A towing tale…

Early Summer, 1965.

Citation Motors, Bathurst at Vaughn Road. Owner, Barry Rosenberg decides to convoy to Le Circuit for a regional event (can’t remember the organizing club in Quebec).

Barry loads up his Ginetta Mk whatever sports car… well maybe not Barry but his enthusiastic workers! Tow car is a ’56 Ford four-door with a relatively solid trailer. I load my Mini (“sponsored” by Citation Motors) onto a trailer (and yes, I load it!) and hook up to an Edsel of questionable vintage. Both the Ford and Edsel were lumps sitting on Citation’s used car lot.

Off we go. Hugh Brown, John Dobbins and other assorted helpers spread out over the two tow vehicles.

All was going just fine until we decided by using frantic hand signals to pull off into the Newcastle highway restaurant/rest stop for whatever. Ford with Ginetta leading and the Edsel following closely. As soon as I see the Ford’s brakelights I apply pressure to the Edsel’s brake pedal only to have it go straight to the floor! No amount of headlight flashing convinced the Ford to speed up and get out of the way.

Crash! The Edsel plows into the trailer and Ginetta so the Ford driver hits the brakes harder and Edsel rides up over the back of the trailer and right into the back of the Ginetta.

Once the “train” gets stopped, we all pile out of the tow cars for an assessment. It didn’t take long to determine that a brake line had popped on the Edsel and that the Ginetta was seriously hurt. A decision was made for me to back the full-race Mini off the trailer, load up the spares and driving gear and head for St. Jovite.

So, fully numbered, decalled with an open exhaust, I truck off down the 401. The sound inside was deafening without a helmet and the 50lb per tires made every expansion joint feel like I was driving over two by fours… very uncomfortable.

I had to get off the 401 somewhere around Cornwall, I think, to follow Highway 2 all the way to Quebec #20 then onto the Metropolitan “Expressway.” After what seemed like eternity, I arrived in Mt. Tremblant. Never having been to Quebec before, I had trouble finding registration. Once located, I dragged my weary butt, driving gear and documents into the room.

Sorry, says the registration clerk, we closed 20 minutes ago! No shit, 20 minutes! They would not budge for an Anglo.

Anyway, later the balance of the Citation Motors crew limped into town and we partied all weekend. I was not impressed with my first reception to St. Shovit!

That is the story to best of my recollection.

Ed note: Edsel photo above is not the actual tow vehicle, but a similar POS

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Comments

  1. Craig Rodwell says

    I remember flat towing my Healey to St. Jovite and being stopped by the QPP very close to the track. The officer tells me I need a plate on the Healey. I told him I didn’t have one…we don’t need one on a towed vehicle in Ontario and besides how will I get my car back to Ontario? He then asked me what route I would be taking back to Ontario. After telling him my return route he said that he would contact QPP detachments to wave me through. Since this was my first trip to St. Jovite I asked him how much further to the track…”follow me I’ll escort you to the gate”. I camped by myself and was new at the track so a fellow came over and asked me to join a group later that evening and they even helped pitch in on race day. I had received some great hospitality but that doesn’t make me a ‘Belle Province ‘ lover. Your delemma didn’t surprize me though…

  2. Leighton Irwin says

    St. Jovite usually wasn’t too bad, especially if you ran there quite bit and it was clear you were friendly with Quebec drivers. The FB/Atlantic regulars mostly were.
    Three Cricks was another story. At registration they once started questioning Bruce’ entry. The two car owners behind us said if he didn’t race they were pulling their cars. Since it was Doug Shierson and Fred Opert things changed quickly.
    In 74 Patrick Depallier was declared the winner. Every lap chart I know of, except the official one had him a lap down. He made a pit stop that never showed up!

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