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Classic crews line up in front of Paisley Abbey.

Jim Wilson Standard 10 piped off to Monte Carlo

Timekeeper Maurice Millar with Car 0 Standard 10  waiting for the start time.

Rosemary Smith waits her turn in the Imp

Rosemary Smith, Paddy Hopkirk and Provost Anne Hall

Paisley crowd gathers.

 Nico Alonzi follows Rosemary in his Lancia Stratos  replica.
 Xerxes Matten in Datsun heads off to the alps

Gordon Glen Volvo

John Brown & Bob Thomson in Riley 1.5 going to Dumfries

James and Peter Meggat prepare for start in their Chrysler Sunbeam

Alex Knox in Singer Chamoix heads to Loch Lomond

Tom Bicket Anglia on way to Dumfries

  Steve Lee Triumph TR4 picks up speed

Scott Fanning and Hugh Liddle would go on to secure Best Car award in this ready for action example of the Hillman Imp.

Graeme Gallaoway's Anglia
Paisley cheers Monte Carlo starters - 23 January
Story - Jim Paterson. Photos - Jim Paterson, Peter Baker 

Paddy Hopkirk flags off another starter on the Monte Carlo Start in Paisley

Around 10000 people from Paisley and Glasgow turned out on a chilly evening to watch some 70 classic cars roll over the ramp for the Glasgow Start of the Monte Carlo Historique, the only UK start point of the famous rallye event.

Waving the flag to start each entrant was Rally legend Paddy Hopkirk,having recovered from the previous evening pre Gala  Dinner in the Blythswood Hotel. This years Monte Carlo Historique celebrates the 50th anniversary of Paddy's win in 1964 when he drove a Mini Cooper S with Henry Liddon at his side.  

First away  was Jim Wilson in his Standard 10 course car, which had been on display ,and attracting a lot of interest in the Blythswood Hotel foyer. He took off at 1745, 15 minutes ahead of the pack, on the 1670 mile journey to the south of France.

Heading on to the ramps after he left was another rallying legend, Rosemary Smith.She felt completely at home behind the wheel of a Hillman Imp, also celebrating its 50th anniversary, being built just down the road at Linwood. Glasgow Start coordinator and  CCHMSC member Douglas Anderson was doing the navigating for Rosemary who drove this little car on many rallys in the sixties and seventies, securing a fair number of wins as well.

The crowds then cheered the first batch of cars heading off on the 'Full Monty' with car number 9 Xerxes Matten and Janes Aquilina crewing a Datsun 240Z. Local men Gordon and David Glen from Alexandria were next away in their Volvo 122S, quickly followed by another local man, Malcolm Oswald in a Riley 1.5 with Victor Juhasz reading the notes. The UK crew of Tom Fitzsimmons and Stewart Hutton chose another earlier version of the Swedish Volvo, a PV544 (see above), before the French crew Jean-Marc Humbert and Staphanie-Pey Ravier chased them down the road in their BMW1802.  Andre Grangeon and Jean -Pierre Grangeon in a Porsche 924 turbo led the last Historique car of locals Rick Pearson and Stuart Pringle in a Lancia Fulvia 1.3S

Alan Duncan and Catherine Laszock in Toyota Celica heading for Monaco

CCHMSC run a Heritage tour that allows classic enthusiasts and members to join the celebrations,and this year put on the Heritage Runs, on a tour from Ecosse to Monaco at a more leisurely pace than  the main event, over a slightly easier route, but taking in some of the key 'must see' points to view the action. Included in the crews was Alan Duncan, who many of our regular visitors know for his enthusiasm for all things 'classic car' and the many photographs he takes of many events. He has two 1970's Celicas and this yellow variant is going all the way to the south of France. We all hope they get there,trouble free if possible.

The second run followed the Monte route as far as the Dumfries welcome point at the Auldgirth Inn, using the original route of the fifties and sixties to Kilmarnock and Dumfries. For those wishing to experience a taste of the alpine roads,we put on a run to lochLomond that took in the 'Campsie Alps' .        

Paddy waved each car over the ramp, with Renfrewshire's  Provost Anne Hall, in full regalia, at his side to wish the starters good luck.

Those heading south soon got a taste of what they
may find  in the alps, when  snow met them on the A77 toward Kilmarnock. Fortunatyely it dissappeared on the A76 toward Dumfries but was a great taster.

Amongst the crews were Imp specialists Clark Dawson and Rob Dixon who have done much work on Rosemary's works Imp. This time they brought their Imp powered Clan Crusader.
Checkout here for more on their work
Heritage runner
Andy Thomlison and Darren Mcguiness in an MGB/GT on the Ecosse to Monaco tour experienced electrical difficulties down by Dumfries and soon after the Auldgirth stop had to pull over.

Fortunately Ranald White, a veteran of the 2013 tour to Monaco, was passin in his V8 powered Ford Popular, and pulled over to help. Being an auto electrician he soon found a short circuit in the wiring to one of the rear number plate lamps. One lamp will do as he isolated the fault. The MGB was also suffering starting problems so a replacement starter motor is being shipped out to one of the overnights in France. Lets hope its not snowing as it won't be th ebest of fun lying under the car changing a starter motor.

Those heading north to Loch Lomond were routed over to Lennoxtown and up the Crow Road over the Campsies. Now the temperature was dropping like a stone and Ian wishart and Keeny mitchel must have wodered if leaving the soft top at home was a good idea ! My modern organiser car was screaming zero degrees. and the 40 year old cars with no Dynamic Stability control, ABS or any other driving aid, apart from driver skill, found the slipping and sliding, with 'twitching' back ends a real reminder of what it must be like on the special regularity stages of the Monte Carlo event. In the dark only added to the interest. Fortunately only the classic crews were around at the time, apart from a grit spreader coming from the other direction.

It was great to hear the stories at the Coffee Shop in Luss where we ended the tour with a much needed plate of hot soup and a cup of tea.

You can follow the reports of the tour to Monaco as journalist Peter Baker, who is taking part in the event in his 1976 Porsche 924, with reports on his website

More stories of the event to follow as they head south to the channel and into France.


Watch a video of the build up to the start, and Paddy hoppkirk waving off the starters, including the Hillman Imp driven by Rosemary Smith.

Or - search for Monte Carlo Classic Rallye start Paisley 2014

Video courtesy of  CCHMSC club member Mark Hoogiemstra.

Full Entry List available HERE

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Updated 26 January 2014