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Peter Giddings Racing

What People Are Saying - Then and Now

This section includes comments to Peter and short articles by various people about Peter.

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The congratulations were all yours.  You deserved all and more.  I visited with Tony on Saturday at Coronado, and we both agreed that there is no one in our sport who goes the extra mile more than you do.  Your sacrifice to make it to Coronado was even more telling of your support.  I can’t think of how many times over the years I read of some race back east or some distant track where you were the only pre-war car there, and racing with corvettes or something, because they couldn’t find a class fast enough for you.  You are a true “class act”. (September 2016)

Cheers,

Brian Blain

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[Your video] is wonderful... are you edging toward a new career in show biz ? It was very well done, and to be truthful watching the video made me very anxious as I was thinking of the 6 CM Maserati , and the Talbot-Darracq that I sold when I realized that my body no longer was up to racing. I knew that if I didn't sell them I would find it hard to stop racing as I loved both the events and those cars. I am so glad you are able to own and so wonderfully race your fabulous stable and keep alive an appreciation for such magnificent engineering and history.
All the best to you and Judy,

Sam Mann, noted collector and racer of historic cars

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I so enjoyed watching you race this past weekend. I especially admired the preparation of your race car, and dubbed it "Wires" for the meticulous wiring of the exterior bolt heads (and the wire wheels). We were camped in the Corkscrew View campsites, so we're able to observe your low-key approach to the weekend's racing.  And the Great Dane! This was our first time to Laguna Seca, and it was a fabulous experience! Thanks for adding you our enjoyment, and continued good success at future races.

Kathryn Hansen, Friday Harbor, WA

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Terry Shea of Hemmings had the following comment:

"I must say that I remain impressed that you continue to use the car the way it was intended. We have a lot of respect for the owners who use their cars. A lot! And I've seen you drive now!"

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The following is excerpted from an article by Bill Pollack:

The San Felipe GP
by Bill Pollack

The race was from Ensenada, Mexico to San Felipe, a distance of about a hundred miles. The highway twisted through four or five small mountain ranges with flat straights in between. The race was promoted by Art Evans' Vintage Racing club and ran several times. My friend, Cy Yeder, and I were named course marshals and it was our job to provide the broom to sweep up anyone who had fallen by the wayside. Cy and I decided to drive his Ferrari coupe on this particular event.

The officials started the motorcycles first and then the cars at one-minute intervals. After the last car had left, we climbed into the Ferrari and started east. ...

... (after stopping to asisst at a crash) Once again we were up to speed when a Type 37 Bugatti appeared by the side of the road. Suspecting that the Bug didn't belong to a local farmer, we were slowing when the driver waved us on. Probably was a good thing, as we were fresh out of Bugatti parts. ...

... Cy's response was drowned out by the scream of square cut gears, blowers and cam chains as the Bugatti came howling by, doing at least three digits on the clock. I dropped down a gear and decided to chase this crazy fool. We soon caught up with the Bug and noticed that the driver was hunched over behind the small windscreen. After a mile or so, the driver lurched up in a spasm and almost lost control of his car. This wild activity occurred again several more times and we decided to drop back in case the Bug became airborne.

We pulled into the pits and there was the Bugatti with the driver sprawled in the cockpit. Our curiosity was too much and we walked over to ask him what in the world was going on with his driving and lurching. Displaying a blistered hand, he explained that the magneto, which protrudes through the firewall, had come loose. As long as he held it in place, the engine would run. Unfortunately, if he relaxed even a bit, the mag would send a mighty combination of volts and amps up his arm and down through his body with nothing to stop it but letting go. The driver reminded me of a character (the pilot, naturally) from the film, "Mad Max."

(The above mentioned Bugatti driver was, of course, Peter Giddings. Just another of Peter's many adventures in driving historic racing cars.)

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(An email received from Louis Timolat in September 2009)

Hi Peter,
In my youth, most of my racing was done on short-track and mile track speedways. So, it has been a pleasant surprise to find such a convivial cohort as one finds in vintage road racing. Also, a pleasant surprise is the realization that if one tweaks the torsion bars a bit on the old Indy cars, they are quite happy turning right.

Anyway, it was good to see you back at Lime Rock. It is quite an attraction to have you there as so many people very much enjoy your wonderful cars and your mastery of them.
Regards,
Louis Timolat

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(Excerpted from the program for the Portland Historic Races - 1993)

When Peter Giddings guns his 1934 Maserati 8CM off the start line, the most-raced Grand Prix car ever will add yet another chapter to its illustrious history. Known variously as the ex-Whitney Straight Special / B. Bira car, the car has been raced (mostly successfully) in 15 countries in its 59 years.

Englishman Peter Giddings bought the car in 1988 and immediately drove it in the Bangkok Grand Prix, placing 5th. He has raced it frequently since then, winning at Laguna Seca and campaigning vigorously in Australia and New Zealand (as well as the United States).

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(excerpt from Victory Lane, 1995, article by Brooks Townes)

No Pussyfooting This Classic

Peter Giddings was running at speed around Thunderhill in some mighty fast company. He was holding his own, though his Maserati was more than 20 years senior to the next-oldest in the field.

Sure, guys like John Mozart with his Chevy-Lister and Bill Janowski's Monsterati Special pulled away from Giddings, but not so quickly as you might expect.

"Look at the thing go," said a spectator, "and look how he's driving it -- he's not pussyfooting!"

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(an email from Mark Soltow of Seattle - July 2009)

Greetings-- I attended my first vintage racing event last weekend at Pacific Raceway in Seattle. What a thrill to see cars I used to read about, on the course and up close in the pits. My son and I spent a good 20 minutes marveling at the construction details and workmanship on #64 (Peter's Talbot Lago). We didn't find your spot in the paddock until well after most people had gone. A lot of the cars were tarped or packed up, so thanks for leaving #64 out and open. Likewise for the chance to see it in action and skillfully driven. The bends toward the end of the back stretch were a great vantage point to watch the suspension working and the amount of steering correction needed. Not to mention getting a good earful of straight six!

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(excerpts from a letter from Si Robin to Victory Lane magazine - 2010)

... I started racing when the vintage cars were new cars. At the time, they were reasonably priced, compared to today's prices. I will turn 82 years of age on the 30th of this month - and I have passed my medical exams, so I can continue racing my sports cars and flying my airplanes... I think I'm one of the oldest active vintage drivers out there.
Upon looking through my old copies of Victory Lane, I noted that in the April 1992 issue, on page 43 there is a special report on a photograph of Mark Dymond with Peter Giddings driving the Talbot Lago and me driving his (Peter's) Alfa Monza. That was back in the day when I was 63 years of age. Peter Giddings and I are still good friends... (and still racing!)

Si Robin, Sensor Systems, Inc.

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(excerpt from Formula Junior Historic Racing Association News)

The most beautiful car (at the Legends of Motorsport at Mont Tremblant) was an ex-works Maserati 250F (chassis #2501) brilliantly driven by expatriate Brit, Peter Giddings. Peter sat next to me at lunch on the Sunday, pointed at my Monaco HGP 2010 T-shirt and said "that's my car!" (The car in question being his Alfa Romeo 8C ex Dennis Poore). Amazingly the Giddings 250F (in the programme as a monoposto) ran in the same race as a Mustang, Porsche 911's, and Alfa Romeo GTV's instead of running in the Monoposto race! The race mix was indeed extraordinary-- there were several CanAm cars ... and they all ran in separate races!

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Regarding Peter being named "Motorsportsman of the Year by MSPA:

I believe this is the first time that a driver/custodian of vintage/ historic race and sports cars has been so honoured -- which is wonderful for Peter, and for historic racing as a whole. -- Jack Woehrle, SVRA

CONGRATULATIONS to both of you on the honors, I certainly know this is a team effort and you both deserve the accolades!!!  It is fantastic to see both of you honored for Peter's driving expertise and your combined commitment to our sport celebrating vintage racing cars.  It is a thrill to see Peter dicing with modern machinery and kicking their rear-ends with old fashioned technology nudged on with skill and daring. -- Greg and Debbie Johnson

A tribute most deserved – but for me Peter has been the Motorposrtsman of the Year since I started in the Historic Racing business in 1991. His exemplary manner, both on and off track has been a great inspiration to many, but it has been of great personal inspiration. -- Gill Campbell, Mazda Raceway

  As a fellow vintage race driver for the past 51 years, I would like to offer you my heartfelt congratulations on this prestigious award that has been bestowed upon you as the 2010 Motorsportsman of the Year.  You have demonstrated your world class driving skills repeatedly and no one deserves this great honor more than you do!  -- Si Robin

We were delighted to receive the news about Peter's award and believe that there cannot be a more worthy recipient. Peter's dedication to the Historic Racing Movement over many years is well known, and we share of course, his admiration of the genius of Jano who produced those wonderful Alfa Romeos of the Thirties. -- Jane and Graeme Quinn

We enjoyed having Peter join us for a Legends of Motorsports event last year and hope to see him this year again, and many more! Please send him our congratulations on behalf of all at Legends of Motorsports! --Mandy DeWeese, Legends of Motorsports Events Coordinator

Congratulations!!! It is an honor to know the both of you...you are an amazing team!! A well deserved award! -- Mark, Linda and Mariah Mountanos

This is indeed a great and well deserved honour for a custodian of classic racing vehicles who believes they need to be raced to be enjoyed and it has been our privilege to be involved with Peter's cars in both Australia and New Zealand. We know that he will wear the title with pride. A true gentleman racer. Congratulations Peter and enjoy your night. -- Mark and Nicola Wilkinson, New Zealand

Please pass on our congratulations to Peter. Few people in Australia know the value of Peter as well as we do, something we have always greatly appreciated. Well done indeed! -- Grant and Brenda Campbell

 I send my heartiest congratulations to Peter on the recognition by the Motor Sports Press Association to be the ‘2010 Motorsportsman of the Year’.  This is a great honour for Peter.  Importantly, it recognises his highly valued contribution through longstanding personal involvement in historic motorsport.  In short, he has brought the legendary cars of yesteryear to the tracks of today for the enjoyment of countless thousands of people, worldwide. -- Jim Barclay, New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing

Congratulations on your well deserved  award as motorsportsman of the year. I'm sure all the members of the American Bugatti Club, both those here in the USA and those living abroad, will be delighted to see one of our long time members so honored. And what illustrious company. Ettore would be proud. --David Mize, President, American Bugatti Club

Thanks so much for letting me know of Peter’s award, many congratulations, and to an Englishman too! Of course I have not known him for very long and only through the acquisition of 3011, but I do realise he has been successfully involved in the Historic scene for a very long time and certainly therefore merits this accolade. -- Chris Jaques

Congratulations and I must say well deserved. Still remember the VIR race in the 375MM. -- Ed Davies

Congratulations to you and Peter on this honor. -- Dennis Gray

Sincere congratulations on your award as Motorsportsman of the Year. As a newbie to the sport of historic motor racing I am most grateful for your kind help, advice, resources and friendship at the track over the past few years. I also understand you celebrated a birthday this week and I am very pleased about that. I can only hope that your lightning quick reflexes are slowing as I am awfully tired of seeing the rear end of your 250F scream past me into the distance. -- Jeff O'Neill

This award is much deserved as Peter has made a huge contribution to Historic Racing around the world. 1988 was Peter's first historic car visit to Australia but it certainly was not the last.  He has returned regularly since 1988 bringing the most desirable selection of Alfa Romeo, Maserati, and Talbot Lago Grand Prix cars to compete in our historic events. Peter's enthusiasm for the Australian events has been the catalyst for the attraction of many other international competitors and we are greatly indebted to him for this support. --David Wright, Registrar. Australian Pre-1940 Alfa Romeo Register

Peter, my congratulations to you on receiving the 2010 Motorsportsman of the Year Award. You are not only a great credit to historic racing but to motor sport as a whole.  I very much enjoyed spending time with you recently and want to thank you for the opportunity to have a few laps in your 250F Maserati, albeit at a much slower pace than you were driving it at. You have given a great deal of pleasure to many around the world, both with your beautifully presented cars and your very skillful driving of them, I very much look forward to meeting again in the future. -- With my best, Chris Amon

I want to congratulate Peter on this wonderful and well deserved honor. Peter has been an inspiration to me and my vintage racing hobby--- something that has become an important part of my life. I have always looked up to Peter, both on and off the track, and enjoyed the competition over the many races we have had together in the Ferrari Maserati Historic Challenge. When I dream of racing, I am in my Maserati trying to keep up with Peter as he glides his 250F through the turns --- and I marvel at the grace with which he guides his car almost effortlessly along the path. They are one and the same. Everyone who races with Peter has experienced him coming up in their mirror--- the dark red of the Alfas, or the bright red of the 250--- and in either case we know just what to do---- a friendly hand from Peter acknowledges the pass, and he is on his way. -- Charles Wegner

Congratulations on being picked "Motorsportsman of the Year." To be singled out in a group of competitors representing so many types of motorsport is very special to the vintage racing community. A well deserved award considering the enthusiasm that you bring to both maintaining and driving your exceptional, historic race cars. -- Frank and Connie Mount, Caledon, Ontario, Canada

Peter is always good company on and  off the track. He is one of the few guys I do not mind being lapped by time and time again ... and again.....and again.  -- W.  Chris  Towner / 1938  Morgan trike, the slow one.

Congratulations for being voted the 2010 Motorsportsman of the Year, as well as for your election into the Road Racing Drivers Club. As a back marker I can attest to your consideration for slower cars and drivers as well as your good nature towards all who share the track with you. -- Martin Gruss

I am delighted that the Motor Sports Press Association has named you as the 2010 Motorsportsman of the Year. You have participated in events I've organized for quite a few years, and without fail, you have been a competitor, a gentleman, and a sportsman. Oh, and a multiple champion as well! You consistently set an example for other drivers, both on and off track. May you continue to do so for many years in the future. Congratulations on this well-deserved recognition. -- David Seibert

Having known you and competed against you since the early 70s I can sincerely vouch for your enthusiasm, knowledge and complete devotion to the conservation and utilisation of REAL historic racing cars. Too many folks turn up in pastiches, clones,or to call a spade a spade just plain fakes these days and I know that you, like myself abhor these abberations! Having got that off my chest I am so happy that you have been awarded the Motorsportsman of the Year Award. It is richly deserved. You have owned and brilliantly raced some wonderful cars, some of which you have been kind enough to let me drive, and many of which you have entered and won with in events that I have been involved with like the Louis Vuitton at Rockefeller centre, where you won Best of Show with the big Alfa, and at Lime Rock where your participation and success is always a favorite with me and the crowd. --Murray Smith

On behalf of the directors, management and staff of Auto Restorations, I want to congratulate you on your being chosen as Motorsportsman of the Year. Your participation in historic racing in so many far-flung locations, in such a wonderful range of cars, over so long a period, must surely be unmatched. We feel that the Motor Sports Press Association panel has made an inspired choice and feel proud to have been associated in a small way with your achievements. -- Allen Wylie, Christchurch, New Zealand

Congratulations on your induction into the Road Racing Drivers' Club. Having raced with you for many years it's certainly well-earned and deserved. I'm looking forward to many more seasons of being a first-hand witness to your on-track skills, camaraderie, and dedication to the art. You are certainly the epitome of the gentleman driver. Again, congratulations to you and Judy, your crew. Does this mean you're not paying us any more to allow you to pass? -- David George

Congratulations on your induction into the RRDC! You are joining a very stellar group of racers. And Happy Birthday tomorrow with many more good "oil pressure" years to come. -- Marnix F. E. Dillenius

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Letter from Peter & Judy to Stirling and Susie Moss

Letter to Stirling

The following letter was written by Stirling in response to Peter's letter

Moss letter

Stirling Moss 1996

Stirling Moss and Peter discuss racing their Maserati 250Fs at Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, 1996. Photo by Mike Sims

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Cavallino letter

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