Gerard “Jabby” Crombac, renowned French journalist and automotive authority, has died of cancer at his Paris home on November 18.
Crombac left his family’s Swiss furniture business in 1949 to work for Raymond Sommer as a mechanic. But by 1950, Crombac had become friends with Gregor Grant, founder of Autosport magazine, and soon became that magazine’s first European correspondent. Crombac covered European racing, and in particular Formula One, for Autosport until 1954 when he started his own magazine Sport Auto in France. Over the next 50 years, Crombac attended over 500 Grands Prix making him one of the most respected names in motorsport journalism. As a result of his long association with Formula One, “Jabby” as his friends called him, also developed numerous close friendships with a number of racing luminaries including Jim Clark, Jochen Rindt, and Clive Chapman.
Outside of his role as journalist, Crombac also served as a representative of the FIA, worked for some time as the manager of the Matra racing team, and even functioned as Colin Chapman’s European sales agent for Lotus.