32 Years after he built his first ever rally car, Francis has been forced to say goodbye to several VW Beetles.
The green “rainbow” beetle was originally built for the 1977 London-Sydney Marathon, which Francis competed in with his friend Anthony Showell. The car had a box on the roof filled with spares and equipment. He carried a spare 1800cc engine – which he needed before leaving Europe! – and a spare gearbox.
“The VW is the only car where the engine is light enough for it to be practical to carry a spare and feasible to change the engine at the side of the road!”
Tuthill and Showell were prepared for problems and certainly had a few on their very first marathon event, losing time to the extent of several days. In the end, they finished in 36th place. After completing the Marathon, Tuthill’s VW Beetle, CBW 457K, did the RAC Rally in 1978, and again in 1984 when it raised money for the Rainbow Club charity.
Francis also consigned his yellow Crawford Doors sponsored lightweight special to the scrap heap. The final Volkswagen forced to meet its maker was the multicoloured car in which our Richard made his WRC debut in in 1992: also the final appearance of a beetle on a World Rally Championship (WRC) event.