A small personal reminiscence which may be of pressing interest to your readers, in view of the recent interest in Mike Hawthorn’s tragic death in 1959. As an undergraduate in 1957 I went – along with a chum – to a ‘lecture’ which Hawthorn had kindly agreed to give at the Oxford University Motor Club.
J M H sat on a trestle table with a Scotch or two and chatted amusingly. Afterwards the club President was fairly obviously angling for a lift in the great man’s 2.4 Mk1.
My mate and I dashed along to the club’s gates and thumbed a lift. Hawthorn stopped the passengerless car, told us to hop in, and drove us very slowly around Oxford before dropping us at our respective colleges. We didn’t discuss Le Mans 1955.
En route, he talked to us about about the Jaguar. He quite liked it, but said that the rear track was far too narrow for fast, wet corners. Jaguar were about to give him a new 3.4 and he was going to specify a wider back axle with improved brakes and tyres.
What a sad irony, in view of the probable cause of his death. At least he got safely back to Farnham on that wet foggy night years ago.
I am, yours, etc. Nicholas P Johnson, London