Rally Car photo archive

In 1963, at the age of 14, I was taken to see my first RAC Rally by my elder brother, and from that day to this, my passion in life has been rallying and cars in general. In the mid seventies and early eighties I held a national competition licence and competed modestly at clubman level.
A few years passed by and I started to mix my other interest, photography, with rallying. In my early twenties I was shooting national and international rallies, sometimes for myself but often for clients in that field; I worked mainly as a freelance for Motoring News, Rallysport, Autosport, Motor and others, and often worked for Colin Taylor Productions. Our client list in those days consisted of SAAB, Ford

Motor Co, Talbot, Rothmans, Chequered Flag and many more. The drivers we were privileged to work alongside were Roger Clark, Ari Vatanen, Hannu Mikkola, Stig Blomqvist,  Timo Makinen, Marku Alen, Bjorn Waldegard, Pentti Airikkala, Jimmy McRae, Malcolm Wilson, Russell Brookes as well as many other distinguished drivers.
Cecquered Flag Rally carThe cars which we shot were the ones still revered today by most true enthusiasts: the Ford RS1800, Lancia Stratos, Saab Turbo, Opel Ascona 400, Vauxhall Chevette, Toyota Celica, Fiat 131 Abarth; and perhaps the most spectacular of all the Audi Quattro S1, although we never actually worked for that team. Sadly the Minis were long gone, well the works ones anyway, but the privateers still continued. Fortunately I can claim to have seen the likes of Paddy Hopkirk, Timo Makinen and Rauno Aaltonen competing in these formidable little cars, often to the embarrassment of their larger competitors, but that, as they say, is history.

I met Colin Taylor on the 73 RAC rally and started to work for him on a freelance basis for many years, Rally Winnerssadly Colin died in 2011, but I owe him a debt of gratitude to this day. He taught me much of what I know about rally photography, more than that he entrusted me with foreign assignments on international events. In those days everything was shot on 35mm film, usually with 2 cameras twinned on a bar side-by-side, shooting colour transparency on one, and black and white on the other. The motors were synchronised by an electronic trigger, there was no instant confirmation in those days, you had to have the courage of your convictions and a photographic instinct that was second nature.
After the demise of group B in 1986, I became disillusioned with the action and I had to concentrate on the commercial photographic business I had set up. I still own the business today, and for the past 25 years I have been a specialist aerial photographer and aerial video camera operator.
In recent years I have been fortunate enough to get back into the rally scene, as a family member purchased 8 EMO the very ex works Cooper ‘S’, which I had first seen way back in 1963, when it was being driven by Paddy Hopkirk to 4th place on the RAC Rally. My rally licence revalidated, I have driven 8 EMO at Goodwood Festival of Speed for the past couple of years and I hope to do so again this year.EMO MIni Rally
Whilst speaking to other drivers of similar period cars, it soon became apparent that I was sitting upon thousands of negatives from the 70’s and 80’s. At the time they were shot, either prints would be sold to the drivers, magazines etc., or they would be filed away. Consequently for the past 35 years most of these images have never been seen. I have decided to set about the monumental task of scanning some of the more significant events and offering prints for sale to owners, competitors, enthusiasts and anyone with an interest in these cars, events or drivers. Many of the cars are still running in historic events today, at Goodwood and it is fascinating to see them in action from three decades ago.
This site has been made for this purpose only, images will be added as time allows so keep looking in, there are many more events to come, mainly from the north-east of the UK, perceived by many as the heart of the true forest rally stages.
I have decided to offer one size of print only, payable by Paypal, however if anyone requires larger print sizes, or to purchase the digital image, simply


Peter Smith Photography are specialists in Ultramedia, aerial photography, commercial video and commercial site photography.