Tag Archives: Daily Mirror World Cup Rally

Je N’est Pas Brian Culcheth – Triumph 2500 PI Mk2

A couple of weeks ago I went to a highly entertaining talk given by Rally Champion Brian Culcheth who with Johnstone Syer finished second in the 1970 Daily Mirror World Cup Rally as celebrated in today’s featured French Triumph ad.

As the talk progressed it soon become apparent that the Quadrant ad agency had somehow managed to select the wrong car for the bottom photo because Brian Culcheth and Johnstone Syer started the 1970 World Cup Rally in a white #88 Triumph 2500 PI Mk2.

Triumph 2500 PI Mk2, Lloyd Hirst, Englefield, Baker, 1970 Daily Mirror World Cup Rally,

The #39 depicted was infact a ‘private’ entry crewed by Adrian Lloyd-Hirst, Brian Englefield and Keith Baker. With the perspective of nearly 50 years there are numerous accounts about this entry which I shall attempt to sumarise below.

Ordnance Survey employee Peter Dyer and fellow employee Keith Baker appear to have got the ball rolling when Peter mentioned the rally to Keith and his friend Adrian Lloyd- Hirst over a couple of beers at a motor club meeting somewhere north of Southampton.

According to Brian Engelfield Adrian managed to persuade a Graham Robinson to buy the left hand drive car which is believed to have come through John McCartney at the Triumph Dealership in Berkley Square London, thought the ‘KV’ part of the registration belies the fact that this car was originally registered in Triumph’s home town of Coventry.

While there has never been any suggestion UKV701H was prepared by the works Triumph team at Abingdon or at the Special Tuning department next door the #39 appears to have been fitted with numerous parts supplied by the works team which include the sump guard, spot light arrangement, 15″ Minilites, air intake scoop on bonnet, roof ventilator, bag tanks (see the fuel filler in the r/h rear wing which suggests that like the Austin Maxi I looked at last week this car was given a good deal of works assistance.

The #39 was officially entered by Adrian Lloyd-Hirst who is described variously as a scrap dealer, a publican and there is also a possibility that he was a Royal Naval Commander and Author.

Having survived the European leg of the rally the #39 appears to have retired near Montevideo in Uruguay with suspension problems. Brian Englefield had hoped to acquire the car from Graham Robinson but it was sold by Grahams estate after he died unexpectedly to Peter Barker in Jersey who had the car given the Jersey licence plate J 6749.

Brian drove the car twice more with Peter Barker in the 1972 Scottish Rally and with Ian McKean on the 1972 TAP Rally in Portugal.

According to Brian Engelfield the car ended up rusting away in Cornwall.

My thanks to Peter Dyer, Brian Engelfield and Jason Chinn for their comments about UKW701H at The Nostalgia Forum.

Thanks for joining me on this “Je N’est Pas Brian Culcheth” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


The Three Captains – Austin Maxi

Queen Elizabeth the II’s cousin born seventh in line to the British throne on the 4th of July, Michael George Charles Franklin, is better known as HRH Prince Michael of Kent.

From 1961 to 1981 Prince Michael served his country after training at Sandhurst he was commissioned into the 11th Hussars (Prince Albert’s Own) who’s motto is Death of Glory.

Austin Maxi, Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon,

The ADO 14 Austin Maxi was the first all new model to be launched by the newly merged British Leyland in 1969, it was also the last production design to come to fruition by the Grecian British designer Sir Alexander Arnold Constantine Issigonis who’s CV included the designs for the Morris Minor, the BMC Mini, BMC ADO 16 1100/1300 series cars, and BMC ADO 17 1800/2200 series cars, like the 1100, and 1800, models the Maxi featured a transverse mounted engine powering the front wheels and hydrolastic suspension.

Organisers of the 1970 Daily Mirror World Cup Rally which was to run 15,000 miles through Europe, Southern and Central America from London to Mexico received entries for four Austin Maxi’s, two for cars crewed entirely by ladies.

Austin Maxi, Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon,

The Royal Hussars & 17th/21st Lancers entered today’s featured Maxi that was to be crewed by Captains; HRH Prince Michael of Kent, who like Alec Issigonis lays claim to Grecian ancestry, Capt. Gavin Thompson and Capt. Nigel Clarkson.

With some support from the Leyland works team this Maxi unlike regular production Maxi’s has a welded up hatch back tailgate to give the body additional rigidity and a rudimentary aluminium boot / trunk lid has fitted with even more rudimentary hinges.

Austin Maxi, Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon,

Like wise the sheet steel door skins, shared with the 1800 Landcrab series, have been replaced with aluminium panels to save weight and the steel bonnet / hood was replaced with a glass fibre example with two non standard fairings to accommodate the non standard twin SU carburetors.

As I understand it both the two works Maxi’s and the two private entries were fitted with the smaller 74 hp 1500 cc / 91.5 cui 4 cylinder motors although now this and the surviving Marshalls of Cambridge example appear to have the larger 1750 cc / 106 cui motors fitted.

Austin Maxi, Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon,

The motors will have been detuned with lower compression ratio’s to cope not only with the poorer quality fuels available along the route, but also the altitudes on the South American legs which reached 15,000 feet where even some of the crews had to be given oxygen.

Alf Ramsey, later Sir, the England football team manager who had overseen England’s one and only World Cup win in 1966 returned to the scene of his greatest victory to flag off the eventual 96 starters from Wembley Stadium on the 19th of April 1970.

Austin Maxi, Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon,

The 4,500 mile European leg of the Daily Mirror World Cup Rally initially headed east across the the continent through Munich in Germany, Austria, Hungary, Yugoslavia as far as Sofia, Bulgaria.

From Sofia the route headed South East through Italy to Monza through France and Spain to Lisbon in Portugal where the surviving crew’s caught a boat across the Atlantic to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

Austin Maxi, Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon,

Up to this point the three Captains were looking good and made it to Lisbon with 70 other surviving crews on the 25th of April in time for the Atlantic crossing to Brazil aboard the SS Derwent.

12 days later on the 8th of May the three Captains were flagged off in their #70 Maxi for the 12,000 Southern and Central American leg of the event from down town Rio de Janeiro.

Austin Maxi, Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon,

10 miles from the start at Ltuporanga, the #70 Maxi with the three Captains aboard left the road and with smashed drive shafts were left with no alternative but to withdraw.

The two works entered Maxi’s made it to the finish with the #74 London Evening Standard sponsored Maxi crewed by Rosemary Smith, Alice Watson and Gina de Rolland classified 10th behind the Winners Ford Escort crewed byHannu Mikkola and Gunnar Palm.

Austin Maxi, Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon,

The #96 British Leyland / Autocar sponsored entry crewed by Terry Kingsley, Peter Evans, Michael Scarlett came home last but one in 22nd place.

The Austin Maxi probably never received so much attention again, apart from the larger engine and a small interior upgrade in 1971 the car soldiered on until 1980 before a face lifted Maxi 2 went into production for just 12 month’s before production was halted with over 400,000 units built.

Today amongst one hundred patronages and Presidencies HRH Prince Michael of Kent is President of the Royal Automobile Club in Piccadilly London, Royal Patron of the Brooklands Museum and Patron of the Commission for Global Road Safety.

Thanks for joining me on this “The Three Captains” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !