The National MicroCar Rally

Britain's biggest Microcar event

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NMCR History - The very first rally

How it all came about

by Tony Marshall

(Reprinted from an article in The Isetta Gazette, of September 1979)

The first rally way back in 1975 was the result of a misunderstanding. I had been to a Rally of historic vehicles in June 1973 at the Cotswold Wildlife Park, Burford. I was impressed by the vehicles on show. There really were some beauties: vintage cars, buses, and lorries, all in pristine condition. I was also impressed with the Wildlife Park itself. It was well laid out, with several areas where visitors walked between large enclosures housing animals in what seemed to be as near as possible their natural environment. The sun was shining, and it really was a good day out. It must have made a lasting impression on me, because, when I was working on some plans for outings for the Messerschmitt Owners Club for the next year (I was Southern Area Organiser for a while) I decided to write a letter to the Wild Life Park management to see what other events they had planned which might be of interest to the MOC.

I cannot have written my letter very clearly, because the reply I received did not mention anything about other events, but offered me a choice of dates for the Rally I wanted to hold! This provided plenty of laughs at the next club meeting I went to.

After a while, though, I began to develop the merest spark of an idea. I had purchased a Scootacar Mark 2 in July 1973, ostensibly because it had good tyres on it suitable for a Messerschmitt, but I suspect that there was another reason. Could it be that I wanted to drive it? I still have the Scootacar, and still haven't driven it, but a least it still has its tyres on! This monstrosity led me to believe that perhaps there were other people around with other three wheelers which were not eligible for membership of any clubs. The ones that immediately came to mind were the Isettas, Heinkels, Scootacars and, for some reason, the A.C.Petite. Why not, I mused, take up the offer of the use of an area of land at the park to organise a rally for all makes? Well, most makes, anyway. I was anxious that we wouldn't be overrun by Reliants! I asked around and got a lukewarm reception from most people. They did not think that it would work, but they would do all they could to help.

And so it came to pass that the first ever ‘multi make three wheeler rally’ was to take place at Burford on 21st September 1975. It was for all three wheelers, and certain four wheelers such as the Berkeley, Isetta and Messerschmitt Tiger. I had absolutely no idea how many cars would turn up. I had the support of a lot of friends in the MOC, and had approached the Berkeley Owners Club, and Bond Info.

I will quote from a report of the rally which appeared in Kabinews, the magazine of the MOC:

"Tony Marshall's Micro-car rally at Burford attracted no less than 72 vehicles, and for once the Messerschmitts were outnumbered by Bond Minicars. Among the makes represented were Isettas, Heinkels, Trojans, Reliants, Berkeleys, two ABCs, a Frisky, a Zundapp Janus (from Holland) and of course the Bond Minicars and the Messerschmitts. Present from abroad were Walt Carnahan from the USA, and Sjoerd ter Burg from Holland. Clive Swindell from the GB Club came 305 miles in his immaculate Schmitt from Barrow-in-Furness and returned the same day..."

I can see those Bonds arriving, even now. We had all been standing round, wondering whether the day was going to be as unsuccessful as everybody had prophesied when suddenly, a convoy of twenty Bonds arrived nose to tail. A sight never to be forgotten. The rally was a roaring success and as we now know, the first of many.

A few photos from Paul Grogan and Grant Kearney from the "multi make three wheeler rally"
which took place at the Cotswold Wildlife Park in Burford on 21st September 1975.

This was the first rally in the UK open to all types of microcars and it's taken place every year since,
officially being re-named the National Microcar Rally in 1982.

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Bonds arrive en masse
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Zundapp Janus
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Behind the Zundapp is an enormous Bushmar Astral Double Adult Sidecar outfit
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Could be clearing the fuel line or lighting the barbecue or both
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Bonding together
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Bond 250G Tourer
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Bond Mk B Tourer
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Bond Mk D Tourer
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A 250G Minicar crosses the field
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Messerschmitt Tiger
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Messerschmitt KR200 Cabriolet
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Messerschmitt KR200
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Tiger heads for the Slalom
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Berkeley T60 on the slalom
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Berkley Sports
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Frisky Family Three
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ABC Tricar
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A second ABC Tricar
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Mumford Musketeer
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If you have any more photos from this or other NMCR's that you'd be willing to share, please do get in touch.