Apprenticeships in the 60s were considered a normal route to gain hands-on education in many forms of employment, and be paid at the same time,
New look Lloyds Garage,
Eccleshall Road side in the late 60s early 70s.
My Escort MKI Twin Cam
Eccleshall Road side
again in the late 60s early 70s.
My Anglia 105E.
Stone Rd forecourt of Lloyds Garage
mid 60s pre new buildings.Photo courtesy of;
Staffordshire Arts & Museum Service
Staffordshire Past Track
My interest in anything with an engine started at an early age, probably as far back as the late 50s when I watched my Father repair his Ford MKI Consul at home. I remember him taking the sump off and fitting new big-end bearings the day before we were going on holiday!
In the late 60s Ford launched the Escort Twin Cam, hotly followed by the World Cup Rally Mexico, RS1600 and the birth of the Rallye Sport Dealership and Advanced Vehicle Operations department (AVO) at Ford. Lloyds was large enough to be granted Rally Sport status. I was already involved in the preparation of an Anglia 1650cc, sponsored by the garage, for local club events, and as payment for all the hours spent on the car was given a drive as second entrant. My first event in 1969 was a hill climb, promoted by Stafford & District C C, more like an autocross as it was in a field............. I was hooked!
Around the same time, a program of apprentice training was launched and I became responsible for overseeing the training of new apprentices at the garage. Space in the service department was limited so we moved to a basement workshop previously occupied by the hire cars, and this also had sufficient space to house a rally preparation workshop. It had no windows, being underground, and soon became known as "The Bogey Hole". It was big enough for about 10 cars. Our 1st major event was the 1971 RAC Rally a grueling 3 day, virtually non-stop night and day International rally sponsored by Lombard. Our driver/co-driver was Harold Morley and Peter Bryant in a Lloyds of Stafford Escort Mexico, number 88. The weather was so bad in Scotland that several of the stages were closed as rally cars were getting snowed in. Peter had a hunch that this would happen and diverted to the next major time control. To the amazement of the press and rally officials we were the first car in! We did finish the rally, in 34th place, that in its-self was an achievement.
In the picture "waiting to service" is FEV 2H, an Escort Mexico which did grueling 16000 mile London to Mexico World Cup Rally in 1969, finishing sixth driven by Jimmy Greaves with Tony Fall as co-driver, click here for Tony Falls comments on the Rally.
'MOTORSPORT CAN BE DANGEROUS' is a sign often seen at rallies and most motorsport venues, this is just how dangerous it can be!
This is what was left of Bill Wood's RS1600 MKI Escort after a roll in Derbyshire in 1970. The car rolled onto a dry-stone wall and ended up in a field. Bill Wood, in the glasses, was unhurt but navigator Laurie Richards, on the left, was less lucky and suffered a broken arm. No roll-cage in the car, not advisable. They were both lucky not to be seriously injured.
1972 saw us co-building an RS1800 MK I for Harold and Peter and an attack on the Motoring News Rally Championship, which was a night road rally series with events all round the UK including The Island of Mull. Harold finished 3rd in 1971 before coming to Lloyds. We won the championship with Harold and Peter in 1972. Mike Hutchinson also won for Lloyds in 1982 driving Escort registration DRF 222N.
Here is a youtube link to an audio track of Morley and Bryant on the RAC 1972
After a hard nights servicing on the Dubonet Rally in which the Morley/Briant pairing won their third 1972 championship event in a row, Kevin Broadhurst (on the left) and I thought we deserved some of the spotlight when we borrowed the silverware and posed for the press at the side of our service van. We were gaining a reputation for the scariest driving of a service van, well we had to keep up!
As the Anglia had migrated to Hot Rodding with Ron Aiken I built a Lloyds Escort Twin Cam for autocross events and had a couple of good seasons Autocrossing around the UK, several class wins came my way during the BTRDA championship and one overall (FTD) win at a Sixty and Worcester event.
But things were looking up, and with the launch of the RS2000 MK I in 1973 Lloyds needed a motor sport presence again and we built a Rally car for special stage events and I was able to drive it! So ARE 200M was born. An RS2000 built from a bare shell, with one of our 2.1 litre engines.
Of course it wasn't my car so we were able to invite other drivers into the seat for special events. Some of these included;
The MK II Escort RS2000 wasn't long in coming and we soon became busy building mainly GP1 rally cars. We had a 3 car team for the RAC Rally in 1976, I co-drove for Ronnie Mc.Cartney but we had a very violent roll in Sutton Park and didn't finish the event. The Escort had only 1 wheel left after the roll but we got it to the stage finish somehow. I had been co-driving with Ronnie on several National Special Stage rallies during the year, including the Welsh, Castrol, Scottish. Ronnie used to giggle as we drove the stages, when I spoke to a previous navigator about this he said the time to worry is when he stops giggling!
Co-Driving was an inexpensive way of keeping in Motorsport, Mike Patterson (Ears Motorsport) who won the Motoring News Championship in 1976, with help from Lloyds, and he invited me into the passengers seat for the Forest of Dean Stages in 1977. This was his first off road stage rally and he seemed to take to it well. I couldn't do the next rally with him, and sadly on that event there was a terrible accident and his co-driver died.
Below, some night rally shots with Mike Hutchinson driving, me navigating.
From the above you will perhaps get the idea that I enjoyed it, mostly that's true. It wasn't easy and we had to constantly battle with the management to be paid something, anything, when we were away servicing on rallies that Lloyds were sponsoring.
Most of these photos are copyright. I have tried to contact as many of the photographers as possible but as most photos are 30-40 years old it this has been impossible. Thanks to those who have given permission, and credit is shown where applicable.