Riding (And Crashing) With The 1967 Monte Carlo Rally Champ

Probably the most famous Monte Carlo Rally of all was the one from 1967, with the little red Mini Cooper S bounding through the snow. The man behind the wheel of that Mini was none other than Rauno Aaltonen, and it turns out he’s still incredibly zen about the whole “driving through snow” sorta thing.

Even if you go off a bit.

I was lucky enough to go on a brief jaunt through the snow with Rauno when I was up in Finland driving the monstrous X-Raid Mini, because I have a weird job where sometimes things like that happen. But whereas I was always trying to check my gauges when I was driving, just to get a feel for how things worked from the numbers, Rauno taught me otherwise. Just drive “acoustically” instead – listen to everything, especially the engine. Don’t just use your eyes, use your ears.


And it turns out that a modern, bog-standard production Mini is faster than Rauno’s original rally-winning Mini.

So there you go. Get a modern car, and be faster than the champ. Maybe. Not really.

He’s still a master.

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Michael Ballaban

Deputy Editor, Jalopnik. 2002 Lexus IS300 Sportcross.

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