A classic Monte Carlo Mini from the Sixties posed before the splendid Glasgow City Chambers yesterday (19th November) to preview the start of the historic re-run of the event from the city next January.
The car – identical to the ones which scored success in the 1967 Monte Carlo Rally – completed a red, white and blue trio along with two other classics, a 1968 Volvo Amazon and an MG Midget from 1977, as examples of the amazing collection of up to 100 cars which will gather in George Square on the evening of January 29th next year.
The city is the only British start point of seven European cities including Athens, Milan and Barcelona. In recent years, Paisley and Clydebank have also featured as the only UK start locations but it’s the third time Glasgow has taken on the role.
The 2020 start will be the tenth since it returned to Scotland.
The competing crews will set off from the start ramp in front of Glasgow City Chambers in George Square at 7pm for the epic 1300-mile drive to the south of France.
The start is being supported by Glasgow Life, the charity that delivers cultural, sporting and learning activities on behalf of Glasgow City Council.
The 1966 Mk1 Austin Mini Cooper S 1275 is an exact replica of the five cars which took the team prize in the 1967 Monte Carlo Rally in the hands of among others, rally legend Paddy Hopkirk. One of them, driven by Rauno Aaltonen and Henry Liddon took first place.
All were known as the LBL cars from their registration plates and owner of the replica car, Geoff Marr from Stirling has managed to repeat that by securing the plate LBL10D for his car. He has spent the past four years rebuilding it into a convincing “Works” Monte Mini, even sourcing genuine parts and equipment including the original Monte Carlo Rally plaque.
For the classic event, cars and crews will compete in three separate categories:
The Historique class is being run for the 23rd year and is restricted to car models which competed in the Monte Carlo Rallies between 1955 and 1980. It will run over eight days on open public roads with the cars and crews undertaking a series of fourteen demanding test stages in the mountains of southern France.
The Classique event is for older cars from as early as 1911 to 1965 and follows the same route to Monte Carlo but does not include any test stages, the goal simply being to finish in Monte Carlo after checking in at a series of control points on the way.
They are looking forward to the challenge. Said Colin: “It’s a great tribute to Dad to attempt the Monte in his car with the added bonus of leaving from Glasgow where he lived for 83 years. Neither of us has been in an event like the Monte – we are a real couple of rookies”.
Once again the event also features the popular Monte Heritage Runs which will link with the full-scale events and will take in a series of short classic routes in Scotland including starts from John O’ Groats and Aberdeen. Already eleven crews have registered to make the start from the northernmost landmark.
Before the cars set off there will be a classic car show in George Square during the afternoon along with entertainment for spectators who’ll enjoy the unique atmosphere of a Monte Start and give the competitors a rousing Scottish send-off.
Billy Garrett, Director of Sport and Events for Glasgow Life said: “The start of the Monte Carlo Rally will see some of the classic vehicles of yesteryear back on the streets of Glasgow next year. It will be a fantastic chance to see some of the greatest automobiles ever made up close and in action as they head off on their journey to Monte Carlo.”
Event Director Douglas Anderson said: “Glasgow is one of Europe’s great cities and everyone involved in the organisation of this event is delighted to be back here for the 2020 start. Once again it will raise the profile of the city to an international audience and I’m sure the competitors’ send-off from George Square will be an occasion never to be forgotten. The Monte belongs to Glasgow”.
More information can be found at www.monte.scot