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European Healey Tour  - 28 May 2013
Report by Jim Paterson

Each year the Austin Healey Club organise a European tour, and this time the Swiss Club decided to bring the tour to Scotland.  On Tuesday 28th of May they organised what they called The Swiss Scottish Alpine Rally, which included a visit to the Rest and be Thankful hillclimb, on their way to Inverary Castle.

I decided this was something to see, with some 250 entries on the tour, from across Europe, and even as far away as Australia.  The Monte Carlo Historique visit of the Australian Holden team to Glasgow in January must be catching over there in Oz.

I took the Healey Sprite, with top down of course, and picked up Douglas Anderson at Stirling under a blue and sunny sky.  However dark clouds to the west over the mountains of Argyll were looming.  We made it to the ' Rest' but quickly had to put the top up as the rain started to edge its way up Glen Croe. When it rains in Argyll it is pretty wet!

Soon the big Healeys, of all ages, with a few Sprites, including Frogeyes, started to appear. Most had either hardtops fitted, or their hoods firmly up. However there are always a few 'hardy' types as  I guess it can pretty wild in Switzerland too. These souls kept there hoods down all the time, taking to wearing appropriate bad weather gear instead.

A couple of the big Healeys sported Aero screens so no chance of any hood on these beauties.

The newly resurfaced hillclimb road allowed those with a bit of spirit to test the big cars performance, though on a wet road everyone had to take care on the somewhat slippy turns. Only one or two nearly overshot the top hairpin. Thankfully the new road has some extra width on the turns for the larger vehicles, and acted as a great 'run off' when they misjudged just how tight the hairpin is.

For all the rain the crews seemed to enjoy the experience and as the afternoon wore on the weather improved, hopefully enough to dry out there cars. It did for my Sprite on the way home.

A great sight to see so many big Healeys in one place enjoying themselves. I hope the rest of their week long tour provides as much enjoyment.

The International Autoecosse is the next
event to visit the Rest and be Thankful on Sunday 2nd June. Lets hope the weather is kinder for them.

A big thanks to owners of the Rest hillclimb, Diane and Stephen who enthusiastically support Classic cars on the road. I also had the chance to speak to Diane's father Andrew Davidson who wrapped up warm to come out and see the cars.

A real treat for me to see Andrew, who does not keep the best of health these days, as he was the driving force all those years ago, 
in encouraging classic cars to enjoy the thrill of driving 'the Rest' .  

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Updated 29 May 2013