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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.


Watkins Glen 2018

Judy and Peter: Attached is a picture from the reenactment last month. Notice the big smile on my face. I want to thank you for making it possible for me to have this great memory. The only thing that could have improved it was if you both been there too. From Graham Jacobsen.

John Blum and Graham Jacobsen are in the Lancia D24R at Watkins Glen with Don Racine standing alongside.


Just a note to tell you how much I enjoyed spending a few minutes together at Mont Tremblant in the summer. Peter, you have always provided inspiration and motivation to me; to persevere with these often frustrating relics that we insist on messing about with, and to use them in the spirit in which they were conceived. Watching you hustle the 8C35 around was an inspiraton to me to be a better driver and to ensure that my cars were able to properly represent themselves on the track, not settle for merely being paraded about. Your excitement, passion and thirst for knowledge is infectious; I admire your acquisition of the (Lancia) D50 and D24 as an homage to Jano and to further understand his brilliance, but at a time in your life when many may have lost their curiosity and inteerst in such pursuits. Thank you for your openness, advice and friendship. My thoughts are with you.

From Denis Bigioni


Shortly after the reopening of Virginia International Raceway in 2000, I was working as a relatively new corner worker for the Ferrari Challenge weekend event, which included vintage cars in a support race. I was in awe watching Peter man handle his Alfa Grand Prix car with tires squealing around every turn on the course the course, but even more impressed by his very generous offer of $5000 to any corner worker who could find the oil filler cap he lost on course. One of my co-workers found the cap but incredibly turned down his offer just out of respect for Peter sharing this wonderful piece of automobile history with us. On Sunday of that weekend, I attended the event as a spectator with my two god-grandsons, ages 3 and 5, and their parents. I couldn’t wait for them to see these grand old cars but was naturally apprehensive about the boys touching something they shouldn’t. Peter evidently saw us carefully restraining them as they stared at his car. He then said, “Would you like to have a picture of your boys sitting in my car?” Needless to say, that’s still one of my favorite pictures and Peter is still one of my favorite people and drivers.

Thanks for these two wonderful memories. Steve Oakley, VIR 2001-2007


In a note to Rob Walton, Peter said: "Thanks for the kind words ... this means a lot to me. To my mind, our most memorable race was at Infineon (now Sonoma Raceway), with you in your incredibly original ex Argentina 8CM, and me in my Monza Alfa -- quite how I stayed ahead, I know not, but I was elated to make it. On another occasion (you in the same car) I was parked at the top of the corkscrew, my Alfa Romeo Tipo C 8C-35 having just exploded its drive line UJ underneath the family jewels -- I ended up standing on the seat whilst steering it off to the right! Anyway, my special top of the corkscrew view of your opposite locking down is indelibly seared in my memory. I have always regretted your moving on from pre-war racing .... not the safest of pursuits, but so very rewarding."

Rob Walton replied: " Thanks for the great memories--all of us in vintage racing admire your talent with the prewar cars! You put on a fantastic show with great cars and great driving. It is a pleasure to watch. I remember of course both races you reference. It is never a question if you will be in front, just a matter of how much! Anyway, Monterey is coming up and I look forward to seeing you and your cars there. With my very best wishes, Rob"


One of the most popular features of the Charity Challenge is the opportunity for spectators to purchase a ride in the car of their choice for three laps of speed around the race track. Dr. John Akin sat on the pit wall trying to catch his breath after his ride. "Now that was an experience ... much more than I expected. A wide smile lit his face as he slowly turned his head from side to side. Dr. Akin was savoring the moment.-- no surprise since he had just climbed out of a Ferrari GTO after experiencing a few laps at speed around Sonoma Raceway. ..."My driver (Peter Giddings) was always thinking two or three turns ahead and keeping the car on a perfect line with a quick flick of the wrist. I felt very much at ease. The GTO made this track look easy -- it isn't." Dr. John Akin is a retired U.S. Navy flight surgeon. In that capacity, he has had years of expereince with high-performance aircraft and the men who fly them. He compared the experience of his ride in the Ferrari GTO to that of a pilot in the Blue Angels.

(Excerpted from an Article by Peter Darnall in the January 2014 issue of Victory Lane)


Pick of the Litter, 2013 Monterey Motorsports reunion

With so many historic race cars to choose from, picking a favorite is a challenging task. However, after walking the paddock, one example stood out -- a 1926 Delage Grand Prix car, known as Dick Seaman's "Black Delage," now part of Peter Giddings collection. ... In the hands of such famous drivers as Benoist, Chiron, Senechal, Earl Howe and Richard Seaman, this Delage was a consistent winner. In this car, Chiron placed 7th at the Indy 500 in 1929 and Seaman won six championship races in a 16-day period in 1936. The car was owned for a short time by Prince Bira before being sold to Reg Parnell, then on to F1 team owner Rob Walker. After a full restoration by Walker, the Delage was almost destroyed in a fire and then rebuilt again. The car was eventually sold to a collector who had the car restored to 1936 Richard Seaman race trim and it is in this configuraton that Peter Giddings debuted the car at this year's RMMR. It was the first time since the 1929 Indianapolis 500 that the car raced on U.S. soil.

(Excerpt from Vintage Motorsport, Nov/Dec 2013)


Heroes of Phillip Island: The real heroes of the Island were not necessarily on the track -- they were the ones that got the famous cars to the meeting, kept them going, brought a smile to all visitors faces -- and kept on at a task few of us would undertake. WIth the help of our very good friend, Peter Giddings, two famous cars were coming: Peter's well-known Whitney Straight Maserati 3011 and the Maserati 250S of Tom Price from America. (from The Oily Rag, New South Wales, Australia, Autumn 2002, Vol. 11, No. 3)


Hello Peter...Sorry we missed seeing you this year at Laguna, but many
people told us that they had been by to see your D50 and the Aerovault. I
hope everything is still working perfectly. We're so proud to have you as an
Aerovault owner! As always,

Best! Peter Brock


Peter Giddings of Walnut Creek is one of the most exciting drivers in vintage racing. He's a crowd favorite at Monterey and Palm Springs for his tire-smoking, power-sliding wins in a mighty Talbot-Lago like the one Linda Scott drove. In that car, Giddings inspires a sense of magic in the sight and sound of a car so old, so big, and so primitive being hurled around the hairpins in a display of mastery of man over machine. He speaks of the car with respect: "The Talbot is not an easy car to drive," Giddings says, talking about his own Talbot-Lago, "It's got tremendous torque, substantial weight. I take my hat off to anyone who can drive one..." From Sports Car International, June/July 1999.


Not only was there a legendary automobile [at Mont-Tremblant] this year but this racer is also one of the most unique vehicles on the planet. The car in queston is the 1954 Lancia D50A(r) created by one of Formula One's great early engineers, Vittorio Jano. The D50A was way ahead of its time with some innovations that F1 designers started using only 20 years later.

The man who owns and drives this unique piece is none other than (Sir !!!) Peter Giddings who has quite the collection of vintage F1 and even pre-F1 race cars. "After a two-year restoration period, this is the very first time that I'll be driving this car, " says Giddings, who was looking forward to testing the D50A and discovering its many virtues and vices. (exerpt from Stile Magazine, Septermber 2016).


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


[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


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


Terry Shea of Hemmings had the following comment regarding Peter Giddings and his race car:

"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!"


The Racer was written by Hans Reusch. This novel contains wonderful descriptions of Grand Prix racing in the 1930's. ... He knew this era of Grand Prix racing from personal experience. He competed during this time in over 100 events. He eventually purchased an 8C-35 Alfa Romeo from Scuderia Ferrari and campaigned with considerable success across Europe as an independent. In 1954, 20th Century Fox produced a motion picture called The Racers. The movie starred Kirk Douglas and was based on the book The Racer by Hans Reusch.

It was a warm day in late Fall a couple of years ago. I had just caught up with my friend, Peter Giddings, in the paddock at Thunderhill. Peter is a well-known car collector and a highly-skilled vintage racing driver. His latest automotive jewel was attracting a lot of attention from everybody at the CSRG event. It was a very special Alfa Romeo Grand Prix car of the mid-thirties. The Ferrari emblem on the hood stood out in sharp contrast to the maroon color of the body. This was the real thing -- a documented Scuderia Ferrari car. ... Here was the very car that Hans Reusch purchased from Scuderia Ferrari. Unbelievable! The car was every bit as impressive as I had envisioned it would have been when I read 'The Racer' for the first time many years ago. I won't forget that weekend at Thunderhill. The Tipo C ran perfectly that day. Spine-tingling exhaust note-- acrid smell of blended fuel and hot lacquer-- Peter's arms sawing away at the large steering wheel. If you get a chance to see this Alfa in action, don't miss it!
(excerpt from an article by Peter Darnall, Victory Lane, Vol. 20, No. 4, April 2005)


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.)


(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.
Louis Timolat


(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).


(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!"


(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!


(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.


(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!


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


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


Cavallino letter