My part in 1959 Le Mans victory
One of the first jobs when I started my “apprenticeship” at Aston Martins’ was to stick 2” lengths of wool at 4” intervals all over the bodywork of a DBR3000 race car and as a reward I was allowed to go to the test at Silverstone. I was in the rear of a Lagonda estate car driven by the chief engineer, Brian Clayton, with the chief designer, Ted Cutting, in the front passenger seat. We were belting along when Ted, upon finishing his apple, went to throw it away by opening the forward opening front door! The stupendously quick reactions of Brian in grabbing him undoubtedly saved Ted from meeting the tarmac at 90 mph. We retrieved the door and somehow fixed it into position to continue to Silverstone...
The test started with discussions about how to film the race car for this aerodynamic
exercise and it was decided that I would be in the back seat of the estate car hanging
onto the cameraman with the rear split tailgate open both up and down and the race
car would follow. It was necessary for the race car to travel within yards of the
Lagonda to achieve the focus to record the direction of each piece of wool that the
That was to destroy anything, that might find its way into unauthorised hands, such
as development items but, on this occasion, I was told to destroy the old race car
bodies because new ones had been designed and made as a result of the aerodynamic
test that I had witnessed. Fortunately I had a self-
I did get to Le Mans myself independently and regarded myself as partly responsible for the win, however nothing was ever said and I was given the task of cleaning the cars on their return. I was also instructed to remove the winning car's steering wheel and send it to the Steering Wheel Club as was the custom at that time. Being more than slightly miffed I sent the wheel from the second placed car and kept the winning one myself – it is above my desk as I type this 54 years later
Life's a bitch!!!
1959 Le Mans winner with Fred Shattock in the driving seat with chief engineer Brian Clayton