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Canada rallies

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#1 Rupertlt1

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Posted 21 January 2022 - 18:38


THE British Empire Motor Club of

Toronto celebrated its 25th anniver-

sary by holding what was probably

the longest and most difficult rally

to take place to date on the North

American continent. The route lay

through two provinces, Ontario and

Quebec, and the State of New York, and

covered some 1,225 miles, with no time

allowed at check points. That only 19

out of 41 cars entered completed the

course gives some indication of the


Contestants left Toronto late on Friday

night, January 23, and drove to Rochester,

N.Y., via Buffalo. Next check point was

in Watertown, N.Y., after which com-

petitors drove over the St. Lawrence River

at the Thousand Islands Bridge to

Canada again. It had rained all night,

and the road into Montreal was almost

flooded and in poor condition. The next

check point was at  Maniwaki, Quebec,

among the Laurentian mountains. The

roads were hilly and winding, and there

was deep snow which had become icy

on the road-bed under the constant rain.

From Maniwaki to Peterborough, in

central Ontario, the road was partly a

reasonable facsimile of an Olympic bob-

sled run, and when it improved somewhat,

heavy fog took over. However, the

journey to Huntsville in Muskoka and

from there back to Toronto on Sunday

night, January 25, was fairly easy, though

exhaustion still took its toll.

In Class A (over 1,100 c.c.) four cars

finished without loss of points. These

were a Nash Rambler (J. and A. Fergu-

sson), M.G. TD (V. Jeffries and D.

Haddow), Sunbeam-Talbot (C. Stockey,

G. Ford), and a Monarch (S. Irvine, H.


Of the Class B (under 1,100 c.c.) cars

only a Morris Minor, driven by Bud

Sterling and "Jock" Campbell, completed

the rally without loss of marks. How-

ever, three more Minors finished, as well

as a new Austin Seven. All those who

finished received badge-bar emblems.

Though six clubs were invited, most of

the outside entrants came from the rival

Sports Car Club of Toronto. Five out-

of-town clubs manned check points, and

Sports Car Club of America members

provided much appreciated refreshments

at Rochester.

This was the first annual Canadian

winter rally sponsored by the B.E.M.C.

No driving tests were held this year to

determine outright winners, and those

who finished were divided into first and

second classes. As there will inevitably

be poor conditions in the Laurentians

every January, this rally may develop into

one of the most important on the North

American continent.

Autocar, 6 February 1953, Page 164




#2 BRG

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 12:17

I see that event passed through Peterborough, Ontario. To take the thread WAY off topic, I once stayed the night in a friend of a friend's house there in the early 70s.  There is an impressive boat lift there on the Trent-Severn Waterway and it was the first place I experienced the idea of phoning out for a pizza, an unknown practice in the Uk back then, and only seen in the movies.  Now the whole country subsists on meals delivered on scooters...........  and back to Canadian rallies.


There is a well established Canadian Rally Championship as well as regional championships although none of them get very large entries.  Given that Canada has the forest and mountain roads and the weather conditions ideal for the sport, it is a shame that it isn't a far bigger deal

#3 Manfred Cubenoggin

Manfred Cubenoggin
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Posted 22 January 2022 - 13:50

I was one of three crew with brothers Jeff & Wayne Christie at a checkpoint located only heaven knows where on the Canadian Winter Rally circa 1972.  Might have been somewhere near Calabogie or Kaladar.  Temps way, way below zero and in the early morning hours.  It was so cold that occasionally, we heard trees exploding from the sap crying enough.  We had some kind of gas heater installed to keep us from being frozen sold.


Hitchhiking to Mosport from my home in Bowmanville one day in the mid-60's, I was picked up by a fella who claimed he was a rally driver.  He was driving a 1963 Chevy Impala SS.  As best I recall, we were running close on 90mph in places.  Made it record time!  :)

#4 BRG

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Posted 22 January 2022 - 16:48

In the 1970s, Canada graced the WRC stage on four occasions.  In 1974, Sandro Munari (Stratos) won the Rally of the Rideau Lakes, then from 1977 to 1979, the Criterium du Quebec was taken by Salonen and Rohrl (Fiat 131) and Waldegaard (Escort).  Since then, nothing.  

Edited by BRG, 22 January 2022 - 16:48.

#5 Rupertlt1

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Posted 20 February 2022 - 05:38

Thousand Islands Rally, 11-12 October 1952, 37 starters

(Also 1000 Islands)

First run in 1952 as a navigational type event, with driving tests — Thanksgiving week-end:

"Shortly after noon on Saturday, October 11th, competitors began leaving Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal on the navigational portion of the Rally. Each route was approximately 210 miles in length. The Ottawa contingent took what was described as the scenic route, while the Montreal boys went south of the Border, into New York State, then West to the Thousand Islands Bridge, to Kingston. The Toronto competitors played hide and seek with #7 highway. This made a total of 37 starters. In the meantime, the St. Lawrence Automobile Club were getting things rolling at Kingston in readiness for the influx."

The rally converged on Kingston, Ontario — concluding on Sunday 12th October. This event was organised by C.A.S.C., (later run by St. Lawrence Automobile Club, continued up into the 1970s).

"An SCCA (Buffalo Region) man, Jim Ottman was the first arrival at

6.40pm. That started the rush as competitors checked in, picked up

accommodations, got supper etc. They were allowed an hour and a half

for all this before setting out on the Night Section. On this, each

competitor was handed a map which showed nothing but the route to be

followed. Some people are still trying to figure out the scale!"

"After the Night section, the cars were lined up in the Market

Square "Parc Ferme" overnight. While competitors and some officials

partook of refreshments and such at the Frontenac Hotel some of the

hardier officials began to inspect the cars for defects such as

leaking mufflers, poor lights, no hand brakes, bad tires and like items.

Some of these cheerful persons even changed a flat tire on a Toronto

competitor's car. The idea was to break up any ties but it didn't work!

(how can three people end up with 105.9 points each?)

The third section, Driving Skill, was held on Sunday afternoon on

Railway St. This consisted of acceleration, gear-changing, braking,

parking and manoeuvring in close quarters. All these tended to even

up any differences due to type or class; the results prove this.

After all this the cars returned to the Square so that officials

and competitors could take part in the Banquet at 7.00pm.

Each section of the Rally was scored separately and competitors

had a chance of winning a section as well as the whole Rally. The

overall winner was the man who had lost the lowest number of points

in all sections. This left Bill Cooper of the SCC.Toronto the winner.

His performance was remarkable and it was a well deserved win."



1st. William 'Bill' Cooper, Toronto, "accompanied by his three daughters and wife" — Austin A40, Sports Car Club (Toronto) — 36.7 points

Kingston Whig-Standard Trophy awarded by Mr. Arthur Davies, publisher, at the British-American Hotel.

2nd. C. F. 'Frank' Rolland/Mrs. Rolland, Montreal — Jaguar XK120, S.C.C.A. (Quebec) — 59.2 points

3rd. Paul O'Reilly, Ottawa — M.G. TC, gold colour, O.L.C.C. — 65.6 points

4th. L. G. Polack, Ottawa — M.G. TD, O.L.C.C. — 82.9 points

5th. W. Cole, — Ford Prefect, S.M.C.C. (Montreal) — 93.3 points

Joint 6th — 105.9 points:

Jack Carrothers, Ottawa — M.G. Y-type tourer, O.L.C.C.

M. Grinstead (thought to be Michael Grinstead), — Tatra, Sports Car Club (Toronto)

J. A. James 'Jim' Ottman, Tonawanda, NY, — Singer 1500, red colour, S.C.C.A. (N.Y.)

Night Section (40 miles)

1. C. Cole — Singer 1100, S.M.C.C. (Montreal) — 0 points

2. {C. F. 'Frank' Rolland, Montreal — Jaguar XK120, S.C.C.A. (Quebec) — 10 points

2. {M. Grinstead — Tatra,  Sports Car Club (Toronto) — 10 points

4. E. F. Patmore (thought to be Eric Patmore) — M.G. TC, Sports Car Club (Toronto) — 15 points

Day Section

1. W. E. Cooper, Austin A40, Sports Car Club (Toronto) — 7 points

2. C. F. Rolland, Jaguar XK120, S.C.C.A. (Quebec) — 23.5 points

3. Paul Lee, Sunbeam-Talbot, Sports Car Club (Toronto) — 24 points

Driving Skill Tests — Railway Street, Kingston 

1. Bernard S. van Marken — Standard "8", Sports Car Club (Toronto) — 9.1 points

2. W. E. 'Bill' Cooper — Austin A40, Sports Car Club (Toronto) — 9.7 points

3. F. 'Fred' Strutt — Fiat 500 wagon, Ottawa, O.L.C.C. — 9.9 points

Entries included:

Allard (no data)

Austin A30, A40 x2, A40 Bermuda, A90 Atlantic;

Austin fibreglass sports car, built and driven by Walter Wenninga, Quebec, S.M.C.C.

"It is entirely hand-built on an A-40 chassis and weighs only 1400 lbs."

For photograph see National Post (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) Sat 27 June 1953, Page 40.

A contender for the first fibreglass car built in Canada.

Bugatti Type 57, John Colenbrander, Ontario, Sports Car Club (Toronto) 

Fiat 500 wagon, Fred Strutt, Ottawa, O.L.C.C.

Ford Prefect (see above)

Hillman Minx x2;


Jaguar XK120 convertible and coupe;

Jowett Javelin (Ontario registered);

M.G. TC, TD, Y-type, custom-built Tickford M.G.;


Morris Minor, "Slim" Manson, S.M.C.C. (Montreal) 

Morris Oxford;  

Porsche coupe, Marshall Green, S.C.C.A. (Quebec Region)



Singer Roadster x2 (see above);

Standard Vanguard estate (thought to be Wing Commander Harold Pearce); 

Standard "8" — Bernard S. van Marken, seen in a Skoda at St Eugene in 1958, also 1960 (Skoda Octavia Super); at Mosport in 1961 in a Formula Junior Witton or Whitton; Shell 4000 Rally

Sunbeam-Talbot convertible, Paul Lee

Tatra (see above)


See The Link, journal of the Ottawa Light Car Club, Vol 2, No 10, November 1952 — with thanks to Mike Nilson.


The Kingston Whig-Standard (Kingston, Ontario, Canada) Thursday 9 Oct 1952, Page 17

The Kingston Whig-Standard (Kingston, Ontario, Canada) Tuesday 14 Oct 1952, Page 15



Edited by Rupertlt1, 14 March 2022 - 11:43.


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Posted 20 February 2022 - 09:48

Hi Rupert. This is interesting?  Anyone have any knowledge on this car?


"Austin fibreglass sports car, built and driven by Walter Wenninga, Quebec, S.M.C.C.

"It is entirely hand-built on an A-40 chassis and weighs only 1400 lbs."

For photograph see National Post (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) Sat 27 June 1953, Page 40.

A contender for the first fibreglass car built in Canada."


Regards, Tony.

#7 Rupertlt1

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Posted 13 March 2022 - 18:48

Thousand Islands Rally, 11-12 October 1952

Bill Cooper, the winner, was driving an Austin A40 Devon, registration 2A40.

He was well known on the Ontario sports car scene, raced an Austin A40 at Rattlesnake Point, 7 May 1950; he was "senior course marshal" at the Edenvale races, 3 September 1950.

The Porsche was driven by Marshall Green, S.C.C.A. (Quebec Region)

S.C.C.A. Sports Car, Jan-Feb 1953


Edited by Rupertlt1, 13 March 2022 - 18:51.

#8 Rupertlt1

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Posted 05 April 2022 - 16:16

A 1939 VA series 1½-litre M.G. Tickford drop-head coupé was acquired in Toronto by Rolland L. Jerry in 1947.

This car is described in some detail in The Autocar, January 19, 1951, Talking of Sports Cars, No. 333.

The car is easily distinguished by the side-mounted spare wheel forward of the 'suicide' door, on the offside from the driver who is seated on the 'English' side. Given the rarity of the vehicle this is likely the car that appeared on the 1000 Islands Rally in 1952. See Post #5.

Rolland Lewis Jerry (1924-2002), also owned a 1929 O.M.



Edited by Rupertlt1, 05 April 2022 - 16:27.