For anyone interested in the lesser known names of racing in the 1920s (and '30s) this new book will be a revelation.
'Charles Montier and his French Racing Fords' is available now direct from Amazon.
I first found the name C.Montier more than ten years ago listed as finishing 14th in the first ever Le Mans 24 hour race in 1923.
He was driving a Ford and at that time it could only have been a Model T!
So my curiosity was kicked into action; who would race a Model T Ford around Le Mans for 24 hours?
Who was C. Montier?
There was next to nothing on record in English, and very little in French but I persevered and bit by bit, unearthing old French car magazines and books I managed to put the story together.
I also tracked down many old photos, and an original sales brochure along with many ads and race reports from contemporary papers and magazines.
Further research filled in the details of the Montier family; Charles's father was a blacksmith, his brother Eugène was a partner in their garage businesses and his son Ferdinand also raced.
Montier modified and sold Fords and in the course of my research I tracked down a few surviving cars, found a couple of replicas and even exposed one that is a fake claiming a false identity with FIVA papers!
There is also a quite impressive list of competition results from races, sprints and hill climbs.
Along the course of my research I had a lot of help from a few people in France, especially Pierre who has restored one of the Montier cars. My plan had been to tell the story to the English-speaking world but Pierre suggested there would be enough interest in a French edition of the book too so I then translated the whole text into French (with Pierre's help proof reading) so now there are two versions of the same story.
For anyone interested the French version is titled 'Charles Montier: Sorcier de la Ford T'.
The Montier family were originally from Richelieu, a small historic town about 300kms south of Paris and coincidentally, the FFVE (the French national organising group for all car clubs) and some local dignitaries had decided to erect a commemorative blue plaque at the site of the old family blacksmith's forge on the edge of town and set a date to coincide with a biennial vintage car rally around the town over the first weekend in September.
Pierre asked if I could have the book published at the same time as it would add weight to the weekend's activities.
One thing led to another and I was invited as a 'guest of honour' and even though it is a long way to go from Australia for just a weekend, I gladly accepted ignoring the fact that the limited market for such a book meant that I would never recover the $6,000 I spent on flights and hotels.
Then, I was asked to make a speech in the town square, in French, in front of a hundred people!
Anyway, that all resulted in a great weekend, four Montier-Fords attended, quite possibly the largest number ever seen together, there was much food, wine and champagne, and we sold all fifty copies of the French book that I had arranged to be delivered for the event.
So for anyone interested the English copy is available here:
I look forward to any constructive comment and feedback.
Edited by ChrisMartin, 06 October 2022 - 01:18.