I have great pleasure in informing you that the Guest of Honour at our Annual Dinner and Awards Evening will be the motoring author Graham Robson.
Graham Robson is a prolific motoring historian, who started his working life as an engineer, got involved in rallying as a hobby, started writing about motor sport soon after that, and is one of motoring’s most published authors. Although he is an age when he might have retired, his career as a historian continues.
Born in Yorkshire, he was a grammar school boy who went up to Oxford, studied engineering, and joined Jaguar Cars in 1957, as the first of that company’s Graduate Trainees. After the obligatory time in overalls, which involved everything from making prototype body parts for new models like the XK150, and wishing he could get his hands on an early E-Type, he moved up to the engineering design offices, and worked on the Mk II, E-Type and Mark X.
This was the time when he became successful as a rally co-driver, and was lucky enough to meet up with members of the Sunbeam international ‘works’ rally team, which he joined in 1961. Early successes included Team Prizes on the RAC and Monte Carlo rallies
During this time he joined Standard-Triumph, in Coventry, as a Development Engineer, first on Vitesse, then on TR4 projects, but was then asked to run the re-opened ‘works’ motorsport department, which he did from 1962 to 1965, this being a period when he conceived, and helped develop, the careers of the Spitfire Le Mans cars, TR4s, Vitesses, Spitfires and 2000 rally cars.
In the meantime he kept on rallying in the UK, as a successful co-driver, often writing reports (for Autosport and Motoring News), which eventually led to him being invited to join Autocar magazine in their Coventry office, where he not only wrote new model analyses, but carried out many road tests (MIRA was just up the road, near Nuneaton), and it was at this time that he became fascinated by the history, and heritage, of the UK’s famous car-makers.
Between 1965 and 1969 he also reported on races and rallies all around the world, including the East African Safari, the Canadian Shell 4000 rally, and the Indianapolis 500. His personal claim to fame at this time was that he co-drove Britain’s Roger Clark to victory in the Welsh International rally, but had to stop competing in the later 1960s when there no longer seemed to be enough spare time left in his life.
Following this period, he was attracted back to industry at the Rootes Group in Coventry (they became Chrysler UK) to run the Product Proving department, then after a brief period in 1972 as technical director of a Carlisle-based safety belt company, became an independent motoring writer. Since then, he has written for publications and publishers in most English-speaking countries.
In more than the last 46 years, since then, Robson has lived ‘by the pen’ and ‘by the voice’, not only by writing literally thousands of features for magazines, and books for publishers in several continents, but increasingly by commentating, presenting and organising events of all types. In this period, he rapidly became engrossed in the ‘classic’ car scene, writing his first book (on the Daily Mirror World Cup Rally of 1970) as that event unfolded, for he was also acting as a travelling controller on the same event!
Over the years he discovered that he was a fluent speaker, presenter and event organiser, and has not only completed many video commentaries, script writing and video treatments, but has also advised radio and TV companies on their own projects, helped rescue abandoned projects by other authors, and has also carried out promotional tours for several British motor companies, and their sponsors.
Although he has had to turn down many projects in the past (including the possibility of ‘ghosting’ the memoirs of more than one motor sport personality), he has published well over 160 books, and more are pending. In recent years, Graham has participated as a keynote speaker and commentator for events as far flung as in North America, and Australia, along with engagements at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the International Classic Motorsport Show (Race Retro), the Rally Show, the MSA Aviva Run, the Culzean Autoclassica in Scotland, and the Wales Rally GB, along with other major events in Britain and Northern Ireland.
Asked about his hobbies, Graham admits to a family passion for owning British bulldogs, loves fine wining and dining, but protests that he is still far too busy to take long holidays (they would turn into working trips, in any case ….), but admits that he loves to travel to North America whenever that is possible.
Dinner booking and menus information is available on the Dinner Event page: http://www.mgccsw.com/events/annual-dinner-and-awards-23rd-February-2019/