Crowds braved the miserable weather in Glasgow’s George Square to wave off a host of classic cars on their way to the warmer climes of Monte Carlo.
A historic Mini from the 1960s led the vehicles off from the UK start point of the Monte Carlo Historique Rally, 53 years after its success in the 1967 event, driven by rally legend Paddy Hopkirk.
The car, with classic LBL 666D registration plate, has been restored back to its original BMC Competition Department specification by Hamilton-based enthusiast Mike Hyrons, who took it to Monte Carlo on the Historique event in 2017 – half a century after it finished 6th overall in Hopkirk’s hands.
On this trip, it is driven driven by Mike’s co-driver then, Pat Haley, with Mike’s son Christopher sitting alongside.
A total of 80 cars had gathered in George Square over the afternoon, with 13 taking on the epic 1300-mile drive trip to the south of France, and the rest taking part in a series of Heritage runs around Scotland.
Curious city centre commuters stopped to admire and take pictures of the vehicles as they sat on display.
Glasgow is the only British start point of seven European cities including Athens, Milan and Barcelona.
This year’s start is the tenth since it returned to Scotland and is being supported by Glasgow Life, the charity that delivers cultural, sporting and learning activities on behalf of Glasgow City Council.
Other support has come from Bridge of Weir Leather, Laurie Ross Insurance, Tayprint and Tunnocks.
Among the entries is Dundee GP Colin Levin, who will be driving his late father’s 1961 Austin A40, 25 years after he competed in the Monte in the same car.
His co-driver should have been brother Richard, but he broke his foot a few days ago. Luckily, Colin managed to recruit a valuable friend, Fergus Millar, as a last-minute replacement for the passenger seat.
Colin said: “It’s a great tribute to Dad to attempt the Monte in his car with the added bonus of leaving from Glasgow where he lived for 83 years.”
Event Director Douglas Anderson said: “Glasgow is one of Europe’s great cities and everyone involved in the organisation of this event is delighted to be back here for the 2020 start.
“Once again it will raise the profile of the city to an international audience and I’m sure the competitors’ send-off from George Square will be an occasion never to be forgotten. The Monte belongs to Glasgow”.
More information can be found at www.monte.scot