Alex Moulton CBE
One of a few engineers to become a household name, Dr Alex Moulton, who has died aged 92, was known to the public for his revolutionary small-wheeled bicycles, but his greatest impact was with his rubber suspension systems on the Mini and later BMC models.
A born inventor, Moulton built a steam-powered GN in his teens and worked for the Sentinel steam lorry firm before taking an engineering degree. Joining Bristol during the war he worked on the abortive radial-engined car project, then joined the family rubber company. A friendship with Alec Issigonis, who had used rubber suspension on his Lightweight Special, led to the BMC link and the rubber-sprung Mini.
As a consultant to BMC Moulton then developed his Hydrolastic and Hydrogas systems which equipped millions of cars into the BL and Rover eras, while at the same time creating his Moulton bicycle company. He remained devoted to the Jacobean family house in Wiltshire, where hand-built spaceframe Moulton bicycles are still produced.
Michael C Brown
The international motor sport community was saddened to learn of the death of respected photographer Michael C Brown, who died suddenly while on Christmas vacation with his family. He was just 55.
Originally from London, Michael cut his teeth working for local newspapers before joining Autosport in the mid 1980s. He later turned freelance and settled in America, initially specialising in Champ Cars and the IMSA endurance series.
A friendly, engaging character with a ready smile and keen wit, Michael was a wonderful photographer and a fine companion. We extend our condolences to his friends and family, particularly wife Joni, daughters Abrielle and Mika and son Seth.
Former Formula 1 team principal Guido Forti died on January 11, aged 72.
The Italian made his mark as a successful entrant in mainstream junior categories during the 1980s, guiding several promising young Italians — including Enrico Bertaggia and Gianni Morbidelli — to the national F3 title.
Forti Corse graduated to the FIA F3000 Championship in 1987, initially with an uncompetitive Dallara chassis, but later became a front-runner. It then committed to enter F1 in time-honoured privateer fashion, with inhouse chassis and customer Cosworth engines. Forti made its F1 debut in 1995, but struggled at the back of the field before a lack of funds caused the team to withdraw halfway through the following season.
Forti never returned to F1, although he later worked as a team manager in the Italy-based Euro F3000 series.
Former Grand Prix driver and Targa Florio winner Colin Davis has died at the age of 79.
Davis, the son of Bentley Boy SCH ‘Sammy’ Davis, started racing in the 500cc Formula 3 category in the first half of the 1950s before continuing his career in Italy. He made two Grand Prix starts at the wheel of a Cooper Maserati T51 entered by Scuderia Centro Sud in 1959.
His biggest successes, however, came in sports car racing. Davis won the Targa Florio driving a factory Porsche 904 GTS with Antonio Pucci in 1964. He was also a double class winner at the Le Mans 24 Hours, sharing a works OSCA S750 with Alejandro de Tomaso in 1958 and a Porsche 906LH with Jo Siffert in 1966.
British club racing lost one of its most celebrated performers early in 2013, when Gabriel Konig died at the age of 70.
Born in Ireland, Konig’s motor sport career commenced in 1962 at the wheel of a Lotus Elite. It was towards the end of that decade that she achieved most prominence, 18 wins at the wheel of a John Britten MG Midget enabling her to finish second in both BRSCC and BARC modsports championships in 1968. She subsequently raced a Chevrolet Camaro successfully and remained active in the sport until fairly recently, competing in historic events and serving as vice-president of the British Women Racing Drivers Club.
David ‘Salt’ Walther
One-time Indycar racer David ‘Salt’ Walther has passed away at the age of 65.
Walther spent much of his life making headlines for the wrong reasons. During his second Indy 500 start, in 1973, he became involved in a start-line accident that left his McLaren upside down with its driver’s legs exposed where the car’s front end had once been. He suffered serious burns and disfiguring injuries to both hands, but was racing at Indy again one year later. He recorded his best 500 finish in 1978, finishing ninth.
Walther never achieved any major racing success, either in Indycars or a brief flirtation with NASCAR, and in recent years had become best known for a succession of custodial sentences. The mayhem in his personal life was often blamed on his addiction to painkillers, something triggered while he recovered from that Indy accident in ’73.