Friday, 11 November 2016

Jim Clark - Formula 1

Fritz Köthe's painting of Formula 1 driver Jim Clark is a special favourite of mine.

Whenever I gaze at it in Vienna's Mumok, and that is often, I slip into reverie. I dream that I'm back in Britain and it's 1964.

I think no-one could have anticipated the great changes that have taken place in motor racing since 1964.

It was an innocent time, that time before John Player Special and Marlboro pumped their millions into Formula 1.

In 1964 I was a teenage boy. And Jim Clark was my hero. He was FI World Champion in 1963 and 1965.

This was a time when racing cars were identifiable simply by their colours.

I remember how proud I was when I first heard the words: British Racing Green.

Jim Clark was killed in a motor racing accident in 1968.

He was 32.


  1. __ I certainly remember Jimmy Clark... and as I remember, he was involved with Lotus. As a fifteen year old, with an uncle that was a BMC dealer near Lime Rock Park in Ct. I began to follow Stirling Moss, a driver I believe, for Vanwall and Aston Martin. Ahhh, the childhood memories! _m

    1. Thanks Magyar. I remember listening to radio updates of a 24-hour race with Stirling Moss and Roy Salvadori driving I think an Aston Martin. When I started work I wanted a Jaguar E-type but of course in the end I had to settle for less. Now I'm older I have a van with windows. What a come down!

    2. __ 1963: previously owned, my first car was an Austin A40 Somerset Drop Head Coupe that was manufactured in 1952, it had yellow headlamps. Guess what color the paint work was. Yup!
      __ I wanted an XK120... never happened.

    3. I thought I could just about afford a sporty looking Triumph Spitfire and so I sat in the drivers seat of one in a showroom. And I nearly couldn't get out!!!
      My first car was also 1952. Morris Oxford. Green. Bench seat. 4-speed column change. Dip switch on floor. 80 mph flat out. Suddenly I felt like a proverbial bank manager!

  2. I once drove a Lotus Forumla Junior at Snetterton. It belonged to a school friend, and I think I did 2 circuits at about 30 mph; it was terrifying. Since the days of the 5 second pit stop, I've become rather bored with motor racing. Bring back oil stained faces and goggles.

    1. Thanks Cro. Yes, all the romance has gone out of it. One time I used to be in digs with a Grand Prix pit mechanic from the era you speak of. Never got to drive anything faster than a clumpy Mk X Jag though. Now I'm too old to go fast. Hopefully next car will be one of these birds that drives itself.