Bob the welder

I read Doug Nye’s piece on Bob Robinson and was sorry to learn of his passing. He was very helpful to me over the years. When the Gemini FJ team folded at the end of 1963 (and my drive with it), I went to work for a bloke I had come to know during my time at Falcon — Ernie Barrett, a motorcycle racer from the ’50s.

He had a little company based in Tottenham, called Phoenix Scooters, and gave me a job in his machine shop. Ernie decided that we should build an F3 car (to be called the Phoenix) and I suggested that I needed to learn the nickel-bronze welding technique. He had previously told me about a couple of his mates running a business making space frames for Lola, and others, and we were soon down the road to Arch Motors where I met Bob. He subsequently taught me the art of doing that type of welding, which stood me in good stead a year or so later when I went to McLaren. It got me promoted from ‘gofer’ to fabricator, so I owe Bob a great deal for that. We got the car about three-quarters built, and via a roundabout set of circumstances it eventually finished up in New Zealand, called the Talon — allegedly designed by Frank Gardner!
Howden Ganley, Marlow, Bucks