Apologies in advance as this is an extremely self indulgent blog post but hey, i'm gonna run with it!....
My Dad has a bunch of old slides that for the last 40 odd years have sat in a box in the attic. Because he no longer has a projector they've more or less stayed there, untouched and unseen for over 4 decades. The other day he decided to get a few of them scanned onto disc and emailed them to me. Dad being the car guy that he is emailed me the pictures of racing cars first and pictures of family second, which made me smile as much as the photo's themselves! I thought i'd share a few of them with you as each one came with a little snippet of a back story which, to me makes them all the more fascinating.
So, thanks to my Dad I've been into cars my whole life. In particular cars from the 60's and 70's - A real golden era of car design in my opinion. Probably because these are the cars I was surrounded by as a young kid in the hillclimb paddocks up and down the UK such as Shelsley Walsh, Prescott and Loton Park. In part that's why I find these images so interesting and of course because they're hugely personal.
Dad and a few of his friends served apprenticeships at 'the Austin' in the mid 60's and continued to work there into the 70's and beyond. In his 20's the Mini was the car to have.
The photo above was taken at Curborough sprint course in 1969. It was Dads first ever win, in the road-going production class in his completely standard 850cc Austin Mini.
A few months later and the Motorsport bug has clearly bitten. This is the same car with a few mods, namely a Weber carb, decent camshaft, oil cooler, sump guard and roll cage. The event is the Players No6 Autocross which apparently was a big national championship at the time. Dads friend ran the car the day before and it needed some repairs before the next day's competition. The car was brought home to the garage in Sutton Coldfield - Still working on the car at 2am he was sent to bed by his Mum!....but got up early and finished it in time for the Autocross.
Mallory park, 1970-ish. A friend was a mechanic for Ginetta and was looking after the 3 cars pictured. Dad was supposed to be studying for an electronics exam the next day but went to watch the racing instead, needless to say he failed the exam!
The MG Midget pictured below is the first dedicated competition car Dad and his friend built. It was completed in 1971. They did a few races in '72 but the engine never lasted the full length of a race and they couldn't afford the tyres so they decided to go hillclimbing instead!
Dads friend Kim still owns and competes in the car today.
One of Dads all-time rally heroes, Bjorn Waldegard somewhere in the Welsh forests in a Porsche 911
The picture below is of the first Ford that Dad owned (plus 2 little nephews). As a BMC guy, defecting to Ford was tantamount to treason! Apparently the bodywork on the car was a lot rougher than the picture would suggest and whilst trying tow another car to get it to start, the whole rear valence and bumper got ripped off!
Already considered a classic car back in the mid 60's this Singer was actually pretty advanced for its day and featured a single overhead camshaft. 30 miles an hour in this thing felt like 80!
So that's it for now, i'll leave you with a film Dad shot of an Autocross he organised in 1967 for the Austin Apprentices Car Club. Granted it's not the most riveting footage in the World and there's no sound but it's still worth flicking through a few seconds - this was real grass roots Motorsport.