loss of Hemmings Sport & Exotic Car magazine can now get their fix of sport and exotic car stories from Hemmings Classic Car!  I look forward to this expanded coverage.

Hemmings is a big supporter of the car community through their support of the Great Race and the Great American Mountain Rally Revival.

If you have any questions or comments about this post, then leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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Finally Road Testing The Blunik II Rally Computer

Today I got out on the road with the Blunik II rally computer.  I need to become familiar with this rally computer as I will be using it for the first time in the 2019 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique.  Recently I have been building a new 2-wire external wheel sensor for use with the Blunik II.  The picture below shows that new wheel sensor mounted on my Subaru Outback.

External Wheel Sensor On My Subaru Outback

The shot below shows a closer view of the sensor showing the extended lug nuts, the rotating drive plate and the wheel sensor mounted to the rotating drive plate.  The sensor wire is routed to the inside of the car via the rear seat door on the driver’s side.

Closer View Of The Wheel Sensor Mount

As my wife is the prime user of the Subaru Outback, I have to keep everything that I put in the car very portable and very removable.  To accomplish this I have mounted the Blunik II on one of my rally boards.  This works out well as I can have the rally computer instructions attached to the same rally board for easy reference.  The rally board sits on the passenger seat.

Temporary Blunik II Set Up On A Rally Board Inside The Car

While I have been doing a significant amount of bench testing and familiarization with the Blunik II in my basement, it is great to get some on-the-road time with the Blunik II.  Watch out for me on the roads around Franklin!  I’ll be the guy pulling over to the side of the road at frequent intervals so I can read instructions and push buttons on the Blunik II.  I need to be very comfortable with this unit before I leave for Monaco and the 2019 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique.

If you have any comments or questions about the wheel sensor, the Blunik II or the Rallye Monte Carlo Historique, then please leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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Canadian Shell 4000 Winner Reg Hillary Passes

I was informed today that long time Canadian rally driver Reg Hillary passed away on Tuesday, December 4th in his 98th year after a life well lived.

The following post is based on a story by John R. Wright on December 7, 2018 in the current issue “Racecar”.  I also used some information provide by the Corbett Funeral Home in Cambridge, Ontario.

Reg Hillary & Jack Young Win The 1961 Shell 4000 Rally

Born in England, Reg started his motorsports career on a Speedway bike, sans brakes on dirt tracks around London, England. He came to Canada in 1957 and immediately became involved in racing and rallying. Initially, he was a Renault driver and entered his Dauphine in five consecutive Canadian Winter Rallies, finishing every time. He also found time to compete at Harewood Acres and Mosport in Sprites and Daimler Darts.

Reg Hillary and His Co-driver Jack Young Celebrate Their Victory In The 1961 Shell 4000 Rally.

However, it was in a 1961 Studebaker Lark that he scored his major rallying victory, winning the first Shell 4000 Rally against such seasoned competitors as Denise McCluggage and the GM factory team of Corvairs and Pat Moss, sister of Stirling.

Reg also took regional championships and class championships in the various sports cars he drove, such as the Healey Sprite and the Dart. He accomplished this feat against a veritable horde of other club racers.

Reg Hillary

Reg is survived by his son Clive in England. To Reg’s son, relatives and friends, I extend my sympathy.

Apparently Reg died by mistake on December 4th, 2018 at the age of 98.  He was supposed to be 120 when he died.

He is survived by one son, Clive and his wife Anne. He has 2 granddaughters, Lisa and Lucy who each have 2 children. His surviving family lives in the U.K. Three wives Mary, Muriel and Shirley predeceased Reg.

Reg was a former:

– Lover of Life
– Aeronautical Engineer
– Electronic Engineer
– President of the Canadian Fence Industry Association
– Governor of the International Fence Industry Association
– President of R. F. Hillary & Co. Ltd. England and Canada
– Canadian Race Car Champion C.12
– International Rally Driver, winner of Shell 4000
– Speedway Rider, England
– Master Mason – Mason for 60 years
– Bronze Medalist, International Ballroom Dancing
– Achieved Yellow Belt in Judo
– At one time, considered to be one of Canada’s top Toastmasters
– Toastmaster for over 30 years – speaker, mentor

Heaven will never be the same!

Corbett Funeral Home, 95 Dundas St. N., Cambridge, Ontario
Wednesday, December 12th
Gathering after 12 noon – speaking begins at 1:00pm.


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Building An External 2-Wire Wheel Sensor

As a result of a new rally computer that I have, I needed to have a wheel sensor fitted with a 2-wire sensor.  In addition, because I am an itinerant rally navigator, I need to be able to install the equipment in various cars depending upon whom I am navigating for.  Therefore I needed an easily and quickly installed external style wheel sensor.  I could not find what I needed commercially, therefore I decided to build one myself.  The result is shown below.

My 2-Wire External Wheel Sensor

I started off with an enclosed 2-inch square aluminum box.  I had to drill several holes in the box to build the wheel sensor.  The small box size has its advantages once the unit is finished, but the tight size made the building of the unit difficult at times.

I Started Out With A 2-Inch Aluminum Box

A main component of the unit is the small flanged wall bearing with a 3/8-inch center hole.  I installed a 3/8-inch threaded bolt through the bearing which will be used to affix the wheel sensor to my custom wheel mounting plate.

3/8-inch Flanged Wall Bearing Was A Tight Fit

The other major component is the sensing device.  This sensing device had its mounting complications because the thread size was 12 x 1.0mm.  In the USA finding large diameter nuts with a fine 1.0mm thread was not easy.  It turned out that I had to modify the nuts that I did find in order to fit the “jam” style nut that I needed for the unit.

Test Fitting The Sensor In The Sensor Box

The 12 x 1.0 nuts that I found were 10mm long.  That was too long for this installation therefore I had to cut the nut into a much shorter length.  This cutting process is shown below.

Cutting A Nut In Half

Once the nut was cut in half I was able to complete the building of the unit.  I installed two small rare earth magnets on the rotating bearing.  Using the 12 x 1.0 nuts I was able to mount the sensing unit with the desired proximity distance from the rare earth magnets.  I installed two rare earth magnets which will result in two pulses of the wheel sensor for each rotation of the wheel.

Installed Interior Of The External Wheel Sensor

The image below, while it shows my 3-wire EZ Pulse wheel sensor, illustrates how the new external 2-wire wheel sensor will be mounted on a wheel.

Typical External Mounted Wheel Sensor

If you have any comments or questions about this post or the wheel sensor, then you can leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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I Add A Brantz Laser 3 Rally Computer To My Navigation Toolbox

Recently I added another rally computer, the Brantz Laser 3, to my toolbox of navigation equipment.  This rally computer has been around for a long time.  The first time that I used this rally computer was in the early 2000s when I was the co-driver for Chris Sanborn in his Cosworth Ford in the Maine Forest Winter Rally.  Chris’s previous co-driver, Hathaway, was not available for that rally.

Co-Driving For Chris Sanborn In The Maine Forest Winter Rally

Recently, when I was working with the Endurance Rally Association on the 2018 Trans America Challenge, the car that I shared with Mark Appleton was fitted with a Brantz Laser 3.  It proved to be a useful, versatile rally computer.  The one that we used had been fitted with a GPS driven sensor.

The Brantz Laser 3 In Chris Sanborn’s Cosworth

After the Trans America Challenge I had the opportunity to buy a Brantz Laser 3 at a very attractive price and now it’s mine.  The Brantz Laser 3 that I bought is shown below.

Brantz Laser 3 Rally Computer

The Brantz Laser 3 is initially somewhat daunting as each button has at least two functions – the orange button function and the green button function.

The Brantz Laser 3 Has Three Displays

The Brantz Laser 3 has three displays.  The top display is the time of day display.  The time display is typically in Hours:Minutes:Seconds.  To the right of the seconds display the two dashes will turn into 1/100 second when the time of day is frozen.   This is shown below where the time display shows 12 hours 37 minutes 17.89 seconds.

The Top Time-Of-Day On Hold

The black and white switches at the front bottom is the four digit calibration number for the Brantz Laser 3.  This better than the typical Brantz odometer products which use a three-digit calibration number.  The extra digit allows for greater precision of the calibration number.  The low calibration value shown in the image above was used by me for some bench testing of the unit.

The two displays on the left side of the Brantz Laser 3 can show a variety of information depending upon how the users choose to set up the unit.  One feature that I like is the ability to increase the number of decimal places that the distance can be displayed.  The image below shows the distance presented to three places of decimal i.e. 0.483 miles.

Lower Display Adjusted To Show Distance To Three Places Of Decimal

The small letters below each display show the type of information that can be shown in the display above.  I could go on to show the all of the features of this unit, but in lieu of that I have included a copy of the instructions for the Brantz Laser 3.  To see these instructions click on the pdf file presented below.

Brantz Laser 3 Instructions

One thing that I don’t like about the Brantz Laser 3, or at least the one that I have is the wire connection access at the back of the unit.  I think that there might be a more custom way to connect the power and sensor wires, but as I bought my unit used from a seller in Israel at a very attractive price, I just got what I got. To access the wiring connections it is necessary remove  plastic cover on the rear of the unit and leave it open.  This shown below.

Access To The Wiring Connections

The wires are easily inserted into the back of the unit.  The lower two connections are for the power supply, the middle three are for the wheel sensor, and the upper two are for fuel and a hard-wired remote.

This open connection at the back of the unit might cause some mounting issues, but as I have no current plans to use this unit, I will solve that problem when I have to.

If you have any comments or questions about this post or the Brantz Laser 3, then leave a comment below or you can send me a private email address at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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More On Triumph Le Mans Cars and The Conrero

In a recent post I discussed the Conrero which had been built for Triumph at Le Mans but due to financial issues Triumph dropped the Conrero car and used a TRS body which I mentioned in my post but did not explain or show.  This TRS body style is shown below at Le Mans in 1960.

TRS Bodied Triumphs At Le Mans In 1960

The color images below provided by David Scothorn provide a better look at these TRS bodied Triumph race cars.  Triumph had sent the TRS body style to Conrero to form the basis of Conrero’s design work on a new body style.

Triumph TRS Bodied Le Mans Race Cars

When Triumph sent the TRS body to Conrero, Triumph told Conrero that any new design had to be able to accommodate the “Sabrina” engine.  The “Sabrina” engines were two-liter four-cylinder engines with dual overhead camshafts and cross flow heads.  This engine which generated about 150 to 165 horsepower is shown below.

Triumph “Sabrina” Engine

The two castings at the end of the overhead camshafts were likened to a young starlet of the time, Norma Sykes, who was better known as “Sabrina”.

If you have any comments or questions about this post, then please leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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Vaudreuil GT – A “Lost” Canadian Car

A couple of days ago I got a request from a reader of this website from the British Automobile Touring Association of Nova Scotia (BATANS) to take a look through the 1961 and 1962 issues of Canada Track & Traffic for an advertisement for the Vaudreuil GT.  I took a look but I did not find the advertisement. But another reader found a letter to the editor shown below in the March 1963 issue of Canada Track and Traffic.

Letter To The Editor About The “Vaudreuil GT”

We dubbed this car the “Vaudreuil GT”, although the letter does not name the car.  The image of the car is not very good, but the Vaudreuil GT looks to be a nice looking car.  The fiberglass body has a nice flow to it.  Makes you think about a road trip to Quebec.

While contemplating the Vaudreuil GT, I thought of a car that I had recently seen in the G. William Krause book “The Illustrated History Of Triumph Sports and Racing Cars”.  In that book he has a brief story about the Conrero.  In 1961 Triumph commissioned Virgilio Conrero to create four special cars for the 1961 24 Hours of Le Mans.  Due to tight finances, Triumph ended the program after only one car was built.  This car, the Conrero, is shown below.

The Conrero

As you can see, there are similarities between the Conrero and the Vaudreuil GT.  The Conrero is similar to the TRS body cars that Triumph raced at Le Mans in 1961.  Perhaps these cars were the inspiration for the Vaudreuil GT?

The Conrero Is Certainly A More Flowing Design Than The TR4 Which Shortly Followed This Car

Apparently the Conrero sat in the back of the Triumph factory for a long period of time after which it was sold to a private collector.  Krause says in his book (dated 2017) that it has not been seen since.

The Conrero Remains Unseen In A Private Collection

While looking through the Krause book, I saw another eye-catching variation on a Triumph sports car, the Triumph Italia.  This car is shown below.

Triumph Italia

In the late 1950s Triumph was working on a replacement for the TR3.  Vignale built the car, now known as the Italia, in hopes that Triumph would commission Vignale to design the Triumph TR3 successor.  Triumph was not convinced to hire Vignale and eventually selected the Michelotti design for the TR4.  I would have liked to have had a say in that decision.

Vignale Eventually Built About 300 Triumph Italias

These are some body style variations that were “out there” in the early 1960s.  I certainly would be interested in obtaining further information about the “Vaudreuil GT”.

If you have any questions or comments about these cars or this post, then leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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One Canadian Question Is Answered

My question about the G.S.M. Delta advertisement in Canada Track & Traffic has been answered.  Thanks to Fred Gallagher, David Scothorn, Gary Hamilton, and Darryl Hurter for providing information about this car.  I continue to be impressed by how much knowledge there is out there among the readers of this website.

G.S.M. stands for Glass Sport Motors.  This was a South African car manufacturer which appears to have operated from 1958 to 1964. The company was founded by Bob van Niekerk and Willie Meissner in 1958, who were in England at the time.  While in England they became aware of the potential for using fiberglass to build cars.  They worked with a South African designer, Verster de Wit, who helped them style their first car design and taught them the design process. Van Niekirk and Meissner then returned to South Africa and began to design and build cars.  The GSM Delta was one of the cars that they built.

The Yellow and Blue Cars Are GSM Deltas and the Two Red Cars Appear To Be GSM Flamingos

It appears that they also had a manufacturing shop in England as well.  At one point they were building 4 or 5 cars per week.  In England the G.S.M. cars were sold in a kit form and were assembled by the purchaser in order to avoid sales tax.  The Canadian advertisement suggests that the cars in Canada were being sold as assembled cars.

The cars used a variety of engines including Coventry Climax Ford Anglia 100E and 105E as well as a few fitted with Alfa Romeo 1300cc units nestled into a ladder type chassis with transverse springs at the front and coil springs at the rear. Cars had a fiberglass open two seat body fitted, but a hardtop was later available which had a reverse slanted rear window which later Fords also exhibited.  The two Deltas shown above obviously have hardtops furnished.

The chassis of the Delta is a ladder type with two very large diameter steel tubes having sub-frames front and rear to carry the suspension. Front suspension is by transverse leaf-spring with a single lower link and an anti-roll bar. Ford components were used wherever possible.

The rear suspension utilized a Ford axle which is well located by twin parallel trailing arms and an “A “-bracket, the springing, being provided by co-axial coil-spring/damper units.  Girling 8-in, drum brakes were fitted all round, racing versions having turbo tins.

GSM’s were mainly sold in South Africa and England although several seem to have made it to Canada. Apparently they had racing successes in Canada and South Africa.

Thanks to those who helped to solve this mystery for me.  If you have any comments or questions about these cars or this post, then leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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Two Canadian Questions With Answers Sought

In the last day or two I have been looking through some 1961 and 1962 issues of Canada Track & Traffic searching for a particular advertisement.  I  am still searching for that advertisement, but I did come across two advertisements for products that I am not familiar with.  I have posted these advertisement here in hopes that someone can provide me with more information about these products.

The first is the advertisement for the G.S.M. Delta car shown below.

The G.S.M. Delta

At first I thought that it was some modification of the MGB, but I think that the G.S.M. Delta predates the MGB.   This car is a mystery to me.

The other advertisement was for the Nickam Rally Odometer shown below.  This is another product that I have never heard of.

Nickam Rally Odometer

I note that the odometer only seems to register to 1/10 mile which limits its usefulness in car rallies.   The installation which can only be done by the supplier would also seem to limit its usefulness.  Any information on this odometer would be appreciated.

If you have any information on these products or if you have any comments or questions on this post, then please leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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