Documentary following the Rover BRM Gas Turbine car as it is entered in the 1963 Le Mans race. c. 1963
Black & White still of Mr M C Wilks. Writing overlaid. "Mr M C Wilks, the late Chairman of the Rover Company, who was so closely connected with Gas Turbine development and the Rover '2000', died on September 8th, by which time the films '24 Hours to History' and 'Assignment P.6' were complete. Although small adjustments have been made to the commentary it was not possible to pay the tribute to Mr Wilks that would have been liked. These films are therefore dedicated to the memory of his endeavour." (This section has some emulsion damage).
The Rover Company Presents - Twenty-Four Hours To History.
Silver coloured (could be aluminium) sports car. Two people are seated inside it. Four more stand around the car. C/U driver and passenger - the driver is Graham Hill. This is the Rover BRM Gas Turbine car (BRM stands for British Racing Motor). Other people look on. Hill drives the car out on to the MIRA (Motor Industry Research Association) test track. The car is seen speeding along the track. Members of the team including "tough little co-driver Ritchie Ginther" stand around. Car pulled back in to parking area. C/U Hill and passenger. People move to look over the car. C/U face of Graham Hill. The bonnet is opened. Ginther's seat on the floor. Men check over car. Large parts of the car's body are moved into place. Ginther bounces on spare tyre stored in the car. Hill and other man look at large piece of paper. Car driven away by Ginther.
The car is now being tested at Le Mans track. It speeds down straight and is watched by people seated at the side of the track. Team members look at paperwork. Some chat. High angle shot of mechanics working on car in pits. C/U parts of car. C/U Ginther. Hill puts on helmet and gets into car. He drives out of pits. The car speeds around the empty track. A man checks times with a stopwatch. Car drives into pits. Other cars at Le Mans. Hill out of car in pits. Hill and mechanics talk over changes while standing by car.
Graham Hill. C/U gas turbine car. People look on as Rover team work on car. Team members talk. High angle shot of Rover BRM Gas Turbine car in pits. Peter Spear (sp?) and Mark Barnard. Front faring refitted, rear refitted. Pan from man reading sport paper to high angle shot of Rover in the pits. People look on. L/S Grandstand at Le Mans. Ritchie Ginther drives car away.
Bright red Ferrari driven out of pits. Rover speeds past. Ferrari rounds bend. Rover speeds around track. Men discuss cars. Rover car in pits.
Cuts to Pathe Pictorial titles. Picturing this colourful world. Cars driving at Le Mans on race day. Four men in orange mechanics uniforms. Chequered flag waved at Rover goes through finish. C/U newspaper headlines and pictures - 'A Sunday saunter at Le Mans', 'Cheer the ghost!'. C/U sign above entrance - 'Les 24 Heures Du Mans'. High angle shot of town square in Le Mans. People look in window advertising the 24 hour endurance race. It shows various trophies. Men prepare stalls and shops at track. Young boy looks through shop window as woman places out Corgi toy cars. Men move hay bales into place at the side of the track.
People walking into main entrance of race circuit. Aeroplane taxis at airfield. Men get out of plane. French policeman (Gendarme) directs traffic as cars travel along road. Group of young men in bowler hats walk past camera. Man asks directions from newspaper seller. People get money from makeshift bank. C/U Programmes in hands of programme seller. Alfa Romeo cars into pits. Rover Gas turbine car past camera (now painted in racing green livery with number 00 on bonnet). C/U Ritchie Ginther reads newspaper. C/U Graham Hill cleans goggles. C/U goggles.
Rover BRM Gas Turbine car is pushed back into place in starting line up. Mechanics check and seal engine. People look on from grandstand. Silence as drivers move to their starting positions. Two women look on from the crowd. High angle shot flag comes down and drivers run to their cars. C/U four men look through brightly coloured periscopes to view the start above the heads of others. The cars begin to move away from the start. Cars speeding round track.
C/U heavily bearded Sterling Moss. Children driving small cars round circuit made of hay bales. People enjoy funfair ride. Man in chef's outfit bastes chickens on a spit. People peel and chip potatoes in the open air. High angle shot of cars speeding past grandstand. Officials fill in lap charts. C/U three stopwatches. Men take notes. The four men with periscopes follow the cars. More fair ground rides. Chickens on spit turn and cook. People eat and drink. Man drinks wine from a bottle. C/U man makes crepes (pancakes). Sugar shaken onto crepe. Crepe making stall. More eating and drinking. Motorised giant barrel advertising Heineken.
Rover pulls into pits for a check. Man cleans windscreen. Mechanics check car. Ritchie Ginther carries his seat with him as he climbs into car and drives off onto the Le Mans circuit. More racing scenes. Other car comes into the pits. C/U petrol poured down a funnel.
Fairground ride at night with lights shining out. Cars racing at night (only headlights are really visible). Fairground with lots of illuminations. Chickens removed from spit. Cars speed past. People dancing inter cut with fairground shots.
C/U manual typewriter. Journalist types, a colleague sits along side. Man reads French newspaper - headline 'Face A Ferrari Le Vide!'. Man wearing furry hat. Men standing on Grandstand - one wears what appears to be a sleeping bag. Almost empty press gallery. Cars racing at dawn. Tents in the grounds around the Le Mans circuit. Man asleep in parked car. Young people start getting out of tents. Two men shaving. Man and woman drink coffee. Outdoor mass. Side angle shot Catholic priest leads religious service. People at food outlet. C/U wine poured and leg of chicken gets a fork stuck in it. Four people sit around picnic table eating breakfast (wine and chicken). Programme seller. People walking around stalls and shops. Young men in bowler hats (voice over describes them as the English abroad keeping the flag flying). Driver of car 31 digs out sand bank on which his car is stuck.
Racing scenes. Men ride horses in small arena. Cars speed around corner. Horse riders demonstrate rodeo type riding skills. Man on motorbike. Rover BRM Gas Turbine car speeds around corner. Cars waved through the chequered flag as they finish. The winning Ferrari (No 21) is feted. The Rover is driven by mechanics. Graham Hill and Ritchie Ginther stand in front of Rover BRM sign. Hill seated in car. "Forget the headlines - our car has become history". The End - Produced by Associated British Pathe.
Note: Nice documentary about the preparation of and racing of the Rover BRM Gas Turbine car at the Le Mans Endurance race in 1963. B.R.M stands for British Racing Motor. The colour on this print is sadly quite faded and some parts are scratched. The opening black and white dedication to Mr M C Wilks has suffered emulsion damage.