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The history of UK Touring Car racing


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#1 kayemod

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 18:21

This might interest a few TNFs, the earlier stuff at least, ITV4 are running three one hour programmes on the history of what for some never explained reason, we have to refer to as "Touring Car" racing in the UK. Coverage begins at 8pm on Wednesday February 5th with what they say was "The first ever such race in late 1957", but didn't we all refer to it as Saloon Car Racing back then?

 

A warning though, it's narrated by Tiff Needell, a good bloke, but I'm not too sure about the thought of listening to him for a solid hour.

 

For me, any interest in UK tin-top racing began with Mk 2 3.8 Jags and later green-striped Lotus Cortinas and ended with the disappearance from the events of E30 BMW M3s, but there may be a few here who still watch the sad and unprincipled demolition derby that the series has declined into.

 

I'll give the first one a chance, but will probably have gone long before today's ludicrous facsmilies of Seat and Chevrolet shopping trollies start banging plastic panels and trying to nerf each other off the track. The word nerf is a proper "Touring Car" racing word by the way, I think it originally comes from the early days of NASCAR, which for all I know our American friends may refer to as "Good ole USA Touring Car racing", but it was a term used all the time in my teens and early 20s UK slot racing days.

 

But do you own a "Touring Car"? I think I do, though as far as I know, the only time that any car nominally similar to mine actually raced was a few years ago when the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft or German DTM series still allowed two-door cars.

 

I'm off now, at the wheel of my "Touring Car".



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#2 arttidesco

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 18:33

I remember when touring cars turned for the worse, it was a race at Brands being broadcast by the beeb who, completely coincidentally I am sure, had one of their silly radio jocks embedded in an E30 BMW M3 and he gleefully told viewers how he was going to give some unfortunate competitor in his way a "love tap" to remind the competitor he was "there". If I'd been involved with the RAC I'd have demanded the idiot had his licence revoked for life for making contact, but I was told by non motorsport 'punters' not to be silly 'cause it made for good telly :confused:



#3 elansprint72

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 19:12

Which country actually calls them "touring cars"? Surely in the US they are known as "sedans". I suspect that my interest will wane when the Golf Gti starts to get established.

 

This one is for you Rob: Alex Postan showing his sense of humour. If the spelling were different, so would be the price it could be sold for.

 

12169093223_231a3015ed_c.jpg


Edited by elansprint72, 27 January 2014 - 19:12.


#4 Alan Cox

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 19:23

Mentioned previously on here last year...

http://forums.autosp...4/#entry6445556



#5 kayemod

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 19:45

Mentioned previously on here last year...

http://forums.autosp...4/#entry6445556

 

Hardly surprising if has been mentioned before, though I missed it. Someone can merge the threads if they like.

 

I'm still wondering what Pete has against Mk 1 Golf GTis.



#6 elansprint72

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 22:00

Hardly surprising if has been mentioned before, though I missed it. Someone can merge the threads if they like.

 

I'm still wondering what Pete has against Mk 1 Golf GTis.

Nothing against the Golf, imho that's when all the "Touring Cars" started to get boring- might be something to do with electronic control boxes coming in; it was the start of cheque-book tuning and racing.



#7 pete53

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 22:16

This might interest a few TNFs, the earlier stuff at least, ITV4 are running three one hour programmes on the history of what for some never explained reason, we have to refer to as "Touring Car" racing in the UK. Coverage begins at 8pm on Wednesday February 5th with what they say was "The first ever such race in late 1957", but didn't we all refer to it as Saloon Car Racing back then?

 

Yes, I always thought of them as "saloon cars" but I have just had a quick look at a couple Autosports dating from 1963 and there is a "Touring Car Seasonal Survey" and an advert by Jaguar which refers to the achivements of the Mk 2 in "touring" car racing as well as mention of the European "Touring" Car Championship, so it appears both terms were being used back then.



#8 Catalina Park

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 22:22

Could the title 'Touring Cars' have migrated to England from Australia in the 1990's?

#9 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 22:27

Could the title 'Touring Cars' have migrated to England from Australia in the 1990's?

Only with the tiddler Tourers
The ATCC goes back to the 60s at least.

#10 Catalina Park

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 22:41

Whoosh.

#11 Bloggsworth

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 22:44

My interest was sparked by Geoff Williamson and Doc Shepherd sticking it to the Jags in their Austin A40s, somehow the A35s couldn't quite manage it in '57.


Edited by Bloggsworth, 27 January 2014 - 22:45.


#12 Frank de Jong

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 12:58

That's the first time I realize that I own a BMW 3-series Touring. How fitting...



#13 Vitesse2

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 13:11

The FIA were talking about regulating 'touring cars' separately from 'sports cars' as early as the 1940s: pre-war there was no distinction. 'Saloon cars' is a peculiarly British term, after all: most of the major English-speaking nations - USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand - call them sedans!



#14 BRG

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 16:41

If we had stuck to the term 'saloon cars', it would have precluded any hatchback or coupe (or even estate car!).  So no Sierra RS500, no XJS, no RX-7, no Rover SD1.....



#15 Derwent Motorsport

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 17:36

Surely I can remember touring cars (saloons/production) races as far back as I can remember as a toddler in the early 50s? Certainly before 57.



#16 nicanary

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 18:28

Surely I can remember touring cars (saloons/production) races as far back as I can remember as a toddler in the early 50s? Certainly before 57.

I think the 1957 definition comes from the inaugural British Saloon car Championship which was for the 1958 season, but which had an opening round in December 1957. Presumably a definitive starting point was required, and this was considered "it".

 

I also distinctly recall the saloon races held annually at the International Trophy meetings going back to 1952. They were called Touring Car Races, and there were separate events for Production Sports Cars.



#17 David McKinney

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 19:15

'Saloon cars' is a peculiarly British term, after all: most of the major English-speaking nations - USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand - call them sedans!

They were certainly saloons in NZ when I were a lad, though Australian influences may since have turned them into sedans

#18 Vitesse2

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 19:21

I think the 1957 definition comes from the inaugural British Saloon car Championship which was for the 1958 season, but which had an opening round in December 1957. Presumably a definitive starting point was required, and this was considered "it".

 

I also distinctly recall the saloon races held annually at the International Trophy meetings going back to 1952. They were called Touring Car Races, and there were separate events for Production Sports Cars.

The first actual saloon car races in Britain were at Brooklands: one make affairs for Talbot Tens and Fiat Topolinos.

They were certainly saloons in NZ when I were a lad, though Australian influences may since have turned them into sedans

"We are now landing at Auckland Airport ... please set your watches back twenty years."  ;) :p



#19 RS2000

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 19:25

So according to ITV4 it's a figment of my imagination that I was at one in September 57.....

Edited by RS2000, 28 January 2014 - 19:25.


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#20 BRG

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 19:52

The first actual saloon car races in Britain were at Brooklands: one make affairs for Talbot Tens and Fiat Topolinos.

So much for the perennial complaint that one make series are a dreadful modern invention that is undermining proper motor racing!



#21 Ray Bell

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 20:03

The term 'saloon cars' was barely used when I first went to race meetings in the early sixties...

 

Some commentary at Warwick Farm referred to that title, but elsewhere it was very rarely heard. Though I think Will Hagon will sometimes come out with it even today.

 

But we read of 'saloon cars' in the UK. The term 'sedan' was very rarely used in relation to racing, it's never used today. 

 

I doubt that I'm alone among 50+year racing enthusiasts in this country who've only ever called them 'touring cars'.

 

Oh yes, congratulations to Michael...



#22 GMACKIE

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 20:27

In Australia, 'Touring car' racing - up to 1964 - was known as Appendix 'J'. Sedans with a engine capacity of over 1300cc needed to have four doors. 'Grand Touring' cars were known as Appendix 'K'.

 

Some race announcers [such as 'Cummo'] sometimes called the Touring cars "Tin-Tops", but to my recollection they were mostly called Touring cars.



#23 Vitesse2

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 21:22

So much for the perennial complaint that one make series are a dreadful modern invention that is undermining proper motor racing!

Yep - although those were one-offs. Motor Sport thought the Topolinos were "boring" though. However, there was also a series in France in 1939. Renault Juvaquatres with lady drivers.



#24 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 23:29

To me road racing in Oz were always Touring Cars. Yet on Speedway they raced Saloon Cars up until the early 80s. Though the cars at that time seldom represented much at all. And then became Super Sedans, a term still used. Very much characature cars. Many look sort of like the original but no standard panels would fit. Everything is widened!

The NZ sedans were written as Saloons and or Tourers in the old magazines I have read from late 60s on.Depends on the writer though possibly.

#25 scheivlak

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 00:25

The FIA were talking about regulating 'touring cars' separately from 'sports cars' as early as the 1940s: pre-war there was no distinction. 'Saloon cars' is a peculiarly British term, after all: most of the major English-speaking nations - USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand - call them sedans!

I've been following motorsport (or whatever one might call it) since the mid 60s and at that time they were always called 'Toerwagens' here in the Netherlands.



#26 Ray Bell

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 03:06

Oh, that's right...

 

We have a 'Saloon Cars' category here now if I'm correct. It's a step up from HQs, Ford versus Holden as usual, 6-cylinder cars with limited (but reasonably useful) modifications allowed.



#27 David Shaw

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 03:59

As far as Australia goes, the earliest record I have is of the 'One Mile Handicap for Saloon Cars' at Sellick's Beach in South Australia, October 10th 1934. The 'Australian Stock Car Championship' was a support for the 1939 AGP at Lobethal. So we have there terminology more in line with the UK and USA.

The earliest use of the term 'Touring Car' in Australia that I can find is the 'Hannan Bros Saloon and Touring Car Handicap' at Port Wakefield on October 12th 1954. It then seems that Port Wakefield was the only venue using the term, until it started to spread to NSW and Victoria in late 1956 and then to other states.



#28 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 07:28

Oh, that's right...
 
We have a 'Saloon Cars' category here now if I'm correct. It's a step up from HQs, Ford versus Holden as usual, 6-cylinder cars with limited (but reasonably useful) modifications allowed.

You are right. I ignore them most of the time. Though do know quite a few competitors. And I was an engine sealer for a short while too.

#29 BRG

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 11:48

If we go back to the early days of motoring, there were many different names for differing types of car, many inherited from the days of horse drawn transport.  So brougham, landaulette, and so on.  Sedan presumably came from sedan chair.

 

By the 1920s, in the UK at least, a tourer was probably understood to be an open top 4/5 seater, and affixing a permanent hard top made it a saloon.  Grand tourers were just more expensive versions - snobbery has always been a factor!



#30 Gregor Marshall

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 18:59

In the '50s the Cibie Cup was more important to win and even into the '80s it was still the British Saloon Car Championship (BSCC).
In my mind, BTCC started when TOCA get involved and a lot of people got very rich and formed a monopoly by not allowing certain series to race at certain tracks.

#31 arttidesco

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 21:10

'Saloon cars' is a peculiarly British term,

 

Good enough for me :up:



#32 GMACKIE

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 22:06

We used to have Saloon Bars in the pubs here, where the ladies could have a drink. :cool:



#33 Ray Bell

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 00:23

Going through John Medley's Bathurst book...

 

1950 - Closed Cars

1951 - Easter: Production Closed cars; October: Closed Cars

1952 - Production Closed Cars

1954 - 1959 - Sedan Cars

1960 and later - Touring Cars (the year the 'Australian Touring Car Championship' was introduced, along with tighter rules)



#34 David Wright

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 21:48

Well I enjoyed it.  Of course covering more than 2 decades in less than an hour meant coverage was rather thin and patchy but given this constraint I think they did a good job.



#35 Derwent Motorsport

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 22:16

I thought it was very good. It was great to see many of the past masters looking so fit. I will look forward to the next episode although perhaps the third one will cover the time when it started to become a circus and not a motor race.



#36 pete53

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 22:50

I was a little disappointed to find that most of the 60s footage was stuff I'd seen before, mainly culled from the "Year of the Cortina" and "Motor Racing 60s Style" videos, although I half expected this. I'm not sure if that's because it's easy to access that material or there simply isn't much else out there? Also, although it may not have been appropriate to go into too much technical detail, just a little bit of background information on how touring car regulations changed and developed would have helped add some context - e.g. the advent of group 1 in 1974 to replace the increasingly expensive, and declining, group 2 of the day.

 

That's the gripes out the way. It was good to hear from the likes of Sears, Neal, Spice , Whitmore, Rouse etc. And, to have 3 hours devoted to touring car racing in prime time is not something to be sniffed at.



#37 RS2000

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 23:33

Yes, history it was not.
Good laugh: Rouse still, after all this time, attempting to defend Walkinshaw's Volvo rockers on Rover 3500.

#38 TimRTC

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 23:36

It was all very interesting to me, loved the footage of the circuits as was and the shootout at the end of the first season to decide the champion.

 

I was glad to see some proper interviews with racers of the period, not just interviewing modern drivers or 'racing journalists' about their thoughts on the era.



#39 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 03:03

We used to have Saloon Bars in the pubs here, where the ladies could have a drink. :cool:

We still do here in SA. Where both the women and ladies can have a drink!

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#40 BRG

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 18:37

Well I enjoyed it.  Of course covering more than 2 decades in less than an hour meant coverage was rather thin and patchy but given this constraint I think they did a good job.

I suppose that it is a function of how much recorded material is available that means that the oldest eras have been covered in less detail than the more modern eras will be.  Pity that Alan Mann Racing seems to have been missed out - I was hoping to see those Escorts.



#41 David Wright

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 19:55

I suppose that it is a function of how much recorded material is available that means that the oldest eras have been covered in less detail than the more modern eras will be.  Pity that Alan Mann Racing seems to have been missed out - I was hoping to see those Escorts.

 

I agree and there is film of the 1968 season available.



#42 Gary C

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 08:30

it's a pity they didn't get hold of me, I have a fair bit of touring car / saloon car racing film ready to be used in tv programmes:  www.superchargedcollection.com Check out the 2nd compilation under the 'Film Clips' tab for starters.



#43 2F-001

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 09:25

Leaving the saloons aside for a moment, there are some lovely moments in that selection (2nd), aren't there Gary? Such as Ronnie drifting around North Tower - and I don't think I've seen footage of the P69 actually moving before.

#44 Gary C

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 09:36

Indeed. That shot of Ronnie is absolutely fab. I think there's a bit more footage of the P69, too.



#45 kayemod

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Posted 14 February 2014 - 17:59

For reasons too complicated to explain, I wasn't able to either watch or record the second part of this trilogy, after having been surprised and impressed how enjoyable the first one was, I thought it was done really well. Slightly surprised to see no comment at all on this thread about part 2, did they maintain the standard? I've searched as far ahead as I could, but these programmes don't seem to be repeated, anyone know any better? I know it will be on some ITV-Player thing, but I spend quite enough time in front of a computer screen as it is, and would much prefer a proper TV version if such a thing exists.



#46 Glengavel

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Posted 14 February 2014 - 18:19

If we go back to the early days of motoring, there were many different names for differing types of car, many inherited from the days of horse drawn transport.  So brougham, landaulette, and so on.  Sedan presumably came from sedan chair.

 

By the 1920s, in the UK at least, a tourer was probably understood to be an open top 4/5 seater, and affixing a permanent hard top made it a saloon.  Grand tourers were just more expensive versions - snobbery has always been a factor!

 

The British Sedan Chair Championship - now that would be worth watching.



#47 Charlieman

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Posted 14 February 2014 - 18:57

Slightly surprised to see no comment at all on this thread about part 2, did they maintain the standard?

 

I'll cautiously rise to the bait... I don't think a direct comparison with the first part is appropriate. The events had changed -- more manufacturers with a greater commitment, more professional drivers, single class -- which came across in the commentary. Naturally, the video quality was generally better and the editors had more choice. Sadly, they tended to repeat some of the more controversial racing incidents. Some of the drivers came across as unconvincingly as they did in the period. Part two ended with the period when I stopped making an effort to watch touring cars on TV.

 

Part one highlights for me were the interview quotes from John Whitmore.



#48 Mallory Dan

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Posted 14 February 2014 - 19:48

Storm up here, so my SkyBox wasn't v good. Not bad at all I thought, tho' I'd lost most interest in Saloon Cars after about 1984...



#49 RS2000

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Posted 14 February 2014 - 19:50

I didn't even bother to watch more than the beginning of Part 2. Any series that covers the 50s and 60s and is well into the 70s in the first episode can have nothing for me in a second and third programme. I want to hear about what happened BEFORE I saw it routinely on TV, not the re-covering of all too familiar ground. No doubt the third programme will merely glorify the disgraceful conduct of more recent years. We have already endured one interview with the architect of falling driving standards - who,outrageously,was later put in the chair of the undemocratic MSA.



#50 David McKinney

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Posted 14 February 2014 - 19:55

I know it will be on some ITV-Player thing, but I spend quite enough time in front of a computer screen as it is, and would much prefer a proper TV version if such a thing exists.

iPlayer works on my TV as well as via computer. Probably to do with the money I pay Sir Richard Branson every month :)