CLASSIC car devotees have been gathering in Glasgow ahead of the start of the world famous Monte Carlo Classic Rally, due to start tomorrow.
Around 100 vintage motors from all eras and driven by enthusiasts from all walks of life will cross the start ramp at the People’s Palace.
Established in Monaco in 1911 by Prince Albert, the Monte Carlo Classic Rally is one of the most famous and well-known races in the world.
The event returned to Glasgow in 2011, ending a hiatus of 38 years, and has since attracted ever-larger crowds, with 12,000 people turning out to watch the start at Clydebank last year.
Douglas Anderson, who was responsible for bringing the event back to Glasgow, said: “It’s definitely becoming more popular with each year. In the first year we had 9,000 people attending the launch and since then it’s gone up to 12,000.
If the weather is kind, it is possible we could break the record for the highest UK attendance for any Monte Carlo Classic Rally start. That would be a remarkable achievement.”
He said that the event had also proved its worth to Glasgow financially, with an economic-benefit £1m in terms of tourism.
Mr Anderson also suggested that the event could be linked to the city’s Commonwealth Games next year: “The idea is to make an official event as part of the Games. It would still run at this time of year, but it would help sort of kick off the whole thing.
“We’ve spoken to the Glasgow Marketing Bureau and put the idea to them, we think it would really add to the games, because you’re bringing even more people in to them.”
He added, though, that the plans were at an “embryonic stage”.
Some of the competitors gathered at the Riverside Museum, Scotland’s Museum of Transport and Travel today for a photo call ahead of the big day.
Among the crews making the 1,242 mile journey to Monte Carlo are drivers from Australia, Malta, Czech Republic, Scotland and France.
IT consultant David Glen, 25, from Alexandria will by among those competing for the first time travelling in a 1960s Volvo with dad Gordon and his father’s cousin, David.
Mr Glen said: “The main challenges will be navigating and in these tough conditions, because we don’t have any experience of driving in ice and snow generally, let alone doing it in a classic car. It’s going to very challenging and given we’re new to the sport, there’s going to be a lot unexpected things. I’m always up for a challenge, but for this trip our aim is just to get to the end.”
Around 40 cars will cross the Channel and pass over the snow-covered Alps into Monte Carlo, with 60 others competing in set stages of the rally in support events.