|THE HISTORY OF THE GRANDS PRIX OF MONACO BY ROY HULSBERGEN|
|AUTOMOBILE CLUB DE MONACO|
Originally called the S.V.P. (Sport Velocipédique de la Principauté) the club was created on 26th August 1890 for bicycle lovers. Activities included such things as day trips, shows and various sporting events. At the request of the government, the name was quickly changed to the S.V.M. (Sport Velocipédique de Monaco).
The 21 founding members applied strict regulations to the club members, which included the wearing of an uniform: white stockings, blue trousers, a white sweater with red markings at the wrist, arm and collar, and a cap. The initiation fee was 5 Francs, with annual dues of 1 Franc. Members not only had to own a bicycle, they had to pass a morality test. Members agreed to attend all meetings when invited, participate in all events, and, of course, wear the uniform to all club functions.
It was not until January 1894 that the club decided to accept women, and on 28th August 1907 the club was renamed the S.A.V.M. (Sport Automobile et Velocipédique de Monaco).
After a few experimental races (Paris/Bordeaux/Paris) and Paris Madrid, people began to realize that cars could be solid, fast, safe and even occasionally comfortable. 1907 would see the birth of the world’s longest race, the Paris/Peking rally of some 14000kms.
At the turn of the century, roads were more like tracks, at best paved, but more often only dirt (what the French call “terre brute”), with the ruts left by horse-driven carriages more or less filled. Others, such as those in Monaco, were covered by a mixture of broken stones and sand, and either became muddy mires in the rain, or huge dust bowls in the dry season.
In 1901, the Monegasque resident Dr. Guglielminetti noted that the tar that escaped from the kip car of the gas-works not only solidified, but became water proof and reduced the dust considerably: thus was tarmac born. For 10 years, the automobile had evolved considerably; with the discovery of tarmac, its evolution was unstoppable.
The S.A.V.M. gained in prestige on September 27th, 1905, when H.S.H. Prince Albert 1st, observing the exemplary behaviour of club members, agreed to become Honorary President.
On 31st October 1909 the presidency of the club is given to the man that would make it famous: Alexandre Noghès, and on December 1st, 1909, Mr. Noghès presented his project for a rally. His son Antony (elected member of the board on March 20th,1910) had dreamed of a race where cars would start from various european cities and arrive in Monaco. A great idea that would take two years to realise: but from the 21st to the 29th of January, 1911 the rally would take place, partially financed by the already powerful SBM since the aim, of course, was to bring people to Monaco to stay in their various establishments. The rally was an undeniable success.
The second rally, in1912, was an even bigger success, with large press coverage.
The first Grand Prix de Monaco would be held in 1913, an event involving ... hydroplanes! The Principality was already dedicated to speed and... technology.
Four years of war would call a temporary halt to the ambitions of the club, but from March 8th to the 15th, 1921 the club, in collaboration with the International Sporting Club of Monte Carlo, organised the Automobile Week: a success that would only encourage President Alexandre Noghès and his son Antony, now Commissaire Sporting des Courses.
On 8th May 1925 the club would take its current name, the ACM (Automobile Club of Monaco) changing the logo from a cog-wheel to a car wheel topped with a crown; already some 110 members owned automobiles.
Antony Noghès battling other european clubs for international position and prestige, would toss out a crazy idea to the amazed reaction of the Automobile Club of France: an international automobile race to be held on the territory of Monaco.... three years will be needed to defend, design and bring the project to reality,the first "Grand Prix Automobile de Monaco".
Members Sport Vélocipédique de la Principauté
Motorbike race in 1911
First start of the Rallye of Monaco in 1911
Antony Noghès realised his dream of a Race in the City