S. H. Grylls, CBE
It was a great shock to learn that Harry Grylls had died at his Pershore home late in October, aged 74. He is well remembered as the Rolls-Royce Motors engineer who left Rugby and Trinity College, Cambridge, to join that Company in Derby in 1930, the last R-R engineer to have known and worked with Sir Henry Royce. Grylls became personal assistant to the Works Director at Derby after being employed in the experimental shops. In 1948 he went to the new Crewe factory as Assistant Chief Engineer, became R-R’s Chief Engineer in 1957, and was appointed Technical Director by 1968. Grylls’ work was of vital significance to Rolls-Royce, including as it did developing the V8 car engines, designing the synchromesh gearboxes and ifs suspension systems, and then designing the Silver Cloud and Bentley S-series models. Finally, he was responsible for the monocoque construction Silver Shadow that replaced the ageing Clouds.
I well remember how Grylls would preside over a lunch at Crewe with lively conversation, and how he parried with his dry wit and considerable skill some pertinent questions I asked him, on behalf of Motor Sport, about the Silver Cloud, at a time when he wasn’t permitted to divulge that this was obsolescent anyway. I was present at his skilled explanations of the complicated Silver Shadow when it was released to the Press, and it seems only yesterday that I talked with this modest, friendly gentleman about R-R matters after his retirement and was shown his VW Beetle — a car he loved and used as his only car, a great tribute to Dr Porsche! There are very few like Harry Grylls left in the world of motoring. His loss will be felt by a wide ranging spectrum of admirers, but most of all, of course, by his immediate family and his R-R colleagues. — W.B.