From the desk of Jim Clark
This was the Girling brakes letter folder that Jim Clark used for many years on his desk at Edington Mains. Inside I keep a few of my favourite Jim Clark items and pictures…
Left: Jim was a diligent letter-writer and thus carried his own notepaper when travelling. This missive was written from the Rushcutter’s Bay Travelodge on the eve of the 1968 International 100 at Warwick Farm, Sydney (which Jim won)
Below: So there he was, preparing for the big race – and what should cross his mind but the expired licence disc on his Lotus Elan , which at that time was garaged in Paris? One wonders if any of today’s World Champions, in their hotel rooms before a race, would be similarly diligent about small, but important, details..
Above: This was a letter I received from Jim’s mother, Helen, after an article I wrote for Competition Car magazine in 1974. I had just bought the red Lotus Elan S3 Coupe formerly owned by Jim’s manager, Ian Scott-Watson. As a result of this invitation, I drove it up to Edington Mains to meet Mrs Clark and to see the farm and Trophy Room. The Elan, which I still drive, ran like clockwork
Below: As ever, the Indy organizers did a great job with the 500 race tickets for 1966
Jim made the front cover of Time – which was a huge thing in those days. I always liked their choice of words – “quickest” rather than the more predictable “fastest”
This is the edition of The Indianapolis News that Jim was able to hold in Victory Lane after winning the Indy 500 in 1965
…and this is the not-so-famous photograph of that Victory Lane celebration. Jim has already handed the newspaper to David Lazenby. I love this shot because it includes two of my best buddies from Australia, both of whom worked on Jim’s car at Indy in 1965. Second mechanic from the left is Jim Smith – and to his left is a young Allan Moffatt, the Canadian driver who would become an icon in Australian racing circles. Jim Smith was a marine engineer by trade and joined Lotus earlier that year after replying to an ad in the newspaper. When Colin Chapman realized he was a transmission specialist he was quickly flown to Indy!
Panshanger Aerodrome, in Hertfordshire, North London, from which Jim and Colin Chapman did much of their flying in the Cheshunt Lotus factory days
One of my favourite pictures of Jim. It’s taken after the 1968 International 100 at Warwick Farm, which he won from his GLTL team-mate, Graham Hill. Stirling Moss was present to help with the awards – and so two of the greatest F1 drivers of all time were able to smile and to laugh and to enjoy the moment. It would be Jim’s second-last win
I took this shot of Jim with my Kodak Box Brownie camera just before Friday practice for the 1965 International 100 at Warwick Farm. Jim is about to don his Bell Star and climb into the Lotus 32B-Climax. That’s the brilliant photographer, Nigel Snowdon, on the left (much of Nigel’s work is now in the Sutton Images archives) and, to his left, in the white t-shirt, is Ray Parsons, sometime Team Lotus F3, Elan and Cortina driver, who on this occasion was acting as Team Manager
The left-hand-drive Lotus Elan S3 Coupe that Jim drove throughout Europe in 1967 – and about which he was concerned in his letter to Jabby (above).
The red, ex-Ian Scott-Watson Elan with Jim’s mother, Helen Clark, in September, 1974. This car was beautifully built in kit form by Jock McBain’s mechanics in 1965 and was used regularly by Jim whenever he was up in Scotland in 1965-66
Over the years there’s been plenty of discussion about whether Jim liked to be called “Jim” or “Jimmy”. Personally, I’ve always favoured “Jim” on the basis that he called his autobiography Jim Clark at the Wheel (and not Jimmy Clark at the Wheel). Anyway, perhaps this reply card settles the argument. Invited by Ecurie Ecosse to receive an award at the end of the 1959 season, Jim signed his RSVP “James Clark Jnr” – the name by which he was known in Scots Border farming circles before he became a celebrity. Jim’s father was of course “James Snr.” (It is also characteristic of Jim, I think, that he took the trouble to reply formerly to an invitation that in reality was only about him in the first place!)
Photos: The Colin Piper and Peter Windsor Collections