Today, the World Rally Championship is a shadow of its former self. Gone are the epic Safari battles, the Group B turbo beasts, and most of the manufacturers. Rallye Monte Carlo remains, and – run on winter roads around the principality – “the Monte” is as challenging as ever.
It’s been 50 years since Mini took the 1964 Rallye Monte Carlo, with Paddy Hopkirk behind the wheel. The MG Midget in these photos is not the car that entered the Monte that year (that was an MGB), but it’s similar to the car that won its class (17th overall), with Donald and Erle Morley. The car was a class winner the previous year at Le Mans, providing manufacturer BMC with great press (of course, the car was heavily modified from stock to produce more power and weigh less). The Midget also raced in the US with great distinction.
It’s a good reminder of how far rallying has come, and how far it must go to return to its former state.