MONTE CARLO – or bust!

Hampshire based Club member Ben Stephens owns a much loved and well used 1934 Monte Carlo model Triumph Gloria. This style of car was marketed in 1934 and 35 to celebrate the Company’s successful works efforts in the 1934 Mote Carlo Rally and an enthusiastic Ben felt that the opportunity to re-run Triumph’s glory days was too good to miss. Months of careful preparation in 2017 and the car was ready for a long winter journey – even getting to the start point of Glasgow would have been daunting for most – and he and Sorrell were so disappointed when they suffered the most unusual and unpredictable mechanical failure in middle France. Anyway, determination has finally prevailed, as Ben writes:

 

MONTE CARLO – or bust!

So third time lucky they say…….. After my rather disastrous attempt at the Monte Carlo Classique in 2018 when, midway through our journey, a steel fan blade  decided to detach and “make friends” with the radiator,  I was on a mission that I would get my car there. What could go wrong? Second attempt was to follow the Riley team down unofficially in January but getting to the end of my road the steering developed an issue. Bugger! (Editor’s note; technical term relating to unexpected mechanical failure).  I was getting worried that this car had some sort of vendetta about Monte Carlo and was determined to throw up major issues every time but, more determined than ever now, March was set to be the next date. Unfortunately, due to work Sorrel couldn’t make it, but a close friend and wonderful navigator, Richard Bass stepped in and with a route planned on paper maps (no SatNav for us!) taking in 800 miles of D roads, we set off. Almost expecting things to go wrong, I was on high alert to any noises I heard. However, we started eating the miles, small town after small town passed by, waves and beeps from cars – this was becoming enjoyable! First night, stopping in mid France, and the only thing I had to do was top up oil. The second day was the long day with only two stops and 10 hours of driving to get into the Alps. Again, no problems, and once in the Alps we were slowed down due to the mountain passes. However, the breathtaking scenery was a compensation for the slightly slower progress as we wound our way over the mountain passes. Reaching the stop for the second night I realised I had made my one mistake so far – booked the hotel for the night before! Gladly, the owner, who seemed more apologetic for my mistake than me, soon sorted us out and even gave us the use of his garage. In the morning, oil checked, and adding just 0.5ltrs after all the driving we left, with what now was to be the straight run to Monaco. Even though this day was the shortest mileage, it still took 6hrs, again coming over the long passes towards Monte. The last 15 miles was probably the most nerve wracking. We decided to miss Nice by using the Peage (French Toll Motorways). This was the first and only stint of motorway driving on the whole trip. The motorway from Nice to Monaco is basically one huge climb, lorries were down to 25-30, at this point out hearts were in our mouths and I started to wonder if the car had been playing a cruel trick by running so faultlessly and was going to play up here within in sight of Monaco. However, the little Triumph continued with its progress, heavily loaded, it just kept going. Reaching the top of the hill I relaxed knowing we could roll into Monaco! And so we did, and more heads turned in Monaco than for any of the modern super cars driving about. I am afraid I didn’t get many pictures in Monte Carlo itself – a lot of building work was being done and we struggled to find anywhere to stop. Pulling into our hotel, the concierge was very excited about the opportunity to go and park the car! I write this from a weekend stop in the Alps near Grenoble. So far, it’s been a fantastic trip, I have talked to some lovely people, and barely even got any grease or dirt on my hands. Perhaps third time lucky does have some truth to the saying…….

Ben Stephens

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