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Peter Giddings Racing

Peter Giddings, 1940 to 2019

by Tom Clifford


Peter Giddings, ABC member 238, was born on March 10, 1940, in Eastbourne, England, and passed away on January 6, 2019, after a heroic five-year battle with cancer. He grew up near the Goodwood Race Circuit in England and fell in love with the 1930s GP cars that he saw race there against the more modern machinery. Peter’s first car was a 1932 BSA three-wheel cyclecar; then in 1959 he bought a 1928 chain-drive Frazer Nash, In the late 1960s Peter started collecting and racing a number of historic racing cars.

His first Bugatti was a T35A Tecla, which he converted to a T35T, and his next was a phenomenally quick T35B that ran on methanol. Peter’s third was the ex-Lyons T35-4325 that he bought in parts in Spain in the late 1960s. It later went to the National Motor Museum. Peter also raced a T51 at the first Bugatti Grand Prix at Elkhart Lake in 1987 and later went on to race a T59 for several years. He also owned two T37As.

Peter was also very fond of Alfa Romeos and owned three Monzas, two Tipo 8C-35s, and two P3s; as well as the famous ex-Whitney Straight Maserati 8CM 3011, two Talbot Lago GP cars, a 250F Maserati, a 1954 Lancia D24R and a Lancia D50, along with many others. My favorite, however, was his ex-Dick Seaman 1927 Grand Prix Delage 15-S-8.

Peter was a very focused individual, and he enjoyed racing his cars, but he was always relaxed, composed, enthusiastic, friendly and approachable. If you had a question on jet sizes, ire pressures, etc., he would go out of his way to help you. He was a true sportsman and a fair player while always being very competitive. He never upgraded his cars to be faster than they were in the period, always preferring to win by driving better. His mastery of the car was amazing. He once sold a Ferrari to acquire his next car; the new owner could not come anywhere near Peter’s times, so he upgraded the engine and promptly blew up the overstressed transmission. Peter’s motto was “learn how to drive it.”

Peter attended the local races with his wife Judy, their Great Dane and a simple trailer towed by a Ford pickup with a camper. For events farther away he would ship his car and then be joined by his good friends and crew, Mike Sims and John Blum. There were no uniforms, catered meals or fancy hotels. They were there to race.

I met Peter in 1987 at the first US Bugatti Grand Prix and then later at many Lime Rock Historic Festivals and Cavallino Events in Palm Beach, Florida. He was always a gentleman on and off the track. While Peter would lap me several times in a race, on the straight or in a corner, you always knew he was totally under control and could pass you safely anytime and anywhere.

In 2009 he was inducted into the Road Racing Drivers Club, thus joining the likes of Stirling Moss, Jackie Stewart and Jack Brabham. In 2010 the Motorsports Press Association press panel voted him Motor Sportsman of the Year. Peter will be sorely missed in the paddock and on the track. We at the ABC offer our sincerest condolences to his wife Judy and his entire family.

(A tribute to Peter by Tom Clifford, printed in “Pur Sang,” Vol. 59, No. 2, Spring 2019, the Publication of the American Bugatti Club).