Graham Robson – Noted Author and Hall of Fame Inductee

Graham Robson is a distinguished motoring historian whose working life has always been connected with fine cars and advanced engines. After starting his career at Jaguar, then running the ‘works’ motorsport team at Triumph, he developed a passion for motoring heritage and for classic cars. He has been an independent writer, historian and motoring consultant for many years, and has written more than 130 books. Robson will be inducted into the British Sports Car Hall of Fame this June. In fact, we are pleased that he will also be MC of the event.

Graham Robson Writer Historian and British Sports Car Hall of Fame Inductee
Born in Yorkshire to a father who was a great motorcycle enthusiast, Graham was a grammar school boy before entering Oxford, where he studied engineering. He joined Jaguar Cars in 1957, as the first of that company’s Graduate Trainees. After the obligatory time in overalls, which involved everything from making prototype body parts for new models like the XK150, and wishing he could get his hands on an early E-Type, Graham moved up to the design offices and worked on the Mk II, E-type and Mark X.

1964 Spitfire Le Mans testing, with David Hobbs and Peter Bolton

Graham Robson is one of the most experienced, prolific and versatile motoring historians in the world, and is recognized as one of the authorities on anything concerning Ford in motorsport. He watched his first F1 GP – at Aintree – in 1955, and has never lost touch with the cars, the technical trends, and – most importantly – the personalities connected with placing Ford, and Cosworth, at the pinnacle of F1. He was close to Cosworth, both as a working historian and as a personal friend of the company’s senior personalities, throughout the lengthy period covered by the DFV – and considers it an honor to have been entrusted with the compilation of this amazing story.

In the early 1960s, Robson joined Standard-Triumph, in Coventry, as a Development Engineer, first on Vitesse, then on TR4 projects. He was soon asked to run the re-opened works motorsport department, which he did from 1962 to 1965. During this time he conceived and helped develop the careers of the Spitfire Le Mans cars, TR4s, Vitesses, Spitfires, and 2000 rally cars.

Through his career at Triumph, Graham Robson kept rallying in the UK as a successful co-driver, often writing reports (for Autosport and Motoring News), which eventually led to him being invited to join Autocar magazine in its Coventry office. There he not only wrote new model analyses but also carried out many road tests. It was at this time that he became fascinated by the history and heritage of the UK’s famous car-makers.

Over more than the last 40 years, Robson has lived by the pen and by the voice, not only by writing literally thousands of features for magazines, and books for publishers on several continents, but increasingly by commentating, presenting, and organizing events of all types.

A few of Graham Robson’s book titles include:

Thanks to Veloce Publishing and The Crowood Press for the information and photos used in this article.

Note: British Sports Car Hall of Fame LogoThis is part of an ongoing series focusing on the 23 individuals who will be inducted into the British Sports Car Hall of Fame in ceremonies on June 2nd, 2017, at the Hall of Fame in Petersburg, VA.

Michael Carnell
Editor at Just British

Michael Carnell is the editor and founder of the Just British Online Motoring Magazine. As a lifelong British car enthusiast, he has owned or driven British cars of all ages from Austins and MGs to Jaguars and Triumphs. He currently owns a 1966 Vanden Plas Princess 1100 and a 1977 MGB. But there is always room for more - no matter what his wife says.