The 16th annual Monte-Carlo Historique Rally took place last week in southeastern France. Organized by the Automobile Club of Monaco, it is open to cars that participated in the iconic rally from 1955 to 1980 and that were built between those years.
314 vehicles signed up for the 2013 edition of the event and left from five European cities: Glasgow (Scotland), Copenhagen (Denmark), Barcelona (Spain), Reims (France) and Warsaw (Poland). Participants came from all around Europe, and a trio even shipped a 1951 Holden 48-215 all the way from Australia.
Last year’s edition of the rally was marred by severe snow storms that led to several stages being cut short or cancelled altogether. This year, the weather was much nicer and there was noticeably less snow, though most competitors told us that ice was abundant in the early morning and late at night.
We traveled to Tournon-sur-Rhône in the Ardèche department of France to photograph cars arriving at a check point. The setting was amazing: A small, quiet village located deep in France’s wine country temporarily overrun by the presence, noise and smell of vintage race cars.
Some of the highlights included a Citroën CX GTI, a Mercedes-Benz 280E, a pair of NSU 1200TTs and a Saab 99 EMS. There was also a colossal amount of Porsches that ranged from 356s to 924s.
About the race
Contrary to what its name might suggest, the Monte-Carlo Historique is not a speed race. The point is to follow the timing of each stage as closely as possible, not to drive flat out and be the first to cross the finish line. Drivers lose point if they end a stage too early or too late.
With that said, the participants range from well-off amateur drivers seeking an adrenaline rush to a handful of professional pilots such as Jean Ragnotti. Another notable entrant this year was Carlos Tavares, Renault’s Chief Operating Officer, who was at the wheel of an Alpine A110.
Most of the drivers we talked to agreed that competing in the event costs anywhere from €15,000 to €20,000 (about $20,000 and $26,000), not counting the purchase and the preparation of the car. That stiff price figure includes transportation to and from the race, gas, hotel accommodations, spare parts, several sets of tires and more often than not a technical support vehicle that waits at check points in case something needs to be mended.
Our coverage of the Monte-Carlo Historique was cut short last year because we neglected to pack a tripod with us. We learned our lesson and this year were able to keep shooting even after the sun went down.
We’ve condensed the 540 photos that we took over the course of the day into the gallery below. Email us if you want a high-res shot or more pictures of a particular car.