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Magazine 115

Bill Boddy MBE 1913-2011

A memorial service for Bill Boddy was held on Friday July 15 at St Andrews Church, Presteigne. The service took place at 2pm, afterwhich the congregation gathered at the Radnorshire Arms at 3pm to enjoy sandwiches and chocolate cake (WB’s favourites). The family have requested no flowers, preferring the alternative of donations to Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Motor Sport is deeply saddened to announce the death at the age 98 of Bill Boddy, the mainstay of the magazine throughout most of its existence. Universally known as WB, Boddy was officially the Editor of Motor Sport for an astonishing 55 years, from 1936 to 1991, during which time he made the title an opinionated and highly influential voice in the worlds of racing and motoring. Remarkably, he continued to write for the magazine every single month since, dictating his last column only days before his death.

magazine  Bill Boddy MBE 1913 2011

Bill Boddy

But his significance extended much further than one publication. He was also arguably the single most important figure in the vintage and classic car movement, using Motor Sport to promote interest in old cars at a time when few were interested. He became a human encyclopaedia on Brooklands, the world’s first race circuit, and apart from writing the definitive history he founded the Brooklands Society which saved the derelict track. A stalwart of vintage and veteran racing – he went on 39 Brighton Runs – he also supported low-cost racing during the 1950s by helping to found the 750MC and promoting the 500cc racing movement which later led to Britain’s domination of the racing scene.

WB’s frank and fearless road tests became the industry benchmark, and by recruiting ‘Jenks’ (the forthright Denis Jenkinson) to the magazine as Grand Prix correspondent he created a pairing which genuinely was, as our masthead proclaimed, “the authoritative voice of the sport”. Boddy used this power to campaign actively on many topics, notably against the introduction of the 70mph speed limit. With a string of books on cars and racing, WB’s deep knowledge was well known and he made countless appearances on radio and TV. In 1997 he received an MBE for services to journalism.

There has probably never been such a long working career in any field: Boddy’s first article was in Motor Sport in 1930, an amazing 81 years ago. WB saw both Nuvolari and Vettel race, knew Caracciola, Hawthorn and Clark, and tested Austin Sevens when they were brand-new. He turned Motor Sport from a tiny specialist title into a major player with great influence in the motoring world, and its continued existence is his legacy.

A full appreciation will appear in the September issue. Following a private cremation, there will be a memorial service for all those who wish to pay their respects. Details at the top.

By Gordon Cruickshank

Add your comments

115 comments on Bill Boddy MBE 1913-2011

  1. Abel Cruz, 7 July 2011 13:43

    Hello from Barcelona,

    I won’t be saying anything original if I say that I’m deeply sorry you all lost a friend and a mentor today.

    While the subjects WB talked about seemd to be about a world far away to me (I’m Spanish and only 33), I clearly felt the passion and expertise of someone who really loved the automobile world in all its facets.

    I’m really sorry that you, the country that was the cradle of Motorsports, lost your most important member.

    Many hugs,

    Abel Cruz, Barcelona

  2. Matthew Carter, 7 July 2011 13:46

    Firstly, may I extend my condolences to the Boddy family.

    Secondly I would like to say a big “Thank you” to WB. MOTORSPORT is some legacy to leave behind, one that we all enjoy each month. I can’t imagine following my passion for all things motorsport without it.

    I trust that all at the helm today will uphold his values, passion and dedication we enjoy today, unlike some areas of the media who, quite rightly, have been exposed this week for who they really are.

    A real end of an era.

    R.I.P. WB

  3. Roger Collings, 7 July 2011 14:33

    W.B was the last link that The Vintage Sports- Car Club had to its beginnings. From the very start he was an inspiration to the Club, supporting us whenever necessary.

    His articles succeeded in saving numerous aged car long before the war. One of the cars he managed to save was the Grand Prix Itala. The very epitome of the Club in so many ways.

    He wasn’t too fond of bureaucracy and many of us remember his Boxing Night Informal Runs from Staines to Cornwall in the late 50′s with great affection.

    Bill Boddy was a true enthusiast and will long be remembered by all of us in the aged car world.

    W.B. died, peacefully, at his Welsh home,Llynbarried Hall with Nondus at his side.

    If you want to find an epitaph for Bill Boddy look no further MOTOR SPORT.

  4. Clive Temple, 7 July 2011 14:33

    May I also do likewise and extend my condolences.

    Matthew captures the importance of WB in the worlds of motorsport and journalism. While we have lost a truly great man we are much the richer for his legacy and the inspiration he has been to so many of us.

    Thank you WB.

  5. Toby Coulson, 7 July 2011 14:41

    I first read Motorsport in 1966 and am saddened by the passing away of WB. He along with DSJ made Motorsport the magazine it is today. He will be sadly missed.

  6. Lewis Lane, 7 July 2011 14:47

    My sympathies and condolences to the Boddy family, and all his friends .
    For me, WB’s contribution to journalism, motoring in general, motor sport, and Brooklands in particular is unmatched. I have a copy of “Brooklands – the complete motor racing history” and it is a remarkable work. I don’t think it’s an overestimation to say that if it hadn’t been for WB and the Brooklands Society, there would be nothing at all left there now, and if ever a man has a monument, there it is in those strips of crumbling concrete. A remarkable man and a great writer.
    R.I.P

  7. Derek Griffin, 7 July 2011 15:29

    My thoughts are with his family and friends at this time, but I understand he died peacefully at home, so I hope he was happy and had his family with him.

    Like Toby, I have been reading Motor Sport since the 1960s, and WB and DSJ were the fabric of Motor Sport and their legacy is huge. The magazine goes from strength to strength, but there must be a huge library of their work to be passed on to younger readers.

    They will be sadly missed and I hope that some sort of recognition will be made this weekend at Silverstone.

  8. Chris Garner, Club Archivist, 7 July 2011 15:50

    We here at the PreWar Austin Seven Club, of which he was an honorary member, are deeply saddened by the news.
    Bill was a staunch follower of the Seven and wrote the book ” The Austin Seven ” Some years ago he was thrilled when we asked his permission to republish it.
    I personally treasure the correspondance I had with him at the time, with his annotated typewritten letters – most of which, at the end, apologised for the errors, stating ” sorry, no typist available today “!!
    Thanks Bill, the motoring world is a sadder place.

  9. Dave Butters, 7 July 2011 15:51

    You comments on WB certainly were on the money. He will be missed in many ways!

  10. John Deverell, 7 July 2011 15:57

    It was sad to hear the news of WB.
    His road test of the E-type Jaguar back in 1962 still sticks in my mind
    When I worked for MotorSport in the 70`s,I was ask to deliver urgent press proofs to his home, a 4hour journey from the offices original City Road
    Those were days before electronic
    technology!!!

  11. Robin Lawton, 7 July 2011 16:00

    A great loss to so many – as an avid Motor Sport reader since 1962, Bill’s style and humour was a joy to read. One of the driving forces behind the Vintage movement, Bill encouraged so many youngsters into old cars, therby creating a way of life and ensuring the preservation of numerous vehicles that would otherwise have fallen by the wayside.
    A true legend and utterly irreplaceable.

  12. dave cubbedge, 7 July 2011 16:01

    It is with sadness that I write this note. The motoring community has lost an icon. My thoughts and prayers are with the Boddy and Motor Sport family. He had a wealth of information inside of him, and fortunately for us, he told us in his great monthly articles. I am grateful to have the collection of magazines and therefore his legacy will live on through us, the fans of the history of motor racing.

  13. Doug Nye, 7 July 2011 16:04

    I would like to express my most sincere condolences to Bill’s family and friends. I was his assistant at ‘MS’ for a few months in 1968 and he was VERY supportive and helpful, especially when I told him that – pardoning his presence – I just couldn’t stand the place and would be leaving as soon as I could… His knowledge, his work ethic and his utter dedication to getting it right, doing it properly and encouraging others to keep to the path of motoring righteousness were all unrivalled. He always seemed rather like a querulous schoolboy, ready to make a statement and challenge anyone else to tell him he was wrong. But he could be very funny, and extremely perceptive. His MBE was wonderfully well merited, yet it seemed to embarrass him deeply. His contribution to motoring in general and especially to the old-car movement in this country was absolutely immense. He’s in a more comfy place now, and he and Jenks are probably already locked in argument over the way it used to be… Godspeed Bod. Thanks for all the gen.

  14. Paul Fearnley, 7 July 2011 16:23

    An astounding and outstanding contribution to all things motoring. We will not see his like again.
    My condolences to his family and friends, including the hundreds of thousands whom he never met but who hung on his every word.

  15. Rich Ambroson, 7 July 2011 16:30

    I haven’t read much here yet. I wanted to immediately add my most sincere and deep condolences to Mr. Boddy’s family and friends, as well as all of his readers and fans across the globe. The world is slightly less civilized today (and we need all the civilizing forces these days), that much poorer for the passing of Bill Boddy. I’m sure the Great Racetrack in the Sky just added another former Earthling to the Right Crowd.

    This will take a while to sink it. Mr. Boddy has been a continual presence in my motor racing reading for quite some time, (over 20 years) but not near as long as many of the longer regular readers of Motorsport.

    With sadness, but gratitude that I got to read so much of Mr. Boddy’s columns and books.

    Godspeed, Bill Boddy.

  16. John Dickinson, 7 July 2011 16:39

    I first started reading Motor Sport in 1956 at the tender age of 10 and haven’t missed an issue since. The Bod’s inimitable style and determination to speak his mind always made rivetting reading. His seemingly unlimited knowledge, stories of the early days and tales of iconic figures in the motoring and motor sporting arenas will never be equalled. I first met him many years ago at a VSCC event at Oulton Park and he was as entertaining and outspoken in person as in print! As Doug Nye says, he and Jenks are probably having a great debate in another place now – and sharing Jenks’ one plate, one cup, one bowl, etc. What a pair! What a loss!
    John in Vancouver

  17. Stuart Dickinson, 7 July 2011 16:52

    We all owe a debt of gratitude to this great man. I was lucky enough to spend some time working at this great publication, which was a dream come true.

  18. Peter Coffman, 7 July 2011 16:55

    This is desperately sad. My condolences to all who knew him, worked with him, or who, like me, simply looked forward to his words every month. I know no one lasts forever, but some part of me thought that WB just might. I’m sure that, eventually, we will all find so much more to celebrate than to mourn.

  19. Bob Smith, 7 July 2011 17:10

    To the extended Motor Sport family,

    This is sad news and I would like to extend my condolences to the Boddy family. Mr. Boody has provided us all with countless hours of informative entertainment during his career.

    RIP Mr. Boddy.

    Bob Smith
    Fayetteville, Arkansas USA

  20. Martin Tomlinson, 7 July 2011 17:32

    The contribution that WB and Jenks have made to our sport by giving us what is probably the finest magazine publication (on any subject) cannot be underestimated. Their legacy will, I hope, last as long as there remains motor racing in this world.

    Condolencies to WB’a family and those at Motor Sport

  21. RC MOY, 7 July 2011 17:41

    I never had the privilege to meet ‘WB’ but it feels like I have lost someone that I knew very well. A friend that always had something very interesting, often amusing and occasionally controversial to say.

    His column was always the first thing I read each month; given that ‘WB’ has left (with every pun intended) such a great body of work in the MotorSport archives, I hope that the huge hole that will be left at the back of the magazine can be filled with some of the more interesting, funny and controversial works of the great man.

    My sincere condolences to Mr Boddy’s family, friends and colleagues.

  22. Richard, 7 July 2011 18:12

    My condolences to WB’s family and friends. I first picked up a copy of Motorsport as a teenager in 1997, and his column was usually the first thing I turned to each month (indeed, it was the first page I read in the current issue). I remember reading that he had been working on the magazine since the 1930s and thought it must be a misprint! A truly remarkable man who lived a long life dedicated to what he loved.

  23. MPW, 7 July 2011 18:54

    I am 53 and have been reading Bill Boddy in one way or another all my adult life.

    I do hope that there will never be a copy of Motor Sport magazine published without an article written by Mr Boddy.

    For me, Motor Sport could do worse by simply repeating BB’s monthly column as it was published at the time.

    God bless you, Mr Boddy.

  24. Jonathan Layzell, 7 July 2011 19:04

    Along with Jenks, WB made perhaps the greatest contribution to ensuring that motoring and motor racing are the pursuit of so many today.

    His accuracy and grasp of detail was unrivalled

    I am fortunate that I have 60+ years worth of back issues to delve into when in pursuit of even teh most obscure fact or figure.

    Entertaining, informative and inspirational. He is irreplaceable

  25. Peter baker, 7 July 2011 19:30

    Bugger. Difficult to image reading Motor Sport without coming to WB’s words. Fitting he talked about the VSCC in the last issue. Probably why my Lancia refused to start this morning. Condolences from all at Retro-Speed. Peter

  26. Andy Pritchard, 7 July 2011 20:19

    Very sad news. I’ve been reading WB since 1973, introduced by my father who had admired him for years before that. A marvellous editor and journalist who wrote brilliantly throughout his career. Regards to his family and friends.

  27. Michael Spitale, 7 July 2011 21:34

    98 years and many doing what he loved. That sounds like a great, full life. Best to his family and friends

  28. Gregg May, 7 July 2011 22:20

    Firstly my condolences to WB’s family, friends and colleagues. Such sad, sad news, but what a life! Motorsport has been a driving force behind my passion and my career, and WB has been a big part of that. At the age of 14 I was given my first subscription to the magazine by my parents which has contunued for the past 15 years. Now running my own business concentrating on historic cars and motorsport I can truely say that this publication and the words of WB have inspired me. I have always enjoyed the articles and roadtests of all of the contributors but the recollections of Bill Boddy have always been of particular fascination. His depth of knowledge and experience were second to none with regards to the early days of our sport and continuing for many years, it is very sad indeed to know that we will no longer be able to enjoy the musings of this great man. It were in fact only yesterday that I was reading his latest offering. I only can hope that I can lead such a long and dedicated life.
    RIP WB, you will be truely missed.

  29. Tony Geran, 7 July 2011 22:29

    Sincere condolences to the Motor Sport family on the passing of a giant. As many have said earlier his epitaph is Motor Sport magazine.

  30. Paul Glyde, 7 July 2011 22:45

    Very, very sad news. I’ve been a reader since the 60′s and he was certainly a major part of my motoring life. I fondly remember the witty and honest car reviews with his ‘motoring dog’. And I still enjoyed his pieces over the recent years. He set the tone for the magazine which fortunately survives today – independent, spiky and passionate. Sincere condolences to his family.

  31. Adrian Muldrew, 7 July 2011 23:27

    I am very sad to hear that WB has passed away. With every month in which his name continued to adorn Motor Sport’s pages, I marvelled even more that it still did so. It was quite a thing to consider that one was reading the fresh words of a writer who had first informed and entertained the readers of 1930. Nothing lasts forever, but in WB’s case it really felt as though he would. That’s why it has almost come as a shock, even though he was so advanced in years, that he has finally reached the chequered flag. I was blithely anticipating his becoming an active centenarian columnist in a couple of years. Sadly it wasn’t quite to be, but though he just fell short of “ton up”, he can chuckle now about getting a long way over 70! Was the last column that he dictated “only days before his death” the one that we have in our hands in the current edition, or was it early copy for the next? If we have one final piece of WB wisdom still to read, then that is worth waiting for, but if we have read it already with the August edition, then that particular column is uncannily fitting, almost reading like a valedictory and comprising the two articles “Publishing Was In The Blood” and “The Founding Fathers Of The Vintage Passion”. The first alludes to his father’s work in publishing before his early death in the Great War, whereupon it charts young WB’s beginnings in the world of motoring. The second modestly downplays his own influence in the development of the vintage car movement amidst a litany of other VSCC pioneers, but a letter he wrote to Autocar in 1932 is nicely reproduced. RIP WB

  32. Simon Canning, 8 July 2011 06:37

    A very sad day for the magazine and for the world of motor sport everywhere. His passion was infectious and his memories a window to an era that we were all able to share in through his words.
    Thanks for every syllable WB.

  33. Dirkjan de Widt, 8 July 2011 07:38

    I would like to express my sincere condolences to Mr. Boddy’s family and friends and the MS community.
    RIP Mr. Boddy

  34. Alan Fairless, 8 July 2011 09:05

    I’m so very sorry. More than almost anything else, reading Bill Boddy in Motorsport started my lifelong enthusiasm for cars and motoring. We never met, but I will miss you.

  35. Peter Haynes, 8 July 2011 09:57

    A truly legendary writer who has been both an inspiration and a source of great entertainment and knowledge to all those who love cars and motorsport. He was possibly the last living link to a bygone era and he will be dearly missed. RIP WB.

  36. Neil F. Murray, 8 July 2011 10:36

    I was very saddened to learn of Bill’s death. The memory of him will stay with me always.
    During my time in the VSCC Office he was a great support , as he was ever since I first met him at the VSCC Heston Driving Tests in 1959 when he showed interest in our little Aston Martin, an interests mintained over many years, before and after it joined our family.
    Anne and I offer our condolences to his family and close friends.

  37. Garry, 8 July 2011 11:11

    Perhaps Mr Boddy’s greatest accomplishment was having the foresight to hand the magazine over to the team who currently lift its status ever higher. And by so doing, recognizing Motorsport magazine’s importance to the greater motoring world and therefore ensuring its future.

    A lasting and proud reflection of the man himself.

    RIP good Sir

  38. M S W Laywrong, 8 July 2011 11:17

    Annus Horribilus! We colonials lose David E. Davis, Jr. and now you Brits lose William Boddy, MBE. Their painting was adventure; their frame was motor
    racing.

  39. Ralph Colmar, 8 July 2011 11:20

    WB’s enthusiasm for all things motoring and motor sport was infectious, my belated thanks to him for all the many happy hours of reading he provided. Condolences to his family and friends. RIP WB.

  40. Michael Sharp, 8 July 2011 13:16

    Bill Boddy has been an inspiration to my motoring enthusiasm since my Prep-school days in the 40′s.
    “beware of the motorist who wears a flat cap & string-backed gloves !” He represented all that was good in the old car world, & continually challenged the manufacturers of new shoddily built cars.
    His years with Jenks produced the best motor racing journalism at the time – & probably since.
    A long life well lived, rest in peace.

  41. Kevin Woeller, 8 July 2011 14:39

    I discovered WB when I was 19 yrs old, (now 53) I shall miss his wonderful writing and history.

  42. Graham Wilman, 8 July 2011 14:40

    I understand I own a car once owned by the great man – a Standard Nine Teignmouth 1929 reg no CH 8516. His associations will be noted and included in the cars history.

  43. Todd McCandless, 8 July 2011 16:07

    From all of us (readers and listeners included) at F1B, we offer our most heartfelt condolences. As an avid promoter and consumer of your magazine, I am left bereft of the presence of WB and that will surely be felt for years to come. He was a singular man in a world where passionless duplicity rules.

    The best to all of you in this difficult time.
    Todd

  44. Ken Wright, 8 July 2011 16:36

    WB had a life that many of us would have loved to have lived. Motorsport, PLEASE release a special Boddy edition, extra to the monthly magazine. Make it glossy,colourful and nostalgic. Also, as many readers have been in the privelidged position of being able to afford to attend GP’s etc. make this special edition a bit expensive, so that the profits can go to charity. The era through which WB lived had many who ended their lives tragically early. WB was one of the last primary sources of 20th century history. A life fully lived.

  45. Phil Collins, 8 July 2011 17:33

    A man of integrity and opinion who enthused so many of us, and a great journalist. I wonder what St Peter has lined up as his “Company” chariot- perhaps his once beloved VW?

  46. Ray T, 8 July 2011 18:03

    Didn’t know this man, but it sounds like the sadness of his death should really be balanced by a celebration of his long life and accomplishments.

  47. James de la mare, 8 July 2011 18:44

    Bill Boddy was one of those rare people who become a legend in their own lifetime. Apart from Motor Sport, with which he will always be associated and will never be surpassed, his other abiding interest was in Brooklands.

    He founded the Brooklands Society over forty years ago to preserve the history and what remained of Hugh Locke-King’s remarkable pioneer track after racing ended in 1939, and he continued to write for the Society’s Gazette until the present issue.

    Founding the Society eventually led to the formation of the present Brooklands Museum and the preservation for posterity of the Clubhouse, Test Hill and many other features.

    The Society will mourn the loss of WB and its condolences go to his family.

    James de la Mare.
    Hon. Secretary
    The Brooklands Society

  48. john miller, 8 July 2011 19:15

    My condolences to WB’s friends and family, he was a legend in our sport.

    Ooh, Mr Nye, there’s a book there I think!

  49. Paul Leyser, 8 July 2011 21:51

    So very sad to hear the news! WB’s section at the back of Motor Sport was always one of the first I would read each month.

    I was fortunate to have been in the presence of both Jenks and WB on a few occasions. I vividly remember Jenks and his Triton at Loton Park hillclimb, where he was surrounded by willing helpers when trying to fix something. My memories of WB are of the New Year’s Day vintage gatherings at The Verzons, where he was often seen wearing his old Ford Rally jacket whilst taking plenty of photos and making notes about the more interesting cars on display. How fortunate and priviliged I now consider myself, having witnessed these two great enthusiasts doing what they enjoyed!

    To WB’s family and all his many friends in Motor Sport (and motorsport), I offer my sincere condolences.

  50. Harvey Small, 8 July 2011 23:20

    So sad that the “WB” strapline will not appear live in Motor Sport again.

    For me as a teenager, Motor Sport, in the sixties, had the best pictures and also added the great Jenks articles about motoring in Europe.

    It has always been amazing that he contributed so much to the magazine and that he was always interesting thought provoking and profound.

    His imagination is a huge loss.

  51. Mario Carneiro Neto, 8 July 2011 23:58

    My condolences to the family. This is truly sad, but WB’s legacy will live on in the pages of MS.

    Mario

  52. A.S.Gilbert, 9 July 2011 01:05

    Condolences to William Boddy’s family, colleagues and friends.
    Motorsport alone is significant for so many, but the reportage stewardship of the interest overall means so much.
    There may never be another whose life encompasses so many firsts and barriers broken in motor sports.
    A commemorative edition would be fitting, indeed.
    To be remembered long, and well.

  53. Graham Skillen, 9 July 2011 09:43

    Bill founded the Brooklands Society in 1968 and wrote for its publications from their inception until his column in the current Gazette. He, along with others such as Kenneth Evans, was fundamental in the saving of the site from dereliction by the Society, leading today to the thriving Museum. But he was more than that, not always outgoing in public, but if you met him in his warm Welsh kitchen, he was a wonderful host, speaking quietly in an wonderfully informed and authoritative manner on every motoring and aeronautical topic under the sun. You heard the stories he hadn’t written!

    We will miss him and the Society sends their sincere condolences to the family.

    Graham Skillen
    Chairman, Brooklands Society.

  54. Chris Carroll Sydney, 9 July 2011 14:10

    This is indeed the passing of an era. WB’s legacy of Motor Sport Magazine is a truly proud achievement. One which I and many others have clearly grown up together with and read with the same delight today as when we first stumbled upon it. A sad day but also a time to reflect on a man whose legacy and great valuws are respected and loved by so many. My condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues.

  55. John Bailie, 9 July 2011 15:36

    It is sad that WB, one of the last living links with a long lost era of motor sport has passed away, but we should be grateful that his wonderful word pictures and vivid accounts of those pioneering days will remain forever, as a lasting tribute. Sincere condolences to his family, friends and all who worked with him.

  56. Ken Cooke, 9 July 2011 18:13

    News of the death of Bill Boddy is the end of an era.
    He was largely responsible for the founding of the 750 Motor Club way back in 1939 and was appointed president about 30 years ago. He always took a keen interest in all 750 Club activities and last attended our National Austin Seven Rally at Beaulieu when he was 80. His Motor Sport was compulsive reading for any enthusiast. He indeed was the achitypal motor history Guru.
    Our thoughts go out to Nondus, who used to attend 750 events on his behalf more recently,
    Ken Cooke
    Hon VP
    750 Motor Club.

  57. David Fox, 9 July 2011 18:34

    I know I’m not alone–Bill Body touched many, many lives.
    A very sad loss. I bought my first copy of Motor Sport in June 1959 and I have been reading it ever since.It’s because of Mr Boddy and “Jenks” that I developed my passion for motor sport. My sincere condolences to his family, friends and former and current colleagues.

  58. David Haywood, 9 July 2011 21:27

    Sad news, my condolences to his family. He was an original source of knowledge on so many old car issues. He personally helped me with the Leyland Eight story. He it was who cycled 50 miles to Lewes to see the remnants of the Leyland Thomas No2 being dismantled for scrap, too late to be saved,but for, perhaps, the steering wheel.
    So much of UK has changed since his first published words. Our old car movement present and future owes him a huge debt.

  59. John Murray, 9 July 2011 21:32

    As a teenager I started buying Motor Sport and reading WB and DSJ,two of the biggest influences on me and probably a lot of other people too.WB was responsible for my interest in the history of both motoring and motor sport through the ages.He saw it all from Brooklands to the present day and wrote about it with such enthusiasm.I still have all the magazines through which he shared this enthusiasm and his massive knowledge.Thanks to him the magazine is still alive and long may it continue.

  60. Patrick Kukla, 10 July 2011 06:26

    Forever remembered by a grateful bloke across the other side of the world whose motorsport passion was raised on WB’s wise and informative words.

    WB’s legacy is to keep us close to the true spirit of motorsport, and to bring us the team that write an unmissable monthly that gives us insight without the hype, and a genuine passion for the sport that we all love.

    Condolensces to the Boddy family – and to his many colleagues.

  61. chris, 10 July 2011 07:54

    i too am terribly saddened by the news and my thoughts are with his family and closer friends, i had the pleasure of speaking with WB on one occasion, i think i’d rung up asking his opinion of a new oil company and much to my eternal delight WB spent the next 20 mins talking, chatting, it appears he had met my Grandfather who had worked for a very well known oil company and that delight and graciousness has always stayed with me,

    rest well and in peace

  62. Malcolm Lyon, 11 July 2011 07:48

    What an influence. WB was a ‘father figure’ to many of us and his writing undoubtedly kindled many a young man’s enthusiasm to cherish old cars and thereby created the foundation of many dedicated motor clubs this in turn started the huge industry that has grown to sustain these vintage machines. He has fired up enthusiasms that have lived with many of us throughout our lives. An avid reader of Motorsport before I could drive, along with other ‘impecunious enthusiasts’, I always read the magazine from ‘back’ to ‘front’ hoping to find a Bentley for a ‘tenner’ but feeling no indignity by having to settle on an Austin 7. WB’s stimulating articles were our education and a massive influence on our lives.

  63. Malcolm Green, 11 July 2011 18:55

    I was very sorry to hear that Bill has died – I knew it would happen one day, but he has been such an influence on my motoring life one hoped he would go on forever. I first met him and experienced first-hand his kindness and depth of knowledge when visiting his house to have my set of 3 copies of the History of Brooklands autographed nearly 40 years ago. In more recent years he was supportive and helpful of my modest efforts to record motoring history, especially that of MG cars for which he seemed to have much affection. Along with, it seems, almost all the enthusiasts for older cars I know, Motor Sport has been essential reading for more years than we care to remember. In the 1960s and 1970s especially, those able to get their copy before others before the lesser mortals, like me, to gain early access to the bargains in the small ads were much envied. However, even if I was usually too late to bag the choicest goodies on offer, there was always the consolation of good, well-researched, readable articles from Bill, plus, of course, the much-missed Jenks. Both are irreplaceable.
    May I just add my condolences to those already received by his family and friends.

  64. Gordon Brierley, 11 July 2011 19:29

    I bought Motor Sport for the first time in September 1959 with my first week’s wages and instantly became a fan of WB and DSJ’s reports. It was thanks to Bill Boddy that I discovered Brooklands and all that it entailed; in fact he probably has a lot to answer for!

    We’ll certainly not see the likes of him again.

    RIP WB

  65. Tim Wadsworth, 12 July 2011 09:07

    I once had occasion to write and correct a small detail in a letter from WB to the Automobile. I immediatly received a most courteous and friendly reply (on that old typewriter which I think he used for his entire career). What a gentleman, what a character. Sad we all have to go sometime.

  66. roy carslake, 12 July 2011 15:23

    I can add little to what has all ready been written, but as an old reader of Motor Sport(1955).I have lost an old friend I was never privileged to have meet.R.I.P. W.B.

  67. Tony Storrow, 12 July 2011 15:40

    Just heard about the news while stopping at the Phoenix for a drink and talking with Nick at the garage.
    I have been following WB’sarticles on matters motoring 55 years and his reasoned view on matters in general will be missed greatly.

    I’m not sure if you should offer condolences to a family that you have never met but here they are anyway. The end of an era!

  68. Adrian Benjamin, 12 July 2011 21:13

    Very saddened by the news and my thoughts are with WB’s family, friends and colleagues.

    A long standing reader, having read my father’s copy of MotorSport in the 60′s and 70′s, before graduating to buy my own, I always enjoyed the writings of WB & DSJ, there enthusiasm flowed in abundance.

    More recently, I’ve always turned to WB’s pages first before reading any other part of the Magazine.

    Truly the end of an era, but what an era!

  69. Rob, 12 July 2011 22:07

    I didn’t just learn about cars from reading WB. I learnt to read. WB and Jenks were also my English teachers. I hope it is some consolation to WBs family that he had such a profoundly positive effect on so many peoples lives.

  70. CasinoSquare, 12 July 2011 22:33

    As a teeneager it was WB who introduced me to the Old Ways and an enduring fascination with racing before 1960. It all seems so magical and exciting when he wrote. Sadly missed.

  71. Michael Hannon, 13 July 2011 15:56

    I feel such a great sense of loss – Bill Boddy has been part of my life for 50 years, since I started reading Motor Sport in my doctor’s waiting room at the age of 11.
    I won’t repeat what everyone else has tried to say but I would like to recount a personal memory.
    It was a Sunday afternoon at the Weston-super-Mare seafront sprint back in the late 1980s that I was standing in the press tent after watching Roger Collings blasting that lovely old Mercedes 60hp up the road. I had just signed in as M Hannon, South West Counties Newspapers when I realised that the name above mine in the VSCC book was W Boddy, Motor Sport. And there he was standing beside me! Wearing that famous raincoat and with a camera case round his neck – but it wasn’t a Rolleiflex.
    It has been one of the great sadnesses of my life that I – normally never lost for words – just stood there and couldn’t think of anything appropriate to say. I wanted to thank him for all the pleasure, etc, etc, but I guess he might have been embarrassed. And then the moment was gone.
    Thanks WB.

  72. Mike Worthington-Williams, 14 July 2011 09:05

    I’ve been reading Motor Sport since the early fifties, and remember the thrill when WB published one of my letters when I was aged l6 in l954. He and Jenks were my inspiration and I’ve kept in touch with WB throughout my own career as a motoring historian. Rarely did a month pass without a phone call from “Bod ‘all” (Llwynbarried Hall in Nantmel) with either an obscure enquiry, or the answer to one of mine, or kind words about something I had written. I had come to believe that he was immortal and the news of his death has brought gread sadness. It is truly the end of an era. My and Pam’s condolences to the family. Bill was a “one off”" and we won’t see his like again.

  73. robert lintott, 14 July 2011 12:00

    Truly the end of an era. His forthright advocacy of advanced engineering , mostly foreign, displeased many but he was right then and now. He and Jenks were formidable. An avid reader from 1952 to date , having kept all the copies, filling the library shelves! Thanks to WB

  74. piero dessimone, 14 July 2011 16:23

    I would like to express my deepest condolences to Bill Boddy’s family, colleagues and friends.

  75. Tom Commander, 14 July 2011 16:40

    Its impossible to add anything of consequence except to say we have lost the greatest motoring historian and the second greatest motoring writer (after Jenks..!!) in the world.. Like many above, I do not know the family but my sincere condolences to them and all at MS.

  76. albert Jones, 14 July 2011 18:43

    Condolences to all family and friends. your inspiration affected everyone that owned a car and motorcycle– Goodbye dear friend.
    R I P

  77. Nicholas Storrs, 15 July 2011 22:05

    Yes, an era has passed. My school friend introduced me to Motor Sport in 1952 and I read his copies avidly. The combination of WB and Jenks was magical. I read what they wrote with awe and excitement – the continent of Europe was still a bit of a mystery in those days. But what stood out was the quality of the english in the magazine, which made Motor Sport such a pleasure to read.

  78. Anthony Richards, 16 July 2011 00:17

    I hope, WB, that where you are now will enable you to stroll over with the Motoring Dog to a large stable filled with a slight smell of oil, aircraft propellers on the walls and a super selection of interesting machinery (plus a Beetle) which you may drive to your heart’s content on the highways and byways of eternity.

  79. Terry Starkey, 16 July 2011 08:22

    When I was a mere boy I read MS from cover to cover and loved WB’s wonderful road tests which usually featured ‘the ‘motoring dog’, a yellow labrador.
    Now I’m 66 and still read this wonderful magazine with my own yellow lab by my side.Thanks WB for all those golden column inches.
    You and Jenks really were the very, very best.

  80. Peter Mann, 16 July 2011 11:12

    What can one possibly add to the above, but ‘thank you’ for the quality of your work WB, the honesty of your writing and, perhaps above, for getting Denis Jenkinson to write for Motor Sport, for how lucky I was to have discovered the magazine as a 14 year old in 1961 and to have grown up being able to read on the first of every month the reports, the thoughts and comments of DSJ and yourself fresh from your pens.

  81. Steve West, 16 July 2011 11:24

    I have been a Motor Sport reader for 40 years and will sadly miss WB’s articles and his huge knowledge of eeverything to do with the sport.

  82. Malcolm Lee, 16 July 2011 18:16

    Such a great loss to the motoring fraternity,with his seemingly limitless knowledge on matters veteran,vintage and thoroughbred he will be sorely missed. I bought my first copy of MS on Waterloo station in July 1967 and it was the writings of WB and Jenks that got me hooked. I was lucky enough to have a very brief chat with WB at a Brooklands Reunion in the early 1980s and what struck me was his great charm and modesty; he seemed almost overwhelmed by others praise and thanks for all he had done for the classic car movement and particularly the saving of Brooklands.
    My condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

  83. Peter Mann, 16 July 2011 20:46

    I only learnt of WB’s passing this morning via his obituary in The Times – I was immediately surprised, shocked and sadden at the news and have to say that it is to the great shame of pitpass.com and the BBC’s motorsport site (my daily fix for F1 updates) that they had not carried the news; I then read with great interest the comments above before adding my own thoughts.

    This afternoon, while doing the mindless job of stacking grass (I have a two acre meadow, so plenty to pile up!), my thoughts turned to what can be done to remember permanently both WB and DSJ. They were exceptionally good writers – we are very fortunate that they chose motors, motoring and motor sport as their key interest in life (and has anyone ever written a better ‘I was there’ report than Jenks’ account of the 1955 Mille Miglia?) – and I wondered if a an annual prize in their memory could be given by Motor Sport for an original article on any aspect of motors, motoring and motor sport.

    It should be open to everyone, whether a published or unpublished author, the only criteria being the quality and readability of the piece, the ‘prize’ being publication in Motor Sport plus a, say, 12 month contract to contribute more material before the next winner takes the chequered flag.

    A good idea Mr Editor?

  84. Rob Burns, 17 July 2011 05:42

    It has all been said… an ERA has come to an end with this legend’s passing. His spirit will race on into the future!!

  85. Rob Lorch, 18 July 2011 15:20

    Motor Sport, and WB and DSJ in particular were an inspiration to this motoring mad 1960′s teenager. As well as his great passion for the sporting motor, WB was also a big fan of the Model T Ford and a keen supporter of the activities of the Model T Ford Register of GB.

  86. Robert Mansfield, 18 July 2011 16:07

    Thank you WB for all you did as editor and writer of Motor Sport. It has always been the No1 magazine covering honest car reports and tests, local and international motor sport, and the veteran and vintage scene. But above all this a big ‘thank you’ to you and Winifred for setting up the STD Register. The Register is in very good hands and we enjoy Sunbeams Talbots and Darracqs on a wide range of events. We celebrate your life.

  87. Neville Lear, 18 July 2011 16:54

    Bill Boddy’s passion and enthusiasm for proper motor cars, introduced me to Morgans ( one of the few all British Cars left!), through the pages of Motor Sport in the 60′s.
    This passion rubbed off, and has never left me since.

    Thanks Bill.

  88. Dick Serjeantson, 18 July 2011 22:38

    Sixty-one years ago WB played a major part in helping to found our club by publishing a letter in Motor Sport lamenting the lack of an organisation for owners of our cars. Much more recently he very kindly agreed to write the foreword for our booklet Hornets at Brooklands and did us proud. His contributions to Motor Sport have been required reading for three generations of car enthusiasts. He will be sadly missed.

    Dick Serjeantson
    President
    Wolseley Hornet Special Club.

  89. Neil Longuet-Higgins, 19 July 2011 06:19

    My condolences of course, I would like to recount an afternoon at Brooklands in the late 90′s when I had taken my father there in a Bugatti type 37. After listening to a couple of ‘old chaps’ reminiscing in the bar, we were invited to join them as we showed an interest. It was of course WB and Norman ‘Spud’ Boorer. It gave my late father and I one of the greatest hours of our lives
    You will be sadly missed.
    Longuet-Higgins – Brooklands Club Member

  90. David Burgess-Wise, 19 July 2011 16:57

    All of us in the old car movement owe a great debt to Bill for his enthusiasm and the fact that he kept the old car flame alight even during the war and that his writings led to the saving of so many historic cars.
    For me, teenage reading of his history of Brooklands in the 1950s helped me get my first job as a trainee journalist with Iliffes, for I was interviewed by the late Arthur Bourne, editorial director of Iliffe Transport Publications, who had been an ACU Steward at the track. We talked for half an hour on Brooklands – all knowledge gleaned from Bill’s book,for Brooklands had closed before I was born – and Morgan Three-wheelers (I was rebuilding one at the time), at the end of which he said “All right laddie, you start on Monday!”
    So in part Bill gave me my start in writing about old cars, for which many thanks!

  91. Vicente Dobroruka, 19 July 2011 20:03

    Dear sirs,

    Ever since I began to read MS I realized the importance of Bill Boddy. What a wonderful, colorful character he was – and if there is any consolation in that awful loss, what a life well-spent. There will be no replacement to him and it will be especially hard on us fans who wonder the opinionated, witty writer both in vintage cars and on contemporary matters.
    As a Brazilian, I was nearly lynched by a mob when I argued that the only one to blame after the Austrian GP of 2003 debacle (and also of 2002 for that matter) was Barrichello. And how glad I was to see that Bill Boddy was of the same opinion.
    Rest in peace, and know the world will be short of one great writer and one of the few gentlemen left. My condolences extend to your family, Bill.

    Yours,

    Vicente

  92. Mike Young, 20 July 2011 14:05

    He will be sorely missed.

  93. Steve Foster, 21 July 2011 17:01

    I had the great fortune to meet WB on several occasions, the last being at the New Years Day “Vintage” meeting at The Verzons Arms, near Ledbury in January 1993.
    He was a true English gent whose strong passion for our motoring heritage permeated through every facet of his existence.
    He signed my prized copy of his superb tome “The History of Brooklands Motor Course”, which was, is and always will be a most treasured possession.
    Thank you Bill, and thank you to his family and all around him for this wonderful life.

  94. Nicholas Lancaster, 22 July 2011 07:53

    My condolences to family, friends, and all whose lives were touched by this remarkable man. I bought my first copy of Motor Sport in October 1965, and have had so much enjoyment over the years from the magazine. I wrote a little book about Brooklands for Shire Books a couple of years ago and it was a thrill to read a friendly review in the Bill Boddy pages. May he rest in peace.

  95. Andrew Regens, 22 July 2011 09:50

    As a teen in the early sixties, my pocket money went on the Beatles and Motor Sport, in the end WB and DSJ won out and I started to visit Crystal Palace and Brands Hatch when ever I could. WB’s writing about cars old and new men’t I have owned some oddball cars in my time. DSJ gave me the wonder bug to visit those continental race tracks that he wrote about. Without Bill Boddy and MS I would have certainly had a less “rounded” life.
    Thanks. RIP

  96. Peter Dench, 22 July 2011 09:51

    There used to be a meeting of automobile journalists called the “Waysgoose”. I once had the privilege of seeing Jenks and “the Bod” compete. The most entertaining moment of my life. He will be sorely missed.

  97. Mark Berresford, 22 July 2011 21:35

    Greatly saddened by the news of WB’s death. We met in 1985 when I wrote a small booklet on Parry Thomas for Pendine Community council (26 years and two editions later it’s still in print). The council organised a 101st Anniversary meet at Pendine (yes, JGPT’s gravestone and Hugh Tours both got his birth year wrong!) and I had the pleasure of meeting Bill, ‘Babs’ and Own Wyn Owen over the space of a weekend. The lodestone of the meet was of course Bill, who remembered reading of Thomas’s death in 1927 – he was sadly too young to see him race at Brooklands. Meeting him, and Betty Ebsworth, who took food up to the flu-ridden Thomas in his room at the Beach Hotel, and who famously gave him a black cat mascot the day he died, will live with me forever.

  98. Michael Christian, 23 July 2011 11:27

    I have been reading Motersport since 1954, age eight when my uncle used to send on his copy to me at boarding school. Then I think in 1957 when he bought me the history of Brooklands. I have been fueled by W.B. ever since with a passion for proper cars. We will miss you deeply Bill as will all in the society .

    Mike Christian Member Brooklands Soc

  99. David Royston, 24 July 2011 05:46

    My first recollection of reading MotorSport was in 1958.
    Over the years since, Bill Boddy (and Denis Jenkinson) became essential reading.
    Both sadly missed.
    Brisbane, Australia

  100. Les McGhee, 24 July 2011 18:22

    I will, as ever, look forward to the arrival of my copy of Motorsport, but my habit of opening it from the back, in order to read WB’s contibution first, will be a hard one to break.

  101. Mark Elves, 26 July 2011 09:46

    I started reading Motor Sport back in the 1960′s, when as a small boy I used to sneak a look at my brother’s copy at every opportunity. Later on I progressed to buying my own copies, and have been hooked on cars and motor racing ever since. As a boy I was always intrigued by the cryptic sets of initials at the end of articles, none more so than those of the mysterious WB. It’s thanks to his enthusiasm, encyclopaedic knowledge and ability to share it that I have developed a life long passion for racing in all its forms.

    He will be much missed, and I hope Motor Sport continues to inform and enthral its readers as it did under his editorship for so many years.

    Rest well, WB.

  102. Ian Bramble, 27 July 2011 19:16

    WB has been in the ‘hinterland’ of my life for more than 50 yeras, since I started to read Motor Sport in my early teens. How many writers and journalists can claim the intensity of loyalty and respect that WB commanded across so many generations? Then there was his gift to us all of the peerless DSJ and together they helped create and nuture the best magazine in the world. All of us who read avidly WB’s compelling prose were aware also of his family and I would like to add my name to the many thousands who would wish to offer condolences to his daughters for the loss of an irreplacable man.

  103. Andrew McKenzie, 28 July 2011 10:44

    How very sad indeed. He made most a most remarkable contribution to the world of motoring. How many would have his experience – he must have seen it all since the begining – just about. MS always was a great magazine. We look forward as well as back. Thanks WB

  104. Tim Griggs, 2 August 2011 16:00

    WB published my first letter to Motor Sport in 1970 – it was about the Y-type MG I still own and drive as a result of reading MS in the sixties. He and DSJ showed us what great writing was about, and led me and so many others to a love of cars and the sport; I will always be grateful to them. I feel slightly lost knowing WB’s gone – but I hope it’s somewhere with a whiff of Castrol R!

  105. Michael, 10 August 2011 11:31

    I read my first Motor Sport in 1953 as a teenager. It was because of WB’s writing about motoring and the sport that I became hooked on both.

  106. Terry Jacob, 12 August 2011 18:30

    I have only belatedly heard the sad news of the death of Bill Boddy.My grandfather bought me my first copy of Motorsport in August 1958 when I was nine years old . It filled me with delight. Together,Bill Boddy and Denis Jenkinson, gave me a love of both motor sport and the written word that has been with me all my life .
    Farewell Bill,though we never met ,you have been a lifelong friend

  107. Michael Attwood, 13 September 2011 18:21

    I was so lucky to have been immersed in the vintage car world in England during my teens in the 1960s by virtue of my friendship with two chaps about 10 years my senior.

    They considered early-1930s Austin 7s perfectly normal daily drivers, and the ideal sports car a Lotus Super Seven which one of them raced.

    They introduced me to Motor Sport magazine as a matter of course, and I can add little to the appreciative words already written. I would express my sincere condolences to WB’s family, and naturally everyone at Motor Sport magazine.

    As at Brooklands with so many of the musicians of the period driving cars, my life has and does include much music – vintage / classic cars and music seem to go hand-in-hand for many.
    I will continue to drive anything vintage and classic I can get my hands on, and remember The Bod each time I do!

    Michael Attwood
    Portland, Oregon, USA

  108. Luis, 14 September 2011 13:59

    Texts from WB and DSJ are, and will be, a guide in Motor Sport, each article is a masterclass.

    My father told me that you cannot really die if anyone remembers you; they are not with us, but will be here forever.

    Thank you.
    Rest in peace.

  109. stephen D. Smoczynski, 21 September 2011 17:58

    What can I say? I am 56 and for many of my generation the great excitement for us petrol heads was awaiting the next issue of Motor Sport. I say this because it should be noted just what an enormous influence Motor Sport was – on mine and an earlier generation – in reporting, promoting and recording everything to do with cars ( old and new in general) and motor racing, before the days before universal TV coverage. After we had feasted our eyes upon the ‘cover-picture’ we were invited to, so-to-speak join a club, and, vicariously, join W.B. and D,S.J. in their endlessly fascinating banter. But the main point is that it was all IN PRINT. Read those old W.B. car reports (look at the one on the 1978 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow 2 or the Jensen Interceptor /FF (1978 and 1968 respectively). 55 Years as editor what an inspiration!

  110. John Dowell, 22 September 2011 14:53

    Was very sorry to hear of the death of Bill. Had always been interested in mootr sport and especially Brooklands. I visited Bill on a couple of occasions in Wales where he kindly signed all his books for me. Spent about three hours chatting and Bill had me in fits of laughter relating some of his anecdotes. On the second occassion I met his daughters and again spent a wonderful session talking to him and the daughters. What a delight to meet such a person – I feel privileged. Good bye Bill.
    John Dowell (74)

  111. David,Ould., 28 September 2011 09:22

    As i live in N.Z. i’ve just heard the news that Bill is no longer with us, a famous Kiwi once said, a man should be judged by what he achieves not by how long he lives!! or words to that effect,by that standard W.B.lived and filled at least three lives in a way mere scribes can only ever dream about, he bridged generations!!!and covered the sport in a way i doubt will ever be seen again. R.I.P. and goodbye Bill.

  112. Chris Fry, 19 October 2011 16:22

    Boddy and Jenkinson. Names synonymous with great journalism and everything that’s good about racing cars, old and new. We will not see their like…..etc

  113. Michael Sumpster, 23 October 2011 15:11

    WB was the inspiration for my teenage obsession with cars, mostly old, which has lasted over 50 years.
    With my friend Jonathan Wood, who went on to become an award-winning motoring historian, we met WB in the paddock at Prescott in 1961, and were treated to a monosyllabic grunt at the photos of a friend of his in his T37 Bugatti which we showed him.
    I last saw him at the VSCC sprint at Colerne in 1994, where he was watching Jenks on his Norton.

  114. Michael Sumpster, 23 October 2011 15:52

    Posthumous apologies to WB, who would have noticed the error. It was April 1993 at Colerne.
    The April 1960 edition of Motor Sport is open on my desk, but I am finding it almost too poignant to read.
    With Jenks gone too – I was privileged to see him driven up the Goodwood hill by Stirling Moss in 722 little more than a year before he died – this truly is the end of an era.

  115. Douglass Potts, 1 July 2012 05:04

    My brief contact with Mr Boddy was in or about 1981 when I telephoned him at home from Adelaide to inform him of the death of Albert Ludgate, erstwhile Chief Engineer of Lea Francis. I cherish that brief link deeply. Everyone makes a difference but Mr Boddy make a huge difference. He understood every person who sees beauty in vehicles and glory in the driving of them. He spoke and wrote on behalf of all of us — a true servant leader.

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