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ROB WALKER ON CLASSIC CARS

I DON’T OFTEN remember forewords to books I’ve read. Some are dedications. Some are introductions to the author. But I recall one whenever I pick up the Classic Cars in Profile series, particularly Volume 2, Profile Nos. 25–48.

Classic Cars in Profile Volume 2, Profile Nos. 25–48, Anthony Harding general editor, Doubleday & Company, 1969.

The foreword for this one is written by R.R.C. Walker, whom I had the pleasure of knowing because of his contributions to R&T. Rob has appeared several times here at SimanaitisSays, in particular in “Rob’s New Moon.”

Robert Ramsey Campbell Walker, 1917–2002, British Formula One team owner, automotive journalist, gentleman; this last listed on his passport as occupation. Image from “Rob’s New Moon.”

The following are excerpts from his thoughtful views on classic cars in the Foreword of Classic Cars in Profile, Volume 2.

Rob’s Initial Comment. “I do not pretend to be an expert on classic cars, in fact I am only vaguely interested in them, although I do own one or two, and should like to be able to own a few more. So, when the Editor handed me a copy of the first volume of Classic Cars in Profile, I put it on one side and did not intend to give it more than a cursory glance for politeness sake.”

“When I did look at it, I found to my surprise that I was getting very engrossed, and indeed, the whole family have been immersed in it.” 

Betty Walker with their 3 1/4-Litre Delahaye Coupe at their cottage near Yeovilton.

Nostalgic Views. “For me Profiles brought back nostalgic memories of hot sunny days with clear roads, and a beautiful open car raring to go, with the added thrill that it might turn temperamental and present some unexpected problem or adventure—and in my case usually did.”

Rob co-drove his Delahaye 135 CS to eighth place at the 1939 Le Mans. For evening driving, he changed appropriately from brown to black shoes; he wore coat and tie throughout. Image from “Smuggling and Motorsports.

“As I turned the pages I recalled more and more classic cars of my young days, many of which I had owned myself, and it was a very pleasant recollection.”

Rob’s pair of Aston Martins, DB1 at left, and DB2. Image from R&T, June 1981.

“I feel that Profiles will be of invaluable use to model makers, and to those restoring cars, both of whom are fast growing breeds.”

“Any classic is worth looking at whether it be Grecian or Roman architecture or Vanden Plas and Farina bodywork, and this is where Profiles must always give great enjoyment.—R.R.C. Walker, Dorking, March 1967.” 

Rob’s Racing Team. By 1967, Rob Walker Racing had carried its livery, dark blue with white stripe, in motorsports for 24 years. Drivers included Stirling Moss, the deal with whom Rob sealed with a handshake.

Rob’s final participation as a Formula One entrant came in the 1970 Mexican Grand Prix. By then, the team had garnered nine race victories, nine fastest laps, and 10 pole positions. Rob’s race car marques included Connaught, Cooper, Lotus, Ferguson, and Brabham. 

R&T Involvement. Rob began writing for R&T in 1967, giving him ample opportunity to stay with the F1 circus even after his team disbanded. Wife Dottie, who was R&T managing editor during Rob’s contributions, recalls race reports delivered in precisely printed hand writing. (Rob claimed that he never learned to write in script.)

Rob’s love of classic cars is recounted in the R&T series “Rob’s Cars,” August 1979, July 1980, and June 1981. ds 

© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2021  

6 comments on “ROB WALKER ON CLASSIC CARS

  1. Paul M Everett
    June 29, 2021

    Thanks, Dennis. That one got me looking at old R&T pages. . . Somehow I don’t follow F1 as closely without those reports from Walker, or Innes Ireland, or (of course) our fthfl svnt Henry N. Manney, even if they arrived weeks after the races. And to think today of Walker dispatching a hand-written copy of his detailed reports!

    • simanaitissays
      June 29, 2021

      Thank you, Paul, for your kind words. Agreed, F1 seem more compelling, even in its delayed mode.

  2. Jack Albrecht
    June 29, 2021

    It’s crazy how long Rob Walker has been dead. I remember reading his articles like it was only a couple of years ago. He always came across as a very wealthy guy who didn’t let the money go to his head and understood he was just really lucky who his parents were. I could be wrong, but that is the way I’ll always remember him.

  3. Mike B
    June 30, 2021

    “Foreward” should be “foreword” in this context?

    I wondered what happened to Rob Walker. His columns were always interesting; much more than just the Racing News. And I did ask for (and get) of the books of Henry Manney columns one year for Christmas!

    • simanaitissays
      June 30, 2021

      Right you are, Mike. Careless mistakes put right, without running from drugstore to drugstore with a Magic Marker. I love websites.

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