It is with indescribable sadness that we record the passing of H. C. Spero, whom we all called “Nobby”. When I was still a teenager he was successfully racing his Austin 7 “Mrs. Jo Jo” at Brooklands. It was a single-seater of advanced streamline Shape, at all events in its developed form, and did not look like an Austin. But I remember going to the Track with my mother in a fabric saloon Austin 7 belonging to a lady driver, for the 1929 August Meeting. As “Mrs. Jo Jo” went by the lady in whose car we had driven down remarked that she knew this was another Austin 7, because it made the same rattling noise as hers.
On that occasion Spero won the President’s Gold Plate race at 80.7 m.p.h., lapping at the excellent speed of 84.7 m.p.h. He had many other successes with this Austin and afterwards drove a Lea-Francis. In recent times he was a keen and critical follower of VSCC racing, in which he ran a couple of 3-litre Maseratis with Maurice Soman. Then he got his son on to racing a Maserati 250F, now owned by Neil Corner, sensibly making him work up speed gradually, which has paid off, as John now races a Porsche. Nobby Spero hardly spoke of his Brooklands days but a happy look would spread over his face if you mentioned his Austin and it was on account of it that he presented the Spero Trophy to the VSCC, for a race confined to 750 and 1,100 c.c. cars.
Nobby loved racing for “proper” cars and would attend meetings when not having a car running, quietly watching what was going on and occasionally making an impatient comment if someone or something did not match up. He died of a heart attack some 42 years after his first Brooklands appearance in a BC Austin 7. To John, his mother and his sister, our heartfelt condolences.-W.B.