At the coalface

Clive Richardson, Deputy editor 1972-80

Nurtured by Motor Sports read under my school desk, being the only full-time editorial staffer was a dream job. Downsides were overwork in a Dickensian operation.

Proprietor Wesley J Tee loved nothing better than an argument. Those with eldest son Michael, a stubborn chip off the Old Man's block, reverberated around Standard House. My rows came close. Several times he fired me, several times I resigned. Each time we made it up.

Long-serving secretary Molly Cronin was part of the furniture --- as was the smell of gin. She was quietly retired after my discovery of drawers full of Gordon's empties and years' worth of unmailed correspondence.

Change so much as a word in Jenks' copy and he went apoplectic. "I am very pissed off with you," starts a typical missive I still treasure.

Eventually, working under pressure for a pittance became too much, but I miss Motor Sport and Mr Tee badly. A very special experience.

Jim Whyman, Deputy Editor 1980-82

The fact that my period lasted only two years probably says it all. There were some wonderful experiences, like practical ice-driving instruction from Erik Carlsson, but being glued to a rather uncomfortable chair in Bonhill Street was the norm: it was hell, and those occasional glimpses of motoring heaven only exaggerated the discomfort.

The magazine just seemed to happen: there was no apparent management structure, no discernible planning. WB lived in Wales, DSJ in his Hampshire wood. Neither liked visiting London. GP reporter Alan Henry was generally busy with Motoring News, rally man Gerry Phillips was engaged with other mysterious matters, while road tester Jeremy Walton was a freelance. That left me and the ever-patient Paula Goldstein (who was everyone's secretary) in the editorial office.

Control took the form of Wesley Tee yelling contradictory instructions into his battery of telephones. And there was the stem Miss Roberts, company secretary, always quibbling over expense claims.

The early 1980s was a time of decline, but thankfully those who came after were able to reverse this. I am delighted to be able to say that I didn't leave a sinking ship, although that is exactly what I thought I was doing.