Paul Emery was an innovative engineer who not only built Emeryson "specials", but raced his creations as well. However, Emery lacked the business acumen or finance to establish the marque as anything more than an interesting footnote in British racing history.
Background and early Emerysons
He worked as an apprentice for his father George Emery during the 1930s and the cars they created were thus called Emerysons. Paul Emery continued the venture after the war and despite limited funds – a recurring theme – his first car appeared at Gransden Lodge in 1947 with Eric Winterbottom at the wheel.
A car was planned for the new Formula 1 rules a year later but Emery was unable to raise the necessary backing. Instead, he built stylish front-engine 500cc Formula 3 cars during the early 1950s although they were generally no match for the more nimble Coopers.
First Formula 1 car
An F1 car was finally built for 1954 and Emery drove the Alta-powered car in British non-championship races for the next few seasons. A larger-than-life character, his personality rather than results made Emery a popular and well-known fixture in the British paddocks. His only international race of note was the 1956 British Grand Prix. He qualified in 23rd position at Silverstone but retired when the old Alta engine let go after just 12 laps.
He did make another F1 attempt in 1958 when he drove Bernie Ecclestone’s Connaught B-type in the BARC 200 at Aintree (finishing 13th) before failing to qualify for the Monaco GP.
Emery moved into Connaught’s old workshops in Send, Surrey during 1960 and a new range of F1 and Formula Junior cars was introduced. Michael Spence won in the latter but the Emeryson name slipped into F1 history when he sold it to young American socialite Hugh Powell. The cars were renamed Scirocco for 1963.
Emery then switched his attention to engine preparation but plans for a new GT car were shelved when its financier died. He remained involved in the sport for much of his life. His Hillman Imps were famous during the 1960s and Emery was a five-time national midget oval champion a decade later.
His son, Peter, was also a constructor who manufactured Elfin Formula Junior cars from 1960.