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Roy Salvadori RIP

With a name like that he could only have been a racing driver really, but he was also a successful businessman and, most of all, a gentleman.

As a man of his word he stuck with Aston Martin’s dreadful F1 project instead of staying on with Cooper where he might have won a world championship; certainly he would have won a Grand Prix or two. Instead of rear engined results he followed the handshake agreement into wasted time and races with one of the last front engined F1 cars.

He was also involved in the original Ford GT40 programme, and his sense of honour saw him leave the programme and hand back his fee after discovering the high speed instability of the early car.

His last great win came after a tense battle over the whole race at Monza when his Aston Marting beat Mike Parke’s Ferrari in 1963 and he wound down his motor racing career as team manager at Cooper in the first years af the 3 litre formula, helping to mastermind the team’s last pair of Grand Prix wins.

His greatest days as a driver were in the 1950s and amongst many highlights is 5 wins in a day in a variety of cars at Crystal Palace, those being the days when many top drivers would run in F1, saloons and sports cars all at the same event. The end of the 50’s saw probably his most famous result, that of bringing Aston Martin it’s first Le Mans win sharing with Carol Shelby.

His business interest at Thompson and Taylor in Cobham in the early to mid 1960s brought us into contact. Not only did I pass their site twice daily on my way to school and back but, for a time, my big sister worked there as a secretary and through her I got to meet the man.

He was one one my heroes; tall, good looking, impecable manners and bloody quick in a car.

RIP Roy, and thanks for all of the memories.


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