Mighty Monte Minis
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TOPIC: Mighty Monte Minis

Mighty Monte Minis 6 years, 10 months ago #1

Platinum Boarder
When it comes down to cars which played an important role in my life, the Mini has a special place in my memory. It was 1963, I was 11 years old, and my father bought an Austin Seven (1000cc). I was so proud of my dad and so happy with that car that I invested all my (pocket) money and savings, which I earned walking my grandmother's dog, to give my father a set of fog lamps for his birthday. I figured that a Mini must have fog lamps, just like those rally boys.

The Monte Carlo Rally was my #1 motorsport event of the year, because of those devilish Mini Coopers, who came 3rd first time out in 1963 , and won the event in 1964, 1965, 1966** and 1967. They finished 3rd again in 1968, being beaten by 2 very powerful Porsche 911's; the last year of the factory involvement.

**The win of 1966 was taken away from the Mini team (they finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd) because of a non standard dip switching on the head lights. This was one of the biggest scandals ever in motorsport history; leaving Prince Rainier of Monaco fuming, see here:


It was generally agreed that the organizers wanted a French team to win, and did everything to disqualify the British teams. Thanks to the disqualification of the British teams a Citroen DS moved up to the top spot. Never ever did the Mini get more free publicity than in 1966. And 1967 they did it all over again. Nuff said..........

Today I got the 1/43 Altaya model of the 1967 winners by Rauno Aaltonen and Henry Liddon to complement the 1964 winners car of Paddy Hopkirk and Henry Liddon I bought last month. And now for the other ones to make the set complete.

Last Edit: 6 years, 10 months ago by Ecclesley.

Re: Mighty Monte Minis 6 years, 10 months ago #2

Platinum Boarder
When my Father retired from Vauxhall Motors he enjoyed the spare time and freedom for about 12 Months, then decided he needed to carry on working. He went back to work for a car accessories company, this company was owned by Mr Paddy Hopkirk and he often went into the company to check everything was OK and chat with the workforce and when Father finally retired from there after 11 Years, I went and picked him up in my Silver Shadow and it was the highlight of the Day for everybody there!

I myself have seen Paddy in his Cream Mini because he actually lives in the next Village to where I live in Buckinghamshire and no matter what the weather is doing, his car is immaculate, always clean and tidy.


Re: Mighty Monte Minis 6 years, 10 months ago #3

Platinum Boarder
I have never met Paddy Hopkirk, but I have books and video footage in which he is ever present. He seems to be a level headed, tidy bloke; calm as a cucumber.

About the 1966 scandal he said:  the organizers did everything to throw us out, even  weighing the wheels with and without inflated/deflated tires. The cars were more or less taken apart completely.

Say Paddy Hopkirk and you say Mini, the man is a legend.

Here Paddy with Henry with the 1964 Mini, the win that put the Mini on the map forever.

Here the Mini Monte winners, l. to r. Timo Makinen (twice - minus one), Rauno Aaltonen and Paddy Hopkirk.

Last Edit: 6 years, 10 months ago by Ecclesley.

Re: Mighty Monte Minis 6 years, 10 months ago #4

Platinum Boarder

As a longtime rally fan & participant in that era, I would like to add a little info.

At the time Construction and Use regulations in the U.K. stated the centre of the HEADlight must be 24"or more above the ground, It was a struggle to get ANY Mini to comply, with the added weight of the A frame & sump guard.

One of the reasons the Mini (technically) didn't comply was that the dip (low) beam headlights went onto the 2 lights positioned below the normal headlights  & consequently below the 24".

Basically the Quartz-Iodine bulbs of the time, could not be made with 2 filaments so 2 single filament bulbs were utilised, main (high) beam in the normal headlight shell and dip (low) beam in the 2 lamps below. To compound the problem 4 auxilliary lights were all that were allowed, so the 3 lamps on the A bar (usually 2 driving or fog  & one spot)  plus the roof light made the requisite 4, the 2 lamps below the headlamps, were ????? auxilliary or headlamps, either way the cars didn't comply. Basically it was a new concept and out of the realm /application of the then extant rules.

Have fun


Re: Mighty Monte Minis 6 years, 10 months ago #5

Platinum Boarder
Thanks Terry for your technical input.

Whatever the technical infringement, the Minis and other entrants that were thrown out, had no real advantage because of the lights. But rules are rules.

This reminds me of an incident involving Team Lotus and Colin Chapman at Le Mans.

The two works Lotus Twenty-Threes of 1962 were presented for weighing and were sent away as the ground clearance was insufficient. After correcting that they were sent away a second time because the wheels had four bolt fixings to the front and six bolt fixings to the rear. In order to conform, wheels and hubs with four bolt fixings were flown over from England only to be refused by the authorities on safety grounds.

Chapman vowed never to race at Le Mans again.
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