Obituaries

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John Vary Bolster

John Bolster, who had been suffering heart trouble for some years, although those who met him at Press functions or saw him driving his 1911 Silver Ghost Rolls-Royce to R-R EC and other meetings would never have known, has died, approaching his mid-seventies. That we shall never again have the company of this extrovert all-round motoring enthusiast is exceedingly hard to take. Inheriting their great love of motoring of all kinds from their mother, the Bolster brothers began to plan their own cars while still at Tonbridge. They ran exciting variants of such cars in sprint events and at Brooklands and from 1932 onwards John’s famous “Bloody Mary”, a fearsome racing cyclecar with a wood frame and two 1,100 cc JAP engines, vanquished far more professional turnouts at Lewes, Shelsley-Walsh, and other venues.

Richard Bolster was killed while in the RAF. After the war John began racing ERA R5B “Remus”, until a bad accident in the 1949 British GP ended such active participation. He then concentrated on his work as a motoring writer and BBC motor-race commentator.

John was also a 100% veteran car man, driving his beloved 1903 Panhard-Levassor in every possible Brighton Run, November outings which, up to last year, involved driving it from Edenbridge to Brighton and back the same day. That was true enthusiasm! He was also a stationary-engine enthusiast. But for me it was Bolster’s success with “Bloody Mary” that truly underlined his spirit and tenacity in the field of amateur motor racing.

John Bolster wrote six books, was an admitted Francophile, favouring Renault cars for road useage, and his “Motoring Is My Business” portrays splendidly his motoring philosophy and his exploits with the car some race programmes preferred to refer to as “Tudor-Mary”, to the unconcealed amusement of the Bolster brothers.

In later years John Bolster became quieter, yet ever ready for a joke, a good yarn, continuing his technical writing for the motoring Press and driving with Rosemary to old-car meetings. To her, our profound sympathy in the loss of a man whose like none of us will see again. — WB

M. N. Mavrogordato

As we close for press we are deeply saddened to hear of the death, at the age of 80, of Noel Mavrogordato, best known as the owner, since before the war, of his much-loved 1914 GP Opel, which he then ran as normal transport. Since then he meticulously refurbished this historic car and was the greatest champion of its originality. In those pre-war days “Mavro”, as his many friends knew him, raced motorcycles, notably his well-liked Scotts, and had a 4 1/2-litre ex-team blower Bentley to keep the Opel company. Professionally he was a pilot, personal pilot to the Nuffield Organisation in fact, but here again fun intruded and he flew his personal vintage Bristol Fighter as well as the DH Leopard Moths, etc. He drove a works Morris Eight in the 1939 Monte Carlo Rally. So “Mavro”, pilot, yachtsman, vintage-car enthusiast and maintainer, and with-all one of the very nicest and most friendly of people, has gone. Our condolences go out to his wife and son, the latter himself an extremely capable pilot of anything from a 707 to an ultra-light. WB

* * *

We deeply regret to have to report the deaths of two more well-known Brooklands exponents. Mrs Violet Hindmarsh (nee Cordery), who drove Invictas in long-distance runs at Brooklands and Monza, etc after earlier experience with Eric-Campbell and other small cars, died around Christmas. J. H. T. Smith, who from the later 1930s was a frequent competitor with his MG Magnette at the Track and other British circuits, holding the Class-G Mountain lap-record at 70.6 mph, also died late last year.

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