John Crosslé – obituary

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

Current page

132

Current page

133

Current page

134

Current page

135

Current page

136

Current page

137

Current page

138

Current page

139

Current page

140

Current page

141

Current page

142

Current page

143

Current page

144

Current page

145

Current page

146

Current page

147

Current page

148

Current page

149

Current page

150

Current page

151

Current page

152

Current page

153

Current page

154

Current page

155

Current page

156

Current page

157

Current page

158

Current page

159

Current page

160

Current page

161

Current page

162

Current page

163

Current page

164

Current page

165

Current page

166

Current page

167

Current page

168

Current page

169

Current page

170

Current page

171

Current page

172

The founder of the world’s longest-established racing car-building firm died on August 31. He was 83. The Scotland-born, County Tyrone-raised farmer turned car builder initially found fame on two wheels.

He won the 1953-55 Ulster 350cc grass track Championship and 1954 500cc series before fashioning his first ‘special’ in 1957. Crosslé claimed his first win at the Newtownards Airport circuit in March of the following year.

By his own admission, Crosslé became a car manufacturer as much by happenstance as planning. The MkI led to the MkII, which made its first on-track appearance in late ’58, with Englishman Bob Allen requesting a replica.

The Crosslé Car Company still operates out of a former laundry building next door to the family home, Rory’s Wood in Holywood, County Down. When Crosslé moved there in late 1960, there was no water or electricity.

By the end of the decade, the marque was an international player.

A raft of designs emerged during this period, and Crosslé products really were engineered. There were no chalk marks on the floor, here. The firm produced cars that competed in categories as diverse as Formula Junior and F5000. The Stateside market became particularly important, Roger Barr’s 1968 SCCA Formula B title boosting the marque’s profile in North America. Of perhaps greater importance long-term, however, was Gerry Birrell’s ’69 European Formula Ford title with the 16F: it was the first of countless successes in the category, with the likes of Nigel Mansell, Derek Daly and Jan Lammers savouring glory in Crosslé FF1600 cars on their way to the big time. The 1970s was unquestionably the firm’s most profitable decade, Crosslé also supplying cars to many of the world’s racing schools.

The 1980s, however, weren’t so kind. Leslie Drysdale, who had joined the firm in 1965 and over time had greater influence on car design, left to form rival constructor Mondiale in late 1983. Crosslé regrouped but, by the dawn of the ’90s, the single-seater adventure was over. The firm changed tack, Crosslé returning to his off-road roots and conceiving a revolutionary trials car, the 80T. The firm that bore his name was sold to Arnie Black in 1997. The former FF2000 champion did much to foster the reborn 9S sports-racer in Europe and beyond before passing the baton to Paul McMorran in 2012.

Crosslé was awarded an MBE in 2013. Unfailingly modest, his contribution to the careers of many well-known drivers cannot be overestimated. Richard Heseltine