C E C Martin
That cheerful extrovert racing driver Charles Martin, who drove with enthusiastic verve, an amateur amongst professionals, has died. Charlie Martin ran illicit motor-cycles while at Eton, his first car a Vitesse-GN, followed by a Brescia Bugatti, a Lancia Lambda and, while apprenticed to Austin’s, a s/c Ulster A7. He some good placings in races and trials, with a Frazer Nash, a 137 Bugatti, an F-type MG Magna, and a new K3 MG Magnette.
After sharing MGs in ICC and BRDC events, real racing began with a T35B Bugatti and the K3, the latter fourth at Le Mans in 1934. Charles then went to Molsheim with Charles Brackenbury and bought a T59 3.3 GP Bugatti. Awaiting delivery, he ordered a T51, which he raced with some success. When the 3.3 Bugatti was ready he drove this pure GP car back to England in pouring rain. Not overly reliable, it was second in the loM and third in the 1935 Donington GP. With a works Aston Martin he and Brackenbury, a lively pair, won the Biennial Cup at Le Mans. He drove a works Aston Martin in the 1935 and a 135 Delahaye in 1936. Martin next bought a 2.9 P3 Alfa Romeo, Placing second to Etancelin’s 4.8 V8 Maserati in the 1936 Pau GP, second to Wimille’s 159 Bugatti at Deauville and second again in the 1936 Donington GP behind the works 3.8 Alfa Romeo. Martin also won the 1936 Nuffield Trophy race in a borrowed ERA (R98).
Winning form came again in the 1936 ‘500’ with Dixon in the 2-litre Riley. For 1937 Charles bought ERA R3A, winning at the Avus. He then turned to bads, but road cars included a Raillon, a Lancia Aprilia and 155 Bugatti, and he created the four-engined Martin-JAP.
Latterly a Brooklands Society Vice-President, he was absolutely in the spirit of pre-war racing. The memory of Charlie Martin and ‘The Brack’ will not diminish; our deep sympathy goes to Joy, his wife.