Peter Janson-Smith, the man Ian Fleming called the ‘prince of agents’, died three years ago today. This is the appreciation I wrote the following week, based on an interview I conducted with him in the run-up to his 90th birthday celebrations.
The death of John Haynes OBE, creator of the Haynes Manual, and founder of the publishing group and museum that bear his name, causes me to recall an exchange of letters I had with him in January 2007 which quite literally changed my life.
Tonight, I shall be at a dinner at New York’s India House, remembering the co-founding member of the club who died 100 years ago today – Willard Dickerman Straight.
On this special day, I’ve been re-reading some of the research notes I’ve made in Cornell University’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections. Among many treasures, it holds the personal correspondence between Whitney Straight’s parents, Willard and Dorothy.
Motor racing has lost a hero and an innovator. The world has lost a gentleman.
The death of Dan Gurney has been announced in typically charming fashion by his wife Evi: ‘With one last smile on his handsome face, Dan drove off into the unknown just before noon, January 14, 2018.’
On the door of my study is an old American road sign, directing drivers to a small town down the road named Whitney. Insert a comma, and ‘WHITNEY STRAIGHT, AHEAD’ is my direction of travel.
This isn’t where I write – though I wish it were. It’s the place Georges Clemenceau retired to after losing the French presidential elections of 1919. It’s in St-Vincent-sur-Jard, about 30km down the Atlantic coast from Les Sables d’Olonne.