For being such a famous race, I had a surprisingly hard time finding details on the route, duration, etc. of the 1969 Monte Carlo Rally.
I did find the entry list and winners list at least, so I know that it was the 38th edition, took place between January 17th and 24th, took drivers over asphalt and snow, and obviously ended in Monte Carlo.
Björn Waldegård, or Waldegaard, as it is also commonly written, rallied from 1962 until 2008. He earned four out-right international victories, all in a Porsche 911S, the first of which was this 1969 Monte Carlo Rally. Interestingly, as one of his few races outside of rally, he took part in the 1970 Targa Florio, where he and Richard Attwood drove a Porsche 908/3 to a fourth place finish. His last race was in 2008, where he drove a Porsche 911 2.7RS in the Colin McRae Forest Stages Rally. Waldegård passed away in 2014 at the age of 70.
Here’s a quick rundown of what happened to the main players, courtesy of motorsportmagazine.com:
Elford and Stone, last year’s winners, crashed their Porsche into a tree, Mikkola and Porter drove their Escort off the road on the ice, Aaltonen and Liddon spun their Lancia over the edge of an unguarded drop and were miraculously held back by a tree, whereas their team mates Fall and Davenport did likewise only a short distance away, except that in their chosen spot there was no tree and the car rolled itself into pieces as it careered downwards. None of these Lancia crews were injured, which says much for the sturdiness of the present Fulvia.
The two works cars entered by B.M.W., 2002 TI models driven by ex-B.M.C. man Timo Mäkinen and ex-Scania Vabis man Ake Andersson, suffered severe brake fade and finally retired with complete loss of braking ability. It did seem that B.M.W. were looking upon the Monte as something of a taster—if they liked it they would order the full meal—and were obviously not putting all their resources into the event. Magnesium alloy wheels, for instance, could well have solved their brake cooling problems, but instead they stuck to the standard steel ones.
Readers of Motor Sport may not be all that familiar with the winning crew. Swedes Björn Waldegard and Lars Helmer. They have rallied in Britain several times, firstly in Volkswagens and then in Porsches before Scania Vabis (Swedish truck makers who used to import VWs and Porsches into Scandinavia) merged with Saab. They have been eminently successful in Scandinavia, and won last year’s Swedish Rally by an incredible margin.
Second place in what was called the Monte Carlo Rally went to former Alpine-Renault driver Gérard Larrousse who was also driving a Porsche for the factory, but since he was actually beaten on points by the winners of the “other” rally, we prefer to regard the Frenchmen as third overall.
The “other” rally referred to here is the Rallye Méditerranée, and was run on the same route with the same controls, etc. as the Monte Carlo, but on paper was a separate event in order to allow highly modified and not yet homologated cars to enter, since FIA rules stated only Group 1, 2, 3 cars were eligible for European Rally Championship consideration. The FIA didn’t recognize this split into two separate events, but the explanation given in the article quoted above doesn’t really clarify anything to me of the reasons. If you know more about this, feel free to enlighten me!
Either way, the outright winner on points was the Swedish duo driving the German car you see here, faithfully represented in resin by Spark.
The 911S was Porsche’s fuel injected, 2.2 version of the 911, making about 180 HP and 147 lb ft of torque. Not too shabby for a car that only weighed just over 1000 kilos!
This is my first experience with a Spark 1:18, and I’m not at all disappointed! All the details are there (just look at those dainty windshield wipers!), represented accurately. I still have to wrap my head around the fact that the wheels don’t move and nothing opens, but honestly, it spends 99% of its life sitting in my display cabinet so I’m sure I’ll get over it.
Speaking of the wheels, of all the photos I’ve seen of the car in the race, nowhere is it wearing the Fuchs Felge you see on the model, opting instead for regular steelies. They do show up on the victory photo, though. I don’t know why Spark chose the presentation Fuchs instead of the race steelies, but both wheels look amazing on this gen 911 so, again, I’m sure I’ll get over it.
Finally let’s just enjoy some 1969 rally footage from British Pathe. Sadly the film has no audio track, because I’m sure all these cars would’ve sounded beyond glorious. (The winning car shows up around the 0:34 mark)