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


Ferrari 488 Pista Demonstrates That McLaren’s 720S Is Not Invincible

Although not exactly direct rivals, they’re both really fast and capable around the track, so it makes for an interesting comparison.

Toyota Corolla Hatch Gets New Gear Down Under, Starts At AUD $23,335

Equipped with new safety and convenience features, the updated Corolla will arrive at Aussie dealers on November 1.

2020 BMW 2-Series Gran Coupe Teased Ahead Of Tomorrow’s Debut

BMW is finally ready to fully embrace front-wheel drive sedans.

Hyundai And Kia Settle Class Action Lawsuits Over 2.0- And 2.4-Liter GDI Engines

The settlement covers approximately 4.1 million vehicles in the United States.

Audi Grounds Their Flying Car Project

The company has suspended work on the project and is reviewing their partnership with Airbus.

Pimp Your 2020 Chrysler Pacifica With Official Red S Edition Package For $3,995

The Red S Edition package is available for 2020 Chrysler Pacifica Limited gas and hybrid models and focuses mostly on the interior.

Morris Commercial Teases Their Carbon Fiber-Bodied Electric Delivery Van

The upcoming model draws inspiration from the 1950’s Morris J-type van.

Buick Puts Bigger Battery Into China’s Velite 6 EV, Extends Range To 255 Miles

The new version of Buick’s EV gains an 148 HP electric motor and a 52.5 kWh battery pack, which extends its range by 68 miles.

Jeep Gladiator XMT Unveiled As A Light Tactical Military Truck

The Gladiator XMT could go into production during the second half of next year.

Hyundai Nexo And Tucson FCVs Have Racked Up Over 8.4 Million Miles In The U.S.

Despite not selling in high numbers, mainly due to the limited refueling infrastructure, the two models have covered a distance equal to 17 round-trip journeys to the surface of the Moon.