I have a whole folder of Xeroxed pages of info on the factory rallye cars.
Unfortunately I don't know what book most of the info is from, because the
photocopied pages show only the chapter name -- "Under Leyland Control"). I
gathered this info because six years ago when I started into vintage
racing, my raw material was a clapped out TR4 with a Surrey top, found for
me by Joe Alexander. I had seen pictures of the rallye cars and liked their
unique appearance with the hardtop and the fender vents. My research
revealed (wrongly) that all had perished, so I built my vintage racer to
look like a factory rallye car in all respects except color scheme (see my
son Tony's website, www,tonydrews.com). My feeling was that it wouldn't
offend anybody if I recreated a car that no longer existed as long as I
didn't try to pass it off as the real thing. I was unable to duplicate the
aluminum skin panels, Perspex windows, and Weber carbs but I did duplicate
the 'wing' vents and I eventually exceeded the 135 hp of the factory cars.
Four factory cars were built and they were rallied in Europe in 1962 and
1963. In 1964, three of the cars were shipped to North America to compete
in the week-long Shell 4000 Rally from Vancouver to Montreal. For this
venture they were put on new left hand drive chassis and sent to Kas
Kastner, who can perhaps shed some additional insight. Reportedly he
breathed on the engines, fitted them with American Mag wheels, and sent
them off to Vancouver.
The cars acquitted themselves well, being very fast, but they did not place
well in the rally scores because the drivers reportedly enjoyed themselves
too much and ran them fast like they do in Europe, rather than making it a
mathematical exercise like the North Americans did at that time. They did
win the GT team prize, though.
Those three cars were sold off to the public in North America and never
made it home, and as of the date of that report, the car remaining in Great
Britain was owned by Gordon Birtwistle and then by a series of other owners.
When I was building my car, I tried to chase down the various rumors -- I
talked to one "eyewitness" of an SCCA crash that totalled one, another was
supposed to be in a shop in upstate New York with an astronomical pricetag,
Today, the original car that stayed in GB exists. I think two more are in a
private collection with that original car in Great Britain. One supposedly
exists in Germany. I hope one of our friends from across the pond can
enlighten us on the current quantity and status, Just for the entertainment
value, I hope that this is a case of "Fortunately, of the original four
cars that were built, five are still in existence".