Even now, Monaco retains its essentially belle époque character, despite the omnipresent cranes, debris fencing and associated intrusions of latter day F1.
The harbours are full of multi-million, in some cases -billion dollar craft, but it still presents an impressive rebuttal of the mundane and mediocre. Lunch in the Yacht Club de Monaco only reinforces a sense of unreality in mere mortals whilst the paddock on the Quai Antoine 1er has its automotive equivalent.
The pits harboured a brace of Auto Unions, a V16 C Type Crosthwaite & Gardiner replica driven by pre-war Auto union ace Hans Stuck’s son Hans Joachim Stuck and Jacky Ickx in the final evocation of the 1939 3-litre D-Type in twin blower form which were sadly only demonstrated. In the paddock was Josef Rettenmaier’s CTA Arsenal, an almost mythical name from immediate post war French racing history which raced only once (at Lyon) and the two 1.5-litre supercharged V8 cars that were built ended up in a corner of Tony Lago’s Talbot factory. Elsewhere Winfried Kallinger’s very striking looking supercharged Squire with wings removed was running in the pre-war class alongside the inevitable ERAs and assorted Alfa Romeos, Bugattis, Maseratis et al.
Front engined GP cars from 1947-1960 featured Lotus 16, BRM P25, Ferrari Dino, various Maserati 250F derivatives and all the usual suspects. The pre-66 rear engined GP cars included '50s Coopers and Lotus as well as the later 1.5 litre V8 engined machines of the 1961-1965 F1 whilst the 3 litre F1 formula cars were divided into separate 1966-1974 and 1975-1978 races. There were two F3 races, one for the 1-litre cars of 1964-1970, the other for 1600cc machines from 1971-1973 and the 2-litre devices of 1974-1984.
As ever the pre-53 Sports cars occupied the last race of the day that included no less than 6 Jaguar C-types but also Frazer Nash, Talbot Lago TG26GS, Osca, Allard, Aston Martin, BMW and Gordini. A notable entry was '70s touring car ace Dieter Quester in a BMW 328.
The races were won by Julian Bronson ERA R4D, Duncan Dayton Lotus 16, Carlos Monteverede Jaguar C type, Christian Traber Brabham BT21, James King Brabham-Climax BT7, Duncan Dayton Brabham BT33, Bobby Verdon-Roe McLaren M26 and Emmanuele Pirro Martini Mk34.
All were worthy winners, and some of course had won here before, notably Julian Bronson and Duncan Dayton who must be the most consistent Monaco winner of all time. Monteverde’s spectacular driving won him the sports car race although it was a pity that Flavien Marçais’ return here was hobbled by an oil leak and brake lining problems with the C-type.