The other day when I was checking a fact in the 1980 Guinness Book of Car Facts and Feats I noted that the longest record of editorial service on a motoring paper was given as that of Charles Faroux (above), who joined the French L’Auto as Technical Editor in 1904 and was still serving at the time of his death in 1957, some 53 years later. I see that I was supposed to hold the British record for continuous editorship of Motor Sport having taken over its editorship at the outbreak of the Second World War.
In fact they had deprived me of a few years as I certainly became editor some years before WWII, otherwise why should I have persuaded the magazine’s proprietor, who thought publication should stop due to the war, to continue with it, assuring him I could provide enough history even if, as he thought, the war might last 10 years? I did indeed manage to keep the magazine going without it missing a single issue throughout the war, despite having another job with the Ministry of Aircraft Production. I wrote to Guinness Book of Records correcting this, as after all their work is devoted to records, but had no reply.
Running Motor Sport was a wonderful experience, especially road-testing the many cars provided by manufacturers or agents, performance figures being initially obtained on Brooklands Track until it closed in 1939. As I have suggested before, any schoolboy who is a motoring enthusiast should endeavour to become a motoring writer. I kept a list of the cars I drove from 1936 to the mid-1970s, and these included 48 Austins, 17 BMWs, 22 Citroëns, 13 Daimlers, 94 Fords, 20 Hillmans, 27 Jaguars, 11 Lancias, 45 Morrises, 15 Peugeots, 38 Renaults, 30 Sunbeams, 15 Triumphs, 40 Vauxhalls and 10 Wolseleys. I know this may sound like bragging but the intention is to guide motor-mad schoolboys in the right direction.
The statistics are these: WB was effectively Editor from 1936-1991, which is 55 years. However, since then he has been Founder Editor, making his total editorial service 73 years. GC