HOW HISTORIC SALOON CAR RACING GOT STARTED
We rather take for granted the spectacle of full grids of immaculately (and very expensively) prepared historic Touring Cars in today's historic racing arenas. But was it always like this? I rather think not. Wind back the clock to the mid 1970s and you would see equally full grids - but the preparation techniques back in those days owed far more to the enthusiasm of the owner/driver/preparer than to the cheque books of the well-heeled historic 'Gentleman Racers' of today!
In the pioneering days of the Classic Saloon Car Club, donor cars were bought for just a few hundred pounds - or less! Preparation costs for a season may have run to as much as £600........ a far cry from the tens of thousands of pounds casually spent over a Season's racing nowadays. Cars were rarely trailed or transported to meetings as they often doubled-up as the everyday transport of the keen amateur racer. Preparation was basic. Cosmetic issues were left unattended, a secondary issue to finding a second-hand gearbox or buying some part-worn race tyres!
So if the cars were a little 'second-best' in comparison to today's beauty queens, did that ethos follow for the racing? Not a jot! Take a look at this charming and enlightening film - you'll see the same verve and competitiveness that hallmarks the HRDC 'Touring Greats' today. So not all that much has changed since those pioneering days - after all .................
Oh, and do watch closely - a very youthful Touring Car Champion getting his first talking to by a Clerk of the Course! Can you work out who it may be?