Triumph Gloria SX in hot form in Algarve Classic Car Rally

The first rally of the year organised by Algarve Classic Cars always receives a large turnout.

Although called a Spring Rally it was rather late this year being held on 10th May. Not only late the organizers chose the hottest day of the year so far with around 33C in the shade and of course much hotter in the sun. Despite this some 80 cars participated and 73 completed the two timed events.

Those taking part ranged from a 1928 Ford A and the latest a 1989 Peugeot 205. David and Jane Thomas’s 1935 Triumph Gloria was the 6th oldest, with over half the cars being 70s or later.

Not a long rally by Portuguese standards (after all they are a nation of explorers), but it was rather competitive with the timed sections comprising a 900 steep meter hill climb and a 600 meter slalom involving a roundabout and several barriers.

The morning hill climb proved favourable for Gloria compared with the alternative of descending the same route, which we did last year, on account of a slight seepage of brake fluid from the master brake cylinder.

I decided to use 2nd gear giving it full throttle. I did not look at the revs as the course is not only steep, but narrow, with passing places and with two rather tight and steep bends. Two cars had stopped on the hill which did not help.

However we averaged 37 kph, putting us first in our class of just two, but a pleasing 20th overall. However all was not easy with the car boiling and losing nearly 3 litres of water! Anyway the downhill section followed and things cooled down a bit – including us!

This put us ahead of a Jaguar XK 150, a Morgan 4/4, a Lotus Elan Sprint, an MGB and MGA, a Porsche 924 and a Fiat 124 among others – so Gloria was really flying.

The afternoon was the slalom with a speed limit of 45 kph in a very tight route. Cars had to complete the course at the same time taken in the morning hill climb – faster or slower incurring penalty points.

Anyway there was a large amount of screeching tyres, a few cars losing the rear ends, a small collision into a roundabout, but again Gloria performed really well. Second gear meant little braking and the tight alignment of barriers helped the car. We completed the course with just a time difference from the morning of 0.62 seconds.

This improved our position so at the end of the day we won our class and came 12th out of the 80 cars entering.

So it proves Triumph Gloria SX’s can really rally; it just needs the right course ; the right gear, a well secured dashboard handle for the navigator (Jane) to hold onto and plenty of spare water! Perhaps having Frogs on board also helps!

Apart from this it proves the solid copper head gasket does work – well so far anyway.