…chance doesn't exist; there's always a cause and a reason for everything – Elahi

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 daysI 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

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10 thoughts on “From the desk of Jim Clark

  1. Chico Rosa from Interlagos circuit São Paulo Brasil on said:

    Just a marvelous staff Peter, congratulations !!!
    I follow you on twitter..

  2. Elan looks really nice (even now – a classic design): Caught one during a local exhibition last year.

    Once again, it’s the digital world of today vs. real “analog” world of the past. Right now there’s more interest in F1 history with Lauda/Hunt or Cevert movies being made, not to mention the massive success of Senna movie. Always exciting to learn how things were back then.

  3. Dear Peter,

    I read this post with some sadness. I suppose the whole process of getting older is that we all collect memories. You have some great memories and I am sure that some of these memories are tearful. We really need to appreciate that someone with a wealth of experience and memories such as yourself happily shares all with those that read this blog and The Flying Lap. We as fans are very very thankful.

    cheers to Jack and Mrs. Windsor. HAPPY EASTER

  4. Peter,

    As always another amazing story of amazing driver. Thanks for sharing

  5. Joe M. Anastasi on said:

    Good day Peter.

    I have followed most motorsport, particularly F1 since leaving school in 1962.

    I met your predecessor at “Motorsport” Dennis Jenkinson for the first time whilst attending my first GP – Syracuse – in 1963, and met him regularly thereafter at the Targa Florio between 1966 and 1972 when I finally stopped spectating and decided to participate, at the Nurburgring 1000km in 71, at the Monaco GP in 69, 70, and 71, and at the British GP in 67 where I also watched my all time favorite driver Jim Clark take the Lotus 49 Cosworth to a fine win.

    I enjoyed many years of reading your excellent articles and race reports in Motorsport, a magazine I have bought regularly each month since 62, and still enjoy reading.

    Thank you for your great contribution to our sport.

    Joe Anastasi.

  6. Miles Hutton on said:

    Really interesting Peter, many thanks for letting us see it.

  7. Wonderful memories, Peter. The significance of your having been appointed as DSJ’s successor at “Motorsport” is not lost on me. It just shows how far in this world we can proceed when we have enthusiasm and dedication.
    Best wishes,
    Peter Finlay

  8. Mike Pepper on said:

    So who’s the bloke with all the hair standing next to the red Elan??

  9. Alan Marsden on said:

    Jim will always be my hero!
    I was a fan since I was 5 y/old, and as he was the 63 Champion
    I bought the Corgi Lotus Climax which went everywhere with me.
    I still have this car to this day, but had to buy a new box. Jim was taken from us in 68, I was 10.
    Losing Jim was like losing part of our family, it totally crushed me!
    It definitely changed my outlook
    to life as I grew up. For me, Jim
    will always be the Greatest of them all. Always was & always
    will be. Jim is the G.O.A. T. and
    that’s a fact.

  10. Mike Pepper on said:

    I think you meant ‘formally’. Strange mistake for a journo!

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