Tag Archives: Thorszelius

King Of Africa – Toyota Celica Twin Cam Turbo TA64

In 1983 1982 World Rally Champions Audi were still the only team entering 4 wheel drive rally cars for the World Rally Championship, most teams like Lancia and Toyota still had faith that their 2 wheel drive Group B contenders were still the way forward.

Toyota Celica Twin Cam Turbo TA64, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

Towards the end of 1983 Toyota entered it’s 380hp Toyota Celica Twin Cam Turbo TA64 for the first time for the 1000 Lakes Rally in Finland where locals Juha Kankkunen and Staffan Pettersson finished sixth and Swedes Bjorn Waldegård and Hans Thorszelius came home 10th.

Toyota Celica Twin Cam Turbo TA64, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

A couple of month’s later Bjorn and Hans won the Rallye Côte d’Ivoire on the west coast of Africa which began to cement the Celica TCT as the model was also known as the King Of Africa.

Toyota Celica Twin Cam Turbo TA64, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

Bjorn and Juha would clock up five more African wins up until 1987 2 more on the Rallye Côte d’Ivoire in 1985 and 1986 and trifecta of Safari Rally victories in Kenya from 1984 to 1986, with Bjorn winning in both countries twice.

Special mention should be made of co driver Fred Gallagher who partnered Juha in 1985 and Bjorn in 1986 to win events twice !

Today’s featured TCT is painted up like Bjorn’s 1984 Safari winner registered in Cologne “K UM 210”, but is carrying different number plates.

Thanks for joining me on this “King Of Africa” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at the first Japanese Car to win a Formula One Championship Grand Prix. Don’t forget to come back now !


Light Rally History – Race Retro

Today’s blog features some of the tremendously storied rally cars that appeared at the recent Race Retro exhibition.

Austin Healey 3000 Mk1, Race Retro, Stoneleigh,

From 1960 comes this ex BMC works Austin Healey 3000 Mk 1 among it’s achievement’s was a 17th place overall and first in class driven by Pat Moss, Stirling’s younger sister, and Ann Wisdom on the 1961 Tour Of Corsica.

FIAT 131 Abarth, Race Retro, Stoneleigh,

When FIAT introduced the 131 Miafiori Abarth in 1977 the company went on a rampage of the World Rally Championship winning the titles in 1977, with the Olio Fiat colours seen here, 1978 and 1980 winning 20 World Championship Rallies over that period, I am not entirely sure of the history of this car registered in Jersey it appears in 1977 colours but with a 1980 head light and grill arrangement.

Ford Escort RS1800, Race Retro, Stoneleigh,

The original STW201R a works Ford Escort RS1800 was driven to victory in the 1977 East African Safari Rally by Björn Waldegård and Hans Thorszelius, the car was subsequently handed to Ford Heritage only to loose it’s identity original works colour scheme and be crashed at the hands of a TV Journalist. This car appears to be a replacement painted in the Rothmans Rally Team colours as worn by Ari Vatanen’s cars when he won the World Rally Drivers Championship with Dave Richards in 1981.

Toyota Celica TC, Race Retro, Stoneleigh

Björn Waldegård and Hans Thorszelius won the Safari Rally again in 1984 and with Fred Gallagher in 1986 driving the Toyota Celica TC models like the 1986 winner seen here, Finlands Juha Kankkunen with Fred Gallagher in the passenger seat won the Safari Rally in 1985 to make it a hat trick for the rear wheel drive Celica TC model.

Peugeot 309 Gti, Race Retro, Stoneleigh,

Englands only World Rally Champion Richard Burns drove this Group A front wheel drive Peugeot 309Gti to a 16th place finish with Robert Reid on his second Lombard RAC Rally start in 1991.

Ford Focus WRC, Race Retro, Stoneleigh,

Finally this 2001 all wheel drive Ford Focus WRC has won four Rallies outright, with Colin McRae winning the 2001 Cyprus and 2002 Acropolis Rallies with Nicky Grist, Jari Matti Latvala the 2003 Tempest Rally with Miikka Anttila and Nejat Avci winning the Pirelli Turkey Rally in 2005 with co driver Memisyazici Batuhan, today this car is owned by Steve Rockingham.

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


The Striped One – Porsche 911 SC Safari

In 1978 the Martini sponsored works Porsche team produced two variants of the 911 to take outright victories in events which the model had not won, the first was the 750hp Porsche 935 78 known as Moby Dick which was designed to win the Le Mans 24 hours, it finished fourth, and the second was the 300hp Porsche 911 SC Safari, featured today, which was designed to win the Safari Rally in Kenya. The 911 SC Safari that stands nearly one foot off the ground is without question one of my favourite rally cars, it’s the one car in which James Bond’s Martini is guaranteed to arrive well shaken but not stirred.

Porsche 911 SC Safari, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

As we saw on Saturday by 1970 the 911 had proved itself in the snowy conditions of Sweden and the tarmac conditions of a dry Monte Carlo rally with Bjorn Waldegård at the wheel, it’s smaller 912 sibling had won the European Rally Championship with Sobiesław Zasada at the wheel, the only thing missing from the 911’s curriculum vitae was a win a respected ‘loose surface’ rally like the Safari Rally. This absence was not for lack of trying a 911 covered in ‘kanga’roo bars was driven by Sobiesław Zasada in the 1968 London to Sydney Marathon and sensationally worked it’s way up from 13th to 4th position on the final Australian leg of the 7000 mile rally.

Porsche 911 SC Safari, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

In 1971 Waldegård driving a works 911 looked set for a win on the East African Safari Rally until he was blinded by dust from his team mate Zasada while trying to over take him on the road and ended up crashing out while Zsada survived to finish 5th. In 1974 Bjorn came home second in the East African Safari driving a 911 RS and it was not until 1978 that Porsche returned to East Africa with a two car team that included today’s featured #14 car driven by Vic Preston Jnr. Team mate Waldegård, who won the 1977 edition of the Safari driving a Ford, returned to Zuffenhasen to drive the similar #5 911 SC.

Porsche 911 SC Safari, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

The roads used on the Safari in 1978 were mostly graded tracks, tarmac is rarely used because the population is sparsely distributed and the intense daily short bursts of rain in the rainy season would likely as not wash tarmac away in abrasive currents of subsequent surface water drainage. The ’78 Safari was run in wet conditions but the competition between the Porsche, Datsun now Nissan, and Peugeot teams remained close. Waldegård and H Thorszelius led the first leg but then a rock damaged the suspension and they could only recover a 4th place finish.

Porsche 911 SC Safari, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

Vic Preston Jnr and J Lyall finished second in today’s featured car behind the Peugeot 504 V6 of Jean Pierre Nicolas and Jean Todt J-C Lefebvre. The winners finished the timed sections with the fastest times overall only to crash in to an unexpectedly U turning vehicle on the untimed road section back to the ceremonial finish line in Niarobi. The Peugeot was badly damaged but the occupants unharmed. After repairs Nicolas managed to drive to the finish with a holed radiator.

Porsche 911 SC Safari, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

Ironically Jean Pierre Nicholas with Vincent Laverne win in the 1978 Monte Carlo Rally driving a superceded Porsche 911 Carrera RSR meant that Porsche maintained their lead in the World Rally Championship. By the seasons end a privately entered Porsche in San Remo had scored one additional podium finish for the Zuffenhausen marque in the World Rally Championship as the works team involvement was aimed solely at winning the prestigious Safari. The 4th place final championship placing was edged by 1978 champions FIAT, Ford, for whom Bjorn also drove in 1978 and Opel, each of these teams had elected pass on the extreme endurance test of the Safari in Kenya.

Porsche 911 SC Safari, Goodwood Festival Of Speed

The 1978 Safari was the last World Championship Rally the works team entered although some years later the Porsche name would return with Prodrive prepared cars. With no prospect of rallying regulations turning to favor a Porsche entry it would appear the marque which has dominated so many other area’s of the sport is destined to never win the Safari Rally. In 2011 Waldegård driving a 1972 Porsche 911 2.4 prepared by Francis Tuthill did win the classic version of the Safari Rally, a small consolation for the man and the marque.

The following season Martini shifted the main focus of it’s motorsports sponsorship to the Lotus formula one team.

Thanks for joining me on this “The Striped One” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at some Formula One Automobillia. Don’t forget to come back now !