Mini Remembers Its First Monte Carlo Rally Win 50 Years On

Mini’s recent foray in the World Rally Championship was sadly a very short one, so the least the carmaker can do now is console itself with past triumphs. Of course, the recent Dakar wins are important, but by far its biggest rallying victory was the 1964 triumph in the Monte Carlo Rally with the legendary Paddy Hopkirk behind the wheel of the classic Mini rally car.

This month, Mini celebrates 50 years since that event, as on January 21 1964 the Mini Cooper S won the Monte Carlo Rally for the first time. Paddy Hopkirk and his co-driver Henry Liddon pulled off a big surprise, managing to win the world’s most famous rally in the small British car, beating rivals that were seen as superior.

Nevertheless, the nimble 90hp Mini Cooper felt at ease on Monte Carlo’s narrow winding mountain roads, winning it again in 1965 and 1967 with Timo Mäkinen and Rauno Aaltonen, respectively. For the United Kingdom, Mini’s first victory in Monte Carlo was a matter of national pride.

Hopkirk, now 80 years old, received a congratulatory telegram from the British government and even the Beatles were quick to congratulate him. “I got a telegram from the Beatles,” remembers Hopkirk. “That was followed by a photograph of the four of them autographed to me saying: ‘You’re one of us now, Paddy.’ And it’s very nice to have that nowadays,” the legendary driver recalls.

Hopkirk says the Monte Carlo victory was due too many factors, but the car’s lightness, nimbleness and size were crucial.

“Its front-wheel drive and front-mounted transverse engine were a great advantage, and the fact the car was smaller and the roads were ploughed, they were quite narrow, so I suppose that was an advantage,” the driver said. “The Mini was particularly good downhill, and all the tests were up and downhill, so what we lost going up, I think we made up for going downhill,” he adds.

By Dan Mihalascu

PHOTO GALLERY

2020 Cadillac CT5 Costs Nearly $10,000 Less Than The CTS

Tired of fighting the Germans head-on, Cadillac’s CT5 looks like a bargain.

Tuned BMW 640i Doesn’t Give A Hoot About The New 840i

Senner has made this 640i Convertible more powerful than its 8-Series counterpart.

Continental Says Fully Autonomous Cars May Not Arrive Before 2030

Tech needs to be improved, regulation put in place and the public must trust them – and that will take time.

New Lotus Sports Car Coming Late Next Year, Will Be Launched In 2021

The upcoming model could be a replacement for the Elise, Exige or Evora.

Alpina Once Considered Making A High-End Mini

Alpina couldn’t justify the complexity and cost involved in making its own version of the Mini.

Ford Unveils Their Smallest Ever Pickup, Could Be Launched Early Next Year… As An Emoji

Boasting a 0-60 mph time of never, Ford’s latest pickup could be headed to a smartphone near you.

2020 BMW 1-Series: New A-Class Rival Shows Us All Its Secrets

A huge, 179-image gallery shows BMW’s brand new entry level model in every detail.

Some 2019 Subaru Legacy And Outback Owners Could Get A Brand New Car – Here’s Why

Improper welding by robots may render the issue unfixable, in which case the cars will be replaced .

This 16k Mile, Manual 2003 BMW M3 E46 Is Stunning, But It’s Already Passed The $52k Mark

The owner of this BMW M3 has outfitted with a number of aftermarket modifications.

Tesla Drops Standard Range Model S And Model X From Lineup

The entry-level Tesla Model S now starts at $79,990 and the Model X starts at $84,990.