Today’s featured vehicle is a replica of ‘The Revenge Mini’ which won the 1967 Monte Carlo Rally in the hands of Rauno Aaltonen and Henry Liddon. Unusually the car is probably most famous because of the events that took place on the 1966 Monte Carlo Rally.
There has always been a bit of an edgy competition between France and Britain in just about every field of endeavour, I guess no one wants to be first loser against their immediate neighbour. Evidence of this can be seen in the Monte Carlo Rally of 1966. The Mini Cooper S had been the winning car on the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964 in the hands of Paddy Hopkirk and Henry Liddon and again in 1965 with Timo Mäkinen and Paul Easter at the wheel. Timo and Paul crossed the line in first place in 1966 with Roger Clark in a Lotus Cortina second followed by Aaltonen and Hopkirk both driving Mini’s in third and forth.
However much to the surprise of everybody the top four and two other British cars were disqualified for cheating. Their crime was running non standard (performance enhancing ?) single filament headlight bulbs. It transpires that when teams had entered they had done so on the understanding that these bulbs would be legal as they had been over the previous two years but then the rules were changed after entries had closed making these bulbs illegal because the models of the disqualified cars did not have single filament bulbs fitted as standard.
Curiously the car declared as the winner Pauli Toivonens Citroen was allowed to and did run with these bulbs because some ID19’s were fitted with the single filament bulbs on the normal production lines. Naturally the result upset everyone Prince Rainer snubbed his own prize giving ceremony , Pauli Toivonen, declared the winner, swore he would never drive a Citroen again, and kept his word, and the British Motor Corporation protested the result which 10 months later was declared final and stood.
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Of course better than getting mad is to get even so in 1967 BMC came back and Rauno Aaltonen with Henry Liddon co driving the #177 took the Mini’s third and final Monte Carlo Victory. Observant fans of Michael Caine and the original 1969 film ‘The Italian Job‘ will remember Crocker making reference to the ’66 Monte disqualification in the workshop where the Minis are being prepared and some one is checking the head lights Crocker says ‘I hope their dual filament bulbs, we wouldn’t want to be caught doing anything illegal now, would we ?’
Wishing everyone a fabulous weekend. ‘Don’t forget to come back now. Hear ?’