Graham Robson Sir William Lyons enjoyed a seemingly unstoppable rise to fame and fortune in the motor industry, and the Jaguar brand that he introduced became world-famous. Yet it did not happen overnight. In the 1920s he was in Blackpool, styling motorcycle sidecars, and in the 1930s in Coventry developing the SS motor car, with the stand-alone Jaguar company not appearing until 1945. The company's success was aided by the amazing new XK engine of 1948, by motor racing success at Le Mans, and by the stunning styling of cars like the XK120, the Mk 2 saloons and the extraordinary E-Type. Graham Robson here explores the history of the Jaguar company and its many classic marques.
Graham Robson This is a comprehensive study of the career of one type of rally car – the BMC Mini-Cooper/Mini-Cooper S. In the 1960s the Mini became famous as Britain's most successful rally car. It combined superb handling, a tiny body shell, high-performance engines and the excellence of front-wheel-drive in an irresistible package. Not only this, but the works team included famous drivers like Paddy Hopkirk, Timo Makinen and Rauno Aaltonen.
The works Minis not only won the Monte Carlo three times – 1964, 1965 and 1967 – along with the European Rally Championship in 1965, but also won events all over the world. Because Minis were British, and well-promoted, they became seen as giant-killers, and were the people's favourite for many years. The car outpaced many of its rivals, and this book examines exactly who they were, and how they came to be defeated by the ‘mighty Mini.'
Even today, works Minis appear at every gathering of classic cars – and in 2009, Mini celebrates its 50th birthday. Packed with over 100 photographs, this book is a fitting and timely tribute to a much-loved Rally Giant.
Graham Robson This book describes the birth, development and rallying career of the Lancia Stratos, Europe s very first purpose-built rally car, in the mid/late 1970s, providing a compact and authoritative history of where, when and how it became so important to the sport. Written by a world renowned motoring historian and heavily illustrated this is a key work on this subject.
Graham Robson When Fiat entered rallying in 1970, its ultimate aim was to become World Rally Champion – and the 131 Abarth of 1976-1980 provided the machinery to make that possible. Within the Fiat-Lancia empire, the 131 Abarth not only replaced the 124 Abarth Spider sports car, but was also favoured ahead of the charismatic Lancia Stratos. By 1970s standards, the 131 Abarth was the most extreme, and effective, of all homologation specials. Compared with the 131 family car on which it was originally based, it had different engine, transmission and suspension layouts, was backed by big budgets and by a team of superstar drivers, and was meant to win all round the world.
Not only did it start winning World rallies within months of being launched, but in 1977, 1978 and 1980 the 'works' team also won the World Championship for Makes, and set every standard by which Rally Giants were to be judged. The 131 Abarth was backed by a peerless team of engineers, so was there ever any doubt that successors like the Lancia Rally 037 and the Delta Integrale would eventually come from the same stable?
Graham Robson This book describes the birth, development, and rallying career of the original Ford Escort, one of Europe‘s Landmark Rally Cars in the early 1970s, providing a compact and authoritative history of where, how and why it became so important to the sport.
Graham Robson Escort RS1800 (Escort MkII) : This is a Rally Giant because it was consistently the fastest, most successful and most versatile car in the second half of the 1970s. Developed from the MkI, it was a conventional front engine/rear drive machine, which rallied with 2-litre engines of up to 270bhp. Rally successes were legendary – British (RAC), Safari, Acropolis, Finland (1000 Lakes), Sweden, Portugal, Canada, and many more. The cars won 17 World Rallies between 1975 and 1981. RS1800s won the World Makes Championship in 1979, and were always close to victory, always competitive. Escort drivers like Bjorn Waldegard (1979) and Ari Vatanen (1981) won the World Drivers' Championships. Over the years hundreds – and this is no exaggeration – of RS1800s were built for motor sport, and were the ideal car for almost any condition in the world because they were very powerful, but simple and rugged. The RS1800 was also the layout template which was copied by other manufacturers for cars like the Talbot Sunbeam-Lotus, the Vauxhall Chevette HSR and the Nissan GTs of the late 1970s/early 1980s, which were really all Escort 'clones'.
Ford claims, and it may be right, that RS1800s have won more rallies, at World, International and National level than any other car in the world.
Graham Robson In the 1960s the Cortina was an entirely new type of British car, light yet strong, cheap to buy yet roomy. It established a new class of car - the 'Cortina Class' - and Ford's rivals had to rush to compete. Not only was the Cortina the first, it was the best, too; a fascinating, ever-evolving project around which Ford-Europe's planning always revolved. Here, for the first time in a book, are all the facts, figures, images and legends of the Cortina story. With over 180 colour and black and white photos this is the fascinating story of a incredibly successful car.
Graham Robson The Audi Quattro is a Rally Giant because it was the first to combine four-wheel-drive and a turbocharged engine – not the most sophisticated, but it was the first, and very successful. It was also the first to run with more than 300bhp. As it was re-homologated/transformed from Group 4 into Group B in 1983, it was also the first successful Group B car. The Quattro dominated rallying from the start of 1981 until late 1984 (when the Peugeot 205 T16 took over). Quattros won no fewer than 23 World rallies from 1981 to 1985, won the Makes Championship in 1982 and 1984, and drivers Hannu Mikkola (1983) and Stig Blomqvist (1984) also won the World Drivers' series in Quattros. The Quattro led the World and European rally scene in the first half of the 1980s.
Graham Robson This is a comprehensive study of the career of the Toyota Celica GT-Four. Starting in 1988, three generations of this effective turbocharged four-wheel-drive car – known by enthusiasts as ST165, ST185 and ST205 types – fought for World Championships, and were amazingly successful for almost a decade.
All types combined high-performance, great reliability, and superb preparation by Toyota Team Europe (based in Cologne, Germany), their 300bhp/four-wheel-drive chassis package being among the best in the world. Over the years, the cars won some of the roughest events in the world (such as the Safari and the Acropolis), and were also supreme on tarmac, snow and ice, including Monte Carlo.
After fighting a running battle with Lancia for years, the Celicas won the World Manufacturers' Championship twice. Its famous drivers included Carlos Sainz (World Champion in 1990 and 1992), Juha Kankkunen (Champion in 1993) and Didier Auriol (Champion in 1994).
Never far from controversy, and at times embroiled in technical and regulatory disputes, these cars brought real glamour to the colourful sport of rallying, and were only replaced by an even higher-tech Toyota – the Corolla World Rally Car – in 1997.
Graham Robson Lasting six weeks, and covering 16,000 miles from London to Mexico City via some of the most varying, tortuous and difficult terrain on three continents, the 1970 World Cup Rally was a unique high-speed event, attracting many serious works teams such as Ford and British Leyland.
Despite the tremendous amounts of money spent choosing and developing new cars, completing months-long route surveys, and analysing every detail of diets, oxygen provision, and the number of crew members, out of an entry of more than 100 cars, only 23 cars made it to the finish.
It was then, and remains now, the toughest rally of all time.
Graham Robson In nine eventful years – 1957 to 1965 – the six-cylinder-engined Austin Healey evolved into a formidable and increasingly specialised rally car. By any standards, it was the first of the ‘homologation specials’ – a type made progressively stronger, faster, more versatile, and more suitable for the world’s toughest international rallies. This is the story...