It’s the Saturday morning after Burns Night. How do you top a late night celebration in honour of Scotland’s national bard? You head to Glasgow to see a collection of classic cars on display in the city centre before seeing them depart on a 2,000 mile rally bound for Monte Carlo.
The rally I am referring to is the Monte Carlo Classic Rally - also known quite simply as ‘The Monte’. It is one of the world’s most famous motorsport events with a rich 102 year history. Every year, a convoy of classic cars set off from four different starting cities (Glasgow, Copenhagen, Barcelona and Reims in 2013) with the ultimate goal of making it to the final destination, Monte Carlo. Entrants came from around the world, from places such as Australia, the Czech Republic, Malta and France.
I met up with my pal Robert early on Saturday at Edinburgh Waverley for a quick coffee to blow out the early morning cobwebs before we hopped on a train to Glasgow. Our first destination was Buchanan Street, where a selection of the cars competing in the event were on display. The sun was out and it was great to see a diverse crowd – a combination of passionate car enthusiasts and others who were simply curious passers-by.
Whilst there, I met and got to chat with one of the entrants, famous Australian V8 Supercar champion, Craig Lowndes. I found out it was Craig’s first time in Scotland and he had spent the past few weeks in Europe preparing for the event. He and his team mates (Gary Poole and Richard Davison) were looking to recreate history – their 48-215 (FX) Holden is a replica of the 1953 model that competed in the same rally 60 years ago.
After a quick lunch stop, Robert and I headed over to the People’s Palace which was to be the starting point for the event. From 2pm, the cars began their journey at one minute intervals. At the start line, each entrant was briefly interviewed to get some background information about their car and where they had travelled from and were then marshaled off by the Lord Provst of Glasgow, Sadie Docherty.
There were cars of all shapes and sizes competing in the event – including Porsches, Lancias, Mini Coopers, VW Beetles and Volvos to name just a few. One of the memorable stories in the souvenir brochure was a feature about two entrants who purchased their Porsche 924 Turbo for £500 on eBay!
Overall it was a fantastic day out with the attendance said to be approximately 15,000. You can keep up with the progress of the rally through Facebook or Twitter and you can find more photos I took on the day below: