Elford returns to his roots at The Rally Show
One of Britain's greatest motorsport all-rounders, Vic Elford, was on fine form for the crowds this weekend when he got behind the wheel of a car that carved his reputation in world rallying - the Porsche 911.
"Quick Vic" as he was affectionately known back in the day was one of the guests at The Rally Show at Cornbury Park in Oxfordshire, demonstrating his skills in 911s provided by Richard Tuthill Racing - and he didn't disappoint.
Although perhaps most famous for his Monte Carlo win of 1968 driving a Porsche 911, Elford was also 1967 European Rally Champion before finding huge successful in sportscars. Victory was never to come at the 24 Hours of Le Mans but he took top honours in many other races, including six wins at the fearsome Nurburgring as well as circuits in the USA such as Sebring and Daytona.
Indeed it was at Daytona where he scored his first sportscar success; just days after his triumph on the mountain passes of Monte Carlo in 1968, Elford drove a 907 to victory at the Daytona 24 Hours.
Nowadays, Elford is a US resident with only occasional visits to these shores, so to see him on a rally stage is a rare but welcome sight indeed. He enjoyed runs in two 911s, one of 1978 vintage while the other was a couple of years younger. So, was there much difference in the cars?
"Well, I like this one because it lets me do things that I really want to do in a rally car," he smiled, sitting in the bright yellow 1980 model.
Elford's association with Porsches in sportscars was to last for five years and there is one model in particular he remembers fondly.
"I loved the 917 long-tail, it was a fantastic car to drive. I was never a big fan of Le Mans and when I went there, I went to win, not to race. So I wanted a car that could fly past the others on the straights and take it easy in the corners. The long-tail was perfect for that." Perfect enough for Elford to become the first driver to lap Le Mans at more than 150mph.
These days he doesn't return to Le Mans for the race but you might catch him at the biennial Le Mans Classic: "It's a marvellous event, huge. They could fill the grids three times over," he says.
Perhaps we can look forward to seeing "Quick Vic" on those famous old circuits once again sticking his tail out. Now that would be something to savour.