Lloyds of Stafford, Rob Pendleton Motorsport, Escort RS200, Escort RS1800, Escort RS MKII 2000,

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Apprenticeships in the 60s were considered a normal route to gain hands-on education in many forms of employment, and be paid at the same time,
especially the Motor Trade, and mine started in 1966 directly after leaving school.
Lloyds of Stafford were the biggest garage, and Main Ford Dealers for the Stafford area, this and another back street garage were my only choices and the big dealership seemed the right choice to make.

Escort Lotus Twin Cam MKI outside Lloyds of Stafford 1971
New look Lloyds Garage,
Eccleshall Road side in the late 60s early 70s.
My Escort MKI Twin Cam


Anglia 105E Lloyds of Stafford
Eccleshall Road side
again in the late 60s early 70s.
My Anglia 105E.

 

Lloyds Garage, Stone Road 1960s
Stone Rd forecourt of Lloyds Garage
mid 60s pre new buildings.Photo courtesy of;
Staffordshire Arts & Museum Service
Staffordshire Past Track

    My interest in anything with an engine started at an early age, probably as far back as the late 50s when I watched my Father repair his Ford MKI Consul at home. I remember him taking the sump off and fitting new big-end bearings the day before we were going on holiday!
In 1960 (I was 10 years old) and we moved to a derelict Canal Lock Keepers cottage, no road, the closest tarmac was 1.5 miles down the Staffs and Worcester Canal, no water, no electricity, gas, nothing. This was real boys stuff, a boat to get to school, no other kids did that!
All this gave me the opportunity to mess with engines. At the age of 12 I bought a BSA Bantam for a fiver and rode it up and down the towpath and in the farmers fields with no silencer or mud guards etc. To ride a motor bike on slippery ground and not fall off or end up in the canal took perhaps more luck than courage, at that age you don't think about the dangers. But it was exciting stuff, to be in control, well mostly, of a machine.


In the late 60s Ford launched the Escort Twin Cam, hotly followed by the World Cup Rally Mexico, RS1600 and the birth of the Rallye Sport Dealership and Advanced Vehicle Operations department (AVO) at Ford. Lloyds was large enough to be granted Rally Sport status. I was already involved in the preparation of an Anglia 1650cc, sponsored by the garage, for local club events, and as payment for all the hours spent on the car was given a drive as second entrant. My first event in 1969 was a hill climb, promoted by Stafford & District C C, more like an autocross as it was in a field............. I was hooked!
 

       Rob Pendleton Anglia 105E

 

Around the same time, a program of apprentice training was launched and I became responsible for overseeing the training of new apprentices at the garage. Space in the service department was limited so we moved to a basement workshop previously occupied by the hire cars, and this also had sufficient space to house a rally preparation workshop. It had no windows, being underground, and soon became known as "The Bogey Hole". It was big enough for about 10 cars. Our 1st major event was the 1971 RAC Rally a grueling 3 day, virtually non-stop night and day International rally sponsored by Lombard. Our driver/co-driver was Harold Morley and Peter Bryant in a Lloyds of Stafford Escort Mexico, number 88. The weather was so bad in Scotland that several of the stages were closed as rally cars were getting snowed in. Peter had a hunch that this would happen and diverted to the next major time control. To the amazement of the press and rally officials we were the first car in! We did finish the rally, in 34th place, that in its-self was an achievement.     

 MKI Mexico Escort CRF 999K Morley & Briant 1971 RAC Rall Scotland. Servicing & FEV 2H World Cup Mexico Snowy 1971 RAC Rally, Scotland MKI Mexico Escort CRF 999K Morley & Briant 1971 RAC Rally Roger Clark RAC Rally

In the picture "waiting to service" is FEV 2H, an Escort Mexico which did grueling 16000 mile London to Mexico World Cup Rally in 1969, finishing sixth driven by Jimmy Greaves with Tony Fall as co-driver, click here for Tony Falls comments on the Rally.
After the rally, Roger Stubbs of Potteries and Newcastle Car Club bought the Escort.


'MOTORSPORT CAN BE DANGEROUS' is a sign often seen at rallies and most motorsport venues, this is just how dangerous it can be!

Bill Wood & Laurie Richards Escort RS 1600 LBF 259H Escort MKI RS1600 Engine Bay

This is what was left of Bill Wood's RS1600 MKI Escort after a roll in Derbyshire in 1970. The car rolled onto a dry-stone wall and ended up in a field. Bill Wood, in the glasses, was unhurt but navigator Laurie Richards, on the left, was less lucky and suffered a broken arm. No roll-cage in the car, not advisable. They were both lucky not to be seriously injured.
Strangely enough Laurie didn't do much navigating after the Bill Wood accident, above.
But went on to do very well driving a succession of Escorts, mostly sponsored by Century Oils and Goodyear Tyres.
I co-drove with him on this rally win below.

Richards Rally text Redditch & DCC Uniflow Stages Rally win


Laurie Richards

 

 

 









1972 saw us co-building an RS1800 MK I for Harold and Peter and an attack on the Motoring News Rally Championship, which was a night road rally series with events all round the UK including The Island of Mull. Harold finished 3rd in 1971 before coming to Lloyds. We won the championship with Harold and Peter in 1972. Mike Hutchinson also won for Lloyds in 1982 driving Escort registration DRF 222N.

   Morely & Briant Torbay Rally Morley & Briant, another win

Here is a youtube link to an audio track of Morley and Bryant on the RAC 1972
 


 


Rob Pendleton & Kev Broadhurst

 

 

After a hard nights servicing on the Dubonet Rally in which the Morley/Briant pairing won their third 1972 championship event in a row, Kevin Broadhurst (on the left) and I thought we deserved some of the spotlight when we borrowed the silverware and posed for the press at the side of our service van. We were gaining a reputation for the scariest driving of a service van, well we had to keep up!

 

 

 


As the Anglia had migrated to Hot Rodding with Ron Aiken I built a Lloyds Escort Twin Cam for autocross events and had a couple of good seasons Autocrossing around the UK, several class wins came my way during the BTRDA championship and one overall (FTD) win at a Sixty and Worcester event.

   Rob Pendleton Autocross MKI Escort Twin Cam Lotus. FTD Escort MKI Lotus Twin Cam Engine Bay

Up to this time the Escort Twin Cam was still owned by Lloyds but I bought it in 1972 and converted it for Road Rally use. Eric Cowcil and I had some great fun doing night rallies but Lloyds couldn't finance a cars rally prep that didn't belong to them, and the cost of maintaining a rally car was proving too much for me and I sold it at the end of 72. Jill and I were married in Nov 72 and rallying had to go on the back burner.

  Rob Pendleton & Eric Cowcill HRE 222K Escort MKI Rob Pendleton & Eric Cowcill HRE 222K Escort MKI

But things were looking up, and with the launch of the RS2000 MK I in 1973 Lloyds needed a motor sport presence again and we built a Rally car for special stage events and I was able to drive it! So ARE 200M was born. An RS2000 built from a bare shell, with one of our 2.1 litre engines.
Eric Cowcil was again alongside me and our first event was the Cumbrian Stages around Workington. Most of the stages for this event were in a stone Quarry, rough as blazes, and it wasn't long before we lost the exhaust. A road section took us through Workington and on spying an open bus depot decided to see if I could weld the exhaust in their garage, we were soon back in business and so hyped up that recorded the fastest time on the next stage. Some fantastic rallies followed that year including the Arkell in 74&75, Castrol National, Birmingham Stages, etc as well as some Autocrosses in the road car class.
Escort RS 2000 MKI Rob Pendleton Escort RS 2000 MKI Rob Pendleton Escort RS 2000 MKI Rob Pendleton Escort RS 2000 MKI Rob Pendleton

Of course it wasn't my car so we were able to invite other drivers into the seat for special events. Some of these included;
Tony Drummond, Laurie Richards, Andy Dawson, Linda Jackson, Mike Hutchinson and more.

During this time we were involved with other drivers and their car preparation, even a car for the
Avon Tour of Britain in 1975 and Texaco Tour of Britain 1976 both sponsored by Woolworths.
I navigated for Glen Mitton in these events and were doing very well in the 1976 Tour lying 7th overall until Mallory Park
race circuit where the car suffered from fuel evaporation, the car started again after a time and we did finish the rally but much lower down.

  Glen Mitton & Rob Pendleton Tour of Brittain MKI RS2000           

Tony Drummond & Mike Nickolson Welsh Rally RS2000 MKI


The MK II Escort RS2000 wasn't long in coming and we soon became busy building mainly GP1 rally cars. We had a 3 car team for the RAC Rally in 1976, I co-drove for Ronnie Mc.Cartney but we had a very violent roll in Sutton Park and didn't finish the event. The Escort had only 1 wheel left after the roll but we got it to the stage finish somehow. I had been co-driving with Ronnie on several National Special Stage rallies during the year, including the Welsh, Castrol, Scottish. Ronnie used to giggle as we drove the stages, when I spoke to a previous navigator about this he said the time to worry is when he stops giggling!

McCartney Pendleton Welsh Rally 1976 McCartney Pendleton Castrol National Rally 1976 McCartney Pendleton 1976 RAC Rally RS 2000 MKII

Co-Driving was an inexpensive way of keeping in Motorsport, Mike Patterson (Ears Motorsport) who won the Motoring News Championship in 1976, with help from Lloyds, and he invited me into the passengers seat for the Forest of Dean Stages in 1977. This was his first off road stage rally and he seemed to take to it well. I couldn't do the next rally with him, and sadly on that event there was a terrible accident and his co-driver died.

         Mike Patterson (of EARS Motorsport) & Rob Pendleton  

Below, some night rally shots with Mike Hutchinson driving, me navigating.

 Mike Hutchinson & Rob Pendleton, night rallying Mike Hutchinson & Rob Pendleton, night rallying Mike Hutchinson & Rob Pendleton, night rallying 
 


Allan Snell & Rob Pendleton, night rallying   Rob Robinson & Rob Pendleton, night rallying. Anglia 105E
  Alan Snell and me                                       Rob Robinson and me 


From the above you will perhaps get the idea that I enjoyed it, mostly that's true. It wasn't easy and we had to constantly battle with the management to be paid something, anything, when we were away servicing on rallies that Lloyds were sponsoring.
In February 1977 I left Lloyds, after nearly 12 years there.
I needed to be more in control of my destiny and started my own garage business, straightaway, and so, the birth of
ROB PENDLETON MOTORS.
RPM.


Most of these photos are copyright. I have tried to contact as many of the photographers as possible but as most photos are 30-40 years old it this has been impossible. Thanks to those who have given permission, and credit is shown where applicable.



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