Historic Marathon Rally Group

Stand number: 8-360


Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the LONDON SYDNEY Marathon 1968, visit stand 8-360 to see cars that took part and in the 10,000 rally from London to Bombay, then after a sea journey, Perth to Sydney.  All under unbelievably difficult conditions, these cars are certainly 'Built to Last'!

You will also find archive films of the Marathon, memorabilia and photographs on display along with personalities from the world of marathon and rallying visiting the stand.

98 cars started, 24 still survive today and you can see seven at the show: 


1    Ford Cortina GT   

Result: Bombay - 17th / Finish – 23rd

Built by Bill Bengry a well known rally driver of the period, and characterised by the exhaust over the roof to give greater ground clearance on the extremely rough roads encountered. Typical of Bill’s experience the car was sound and reliable and finished, and is one few Fords that survive to the present day and is still in the ownership of the family having been recently restored.


17  BMC 1800

Result: Bombay – 41st / Finish - 31st

While not a works car as such, when the car was ordered from BMC for the event they were so busy building other cars that there was not time to fit the car in to the normal schedule so a group of  apprentices was raked in to assist.  After a test drive one of the drivers commented ‘That was an Aphrodisiac’, hence shorted to Dizzyak!


21  BMC1800

Result:  Bombay – Not reached

Hillcrest prepared the car using information and special parts supplied by BMC though they had to pay for everything.  An uneventful start, en route to Teheran a major impact between rocks and sump guard caused oil loss with damage to the engine and required a new crank and engine rebuild.  Through Pakistan, but all came the end when a collision caused delays so that they could not get to Bombay on time.


47  MGB

Result: Bombay – 49th / Finish – 42nd

This car was discovered in a scrap yard in Southampton from a ‘house clearance’ where the dealer had the foresight to realise there was something special about it.  Contacting the MG Car Club led to its identity and history being confirmed, and because of its special place in the history of MG the car was acquired by the MGCC.  There then followed an amazing effort to fund and organise the restoration of the car which was organised by John Watson the Chairman of the MGB register.


70  BMC 1800

Result: Bombay – 48th / Finish – 34th

A steady fairly uneventful drive.  There was a problem when much time was lost on the ‘Sivas’ section in Turkey where of the three alternatives suggested by the organisers they used the badly chosen route recommended by the BL team.  Then in Australia one of the suspension displacers failed bringing the car to a halt but was repaired by BL mechanics and they were able to continue.  Recently the car was rescued from a field where it had been abandoned for 30 years after an accident - and was in extremely poor condition!


71  BMC 1800

Result: Bombay -  Not reached

One of three special cars that were built by BL Special Tuning to Competitions Department specification but with the time scales available they would not have been able to be completed in time. Janspeed were called in to do the final preparation of engine, interior and other items to an entrants individual specification and they therefor show a delightful variation from the works cars.


77  BMC 1800

Result: Bombay – 56th / Finish – 36th

A former BMC Team East African Safari ‘Recce’ car, this car was purchased directly from the BMC Competition Department for the London to Sydney. Bob Eaves then re-prepared it to exactly the same specification as the factory team Marathon entries. Having lost 5 hours in Afghanistan due to a broken inlet manifold, the car reached the Bombay for the ferry in 56th place, ending to finish 36th overall out of 98 starters.