The latest from Eric's blog
Motor Shows are changing. London Motor Shows at Olympia or those I attended religiously at Earls Court have long gone. The Paris Salon is a pale shadow, Frankfurt is biennial. Only Geneva survives in anything like its old splendour. Its press days were an occasion.
Holy Grails don’t come often. One that could stretch the useful life of internal combustion by decades is revealed by Mazda. But its announcement is so circumscribed by environmental doublespeak I am not sure whether to believe it or not.
They don’t do motoring press lunches like this now.Ford did it in the Kintyre Suite of the Central Hotel with partridge terrine, mussel chowder, lobster vol-au-vent in brandy sauce, saddle of venison and mousse of Drambuie. Wines Alsatian Reisling, Gevrey Chambertin 1953, and Château Climens 1952. At a mere 8 years old the Gevrey-Chambertin may have been a bit nouveau. Never mind, I thought I had hit the big time.
In his prologue to Black Sheep in the Fast Lane Ian Scott-Watson recalled Jim Clark’s crucial debut race against Colin Chapman:
"There were three Lotus Elites on the front row at the 1958 Brands Hatch Boxing Day. The sun was taking a Christmas break and it was cold. It was the first time Elites had raced one another and bookies were offering “evens” on Colin Chapman its designer and 3 to 1 on Mike Costin, who had worked on the car’s development. For the first and only time I placed a bet on a motor race, half-a-crown (12¼p), the loose change I had in my pocket.
John Whitmore’s death in April cut one more link with Jim Clark. In 1959 they drove to tenth place at Le Mans in a Lotus Elite and remained firm friends up to Clark’s death in 1968. Sir John Henry Douglas Whitmore Bt was European Touring Car Champion in 1965 in a Lotus Cortina. He shared his town flat in Balfour Place Mayfair with Clark and Jackie Stewart so often they called it their Scottish embassy.
Owing to his tax exile status Jim Clark was not able to take part in testing the first Lotus 49, completed during May 1967. The first time he saw it was when it was unloaded from the transporter at Zandvoort. Its basis was not unfamiliar, for it was an evolution of Chapman’s Lotus 43, the abbreviated monocoque designed for the stop-gap, complicated, overweight but cleverly conceived BRM H16 engine of 1966, which Clark had taken to its only grand prix win in America.