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RAC Rally 1973

Our expertise in filming rallies from filming both the Monte Carlo Rally and the Safari Rally became well-known within the motor industry and we were approached by Toyota, based in Croydon, to film the R.A.C. Rally which took place in November 1973. The rally nearly didn’t take place due to the oil crisis which began in October, in the end authorities gave permission, while many other rallies were cancelled.

I recruited Tony Mander, Ronnie Collins, who was now freelance, and Tony’s friend Dick Pope.  Dick was a recently converted camera assistant out on one of his first jobs as a cameraman. Years later, Dick would become Director of Photography on feature films in the U.K.

We were based in York.  The hotel was selected by Toyota’s Public Relation Manager David Farquar.  It was literally next door to York Minster.  Each morning we were woken by the blast of sound from the cathedral bells.

Toyota had lent us three cars for our crew to use.  We had two station wagons and a saloon.  I had the saloon, it was a Carina and was new that year with only 7,000 miles on the clock.

When we finished shooting the rally, Toyota offered me the car at a discount price.  I paid £1,100 for it when it was £1,500 new.  As soon as I agreed to buy the car, they took it to their Derby Road works and practically disassembled it.

English: Toyota Carina in Castle Hedingham

Toyota Carina (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Re-building the car, they replaced anything and everything that, they thought, need replacement.  I got a new car.

The Rally roamed all over the north and west of the British Isles.  First they went off to Wales, to Llandidrod Wells, then back to York  and then to Scotland via the Kielder Forest. The 1880 mile race started with 198 teams and finished with 98.  Timo Mäkinen and Henry Liddon won in the Ford Escort RS1600.

We produced a one-hour film which some people said was too long, but I reasoned that, as the film was to be shown to rally enthusiasts, it could not be too long.

The film was premièred in Glasgow to a selected audience of people involved in the Motor industry and motor sports.  They applauded at the end and the host asked them if it was too long.  Unanimously, they shouted “No !”

© Terence Gallacher and, 2012.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Terence Gallacher and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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