Peter Giddings and his cars will be missed. He was one of the best. Pre-war Alfa Romeos, Lancia D24 and D50, 250F Maserati, Bugatti Type 55, Delage, Ferrari Lusso and others, each presented and driven as their builders had intended…and who could forget the Great Danes… the last, the wonderful “Havoc.”
I can only offer condolences to his wife Judy.
Tell me about the early years…the kind of stuff that sets the tone.
Giddings: I was born in Eastbourne, Sussex, in the ’40s…you are not going to get any closer than that as I fibbed about my age when obtaining my first driving license!
Education at that time was difficult, We had weary, shell shocked teachers who taught by rote. It would seem that in order to make up for the tragic loss of so many young lives in World War II, the prime objective of my school was to supply replacement fodder for the military.
Innocently, I got close, passing my exam for a junior officer position, but luckily for me, I failed due to my poor eyesight…imagine what a different life I would have led!
My passions included electronics and, to this day, creative writing. As a recipient of several Golden Quill Awards, one of my favorite pieces on Moss, which will also help to explain the origins of my passion for historic racing. Whenever we chat with Stirling and Susie, we always remind them that Stirling has a lot to answer for! All of this led to an involvement with early tape recording. We had a mobile and permanent studio, and recorded many of the greats and the good. To this day, I am still involved with audio and communications.
At that time, I was involved with a Swiss conglomerate, designing early multi-track recorders, plus working on a retainer for a German transducer designer.
In 1971, these two pioneering companies, weary of their USA representation, asked me to move to the States, and help set up a facility for them on Long Island. Judy and I were newly married, foot loose and fancy-free so we accepted.
Car wise, our “calling card” upon arrival was our restored 1924 Lyons Bugatti, majestically towed by our Gurney Nutting Sedanca de Ville Rolls-Royce.
To our absolute joy and relief, Long Island turned out to be a hot bed of pre-war car activity, leading to memorable friendships with the irrepressible “Austie” Clark, Freddie Willits, with his wonderful single-seater 35C Bugatti, Rene and Maurice Dreyfus, Bill Wonder (Maserati 300S), Peter Magnuson, Judy Stropus (OSCA), Jim Haynes (post-war Frazer Nash), the Lefferts, Jim McAllister (Birdcage Maserati and Alfa 8c), Miles Coverdale (Bugatti 55), et al.
Thus, my USA racing began at iconic tracks, such as Watkins Glen, Lime Rock, and Bridgehampton.