One of the most widely recognized vintage racers in the sport, Peter Giddings, passed away earlier this week at his home in Northern California, at the age of 79. In a vintage racing career that began over four decades ago, Peter owned and/or drove many of the greatest cars ever to turn a wheel on a track. While he owned and enjoyed a number of post-war racecars, his passion was the great pre-war racers. Bugatti, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Talbot-Lago, Delage and Maserati are some of the marques he has owned and raced. In addition, he had been invited to drive a number of priceless racers including several of the legendary pre-war Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix cars.
Giddings traveled the world in his business career but also as a racer, competing at race tracks in England, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Canada, Bahamas, Mexico, South America and of course, all over the United States. He was always willing to share his vast knowledge of his cars with anyone interested and his passion for racing was well known. Giddings was a true gentleman racer and a wonderful ambassador for vintage racing, promoting the sport wherever he competed.
Besides racing, Peter wrote many fine articles for magazines, showed his cars at charity events, was a sought after speaker and racecar historian. He won many awards during his career including the prestigious title of “Grand Master” after winning the North American Ferrari/Maserati Historic Challenge several times.
Giddings and his wonderful collection of racecars were icons of the sport and drew crowds of admirers wherever he raced around the world. He was the epitome of a vintage racer, racing hard but always fair in his collection of historic racecars. The last couple of years Peter raced two outstanding examples of historic Lancia racecars – a 1954 D24 spider and a 1956 D50 Grand Prix car.
Peter is survived by his loving wife Judy, his daughter Karen and his Great Dane, Lord Havelock a.k.a., Havoc. To truly appreciate all the elements of Giddings life in racing, visit his website.