HPs and rally driving


I had dinner the other night with a long time friend of my parents who was an avid rally driver in the 60s and 70s. He actually owns a Curta Type II and for years has been blissfully unaware of how valuable these things have become. For years, the Curta was the computational device of choice in rally racing, and indeed seems to have remained in active use well after the advent of widely available electronic calculators.

Has anyone here had experience with HPs in rally racing? I have heard of HPs being used for just about anything, and there are some pretty esoteric apps and solutions and publications out there, but I don't think I have ever heard of HP calcs catching on as the computational device of choice in this sport.

Just interested....




Of course!!!!! HP is well know for it's racing apps!! I am talking about races where the vehicles move in high speed vertically .... the moon lander!!!!




Hi, Les --

For years, the Curta was the computational device of choice in rally racing, and indeed seems to have remained in active use well after the advent of widely available electronic calculators.

Production of the Curta II was terminated in 1972, right after inexpensive 4-function electronic calculators became available -- the handwriting was on the wall for the demise of mechanical calculators.

However, some of those from that era were poorly-made. (I remember one with paper labels glued onto the keys!) Of course, all had LED displays, and rechargable batteries were quite unacceptable in the road-rally setting. A decently-made calc with a supply of batteries might have served as a suitable substitute.

It would seem that an HP-41C would have been a fine road-rally tool, if permitted by rules. Initial price and availability of disposable "N" cells might have been issues...

-- KS


I was an avid amateur rally competitor in the '60s. No hand held HPs in those days! Couldn't afford a Curta either. We used a Stevens Rally Calculator, a circular slide rule type. Now I have a Curta :-) and my 1965 SAAB Monte Carlo rally model with the Stevens sitting on the navigator's map table along with a stop watch, is parked inside for the winter. Those 'good old days'...




The catalog for the PPX Exchange shows two TI-59 programs associated with road rallying:

988002A Road Rally Navigation by Clyde Durbin of Dallas, Texas

Originally written for the SR-52. Designed for time-speed-distance navigation using only the car's tenths reading odometer, one time-of-day watch (hours-minutes-seconds) and the TI-59. Program features (1) perfect watch time for any odometer mileage; (2) automatic speed change; (3) off-course recourse; (4) pause and gain speed; (5) current and next speed; (6) converts odometer mileage to official and vice versa.

988013E Real Time Road Rally Average Speed Program by William Zenker of Sarasota, Florida

Initial inputs of the desired average speed and the beginning odometer reading will provide the rallyist with a continuous read-out, updated at 15 second intervals of the desired odometer reading in real time. Time keeping accuracy can be easily calibrated for temperature, humidity and individual calculator variations to within +/- 4 seconds per hour. Upon completion of the run, initial entries can be recalled along with the mileage total and the total elapsed time in 15 second increments.

I do not have a copy of either program and copies are not available at Viktor Toth's site.

If the TI guys published road rallying programs the HP guys must have done the same. In those days neither side wanted to be in a position where the other side had a capability that they didn't.


I, too, was a rally enthusiast during the 60s, running many rallies in Arizona and California in my TR-4 during that time. I used a Stevens circular slide rule, and then a Curta II, for my time-speed-distance calculations. I'm proud to have them as part of my calculatoria collection today.

Of course, this was before the HPs, but after I got my HP-25 in 1977, I spent a bit of time thinking about how it could be used for rallying. Unfortunately, I never actually tried using a handheld for rallying because I had other things taking up my time, like a new wife, family, and career.

Thanks for the memories.


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