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William 'Bill' Boddy RIP


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#1 Allan Lupton

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 12:01

Motor Sport readers from its Great Days will be saddened to know that "WB" (i.e. Bill Boddy) died peacefully at his home, Llynbarried Hall, early this morning after a short illness.


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#2 bradbury west

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 12:29

Thank you for letting us know so promptly, Allan. Saddened is something of an understatement for my feelings at the passing of this giant of motor sport journalism, arch-supporter of our sport, and of the belief in unfettered opinions. Sadly probably the last real link with Brooklands has now also passed. Perhaps people will now come to value his eponymous history of the place.
May he Rest in Peace, with the kind thoughts of his many followers as company, perhaps safe in the knowledge of just how much we learned from him and Jenks.
Roger Lund

#3 Odseybod

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 12:59

Thank you for letting us know so promptly, Allan. Saddened is something of an understatement for my feelings at the passing of this giant of motor sport journalism, arch-supporter of our sport, and of the belief in unfettered opinions. Sadly probably the last real link with Brooklands has now also passed. Perhaps people will now come to value his eponymous history of the place.
May he Rest in Peace, with the kind thoughts of his many followers as company, perhaps safe in the knowledge of just how much we learned from him and Jenks.
Roger Lund


Very well said, Roger - echo that 100%.

#4 Roger Clark

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 13:04

A giant indeed, both for his writing and for the magazine he edited for so long. Commiserations, and thanks, to his surviving family.

#5 Allan Lupton

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 13:14

A giant indeed, both for his writing and for the magazine he edited for so long.

Yes indeed.
He demonstrated to me more than once that if he didn't know, or needed to check what he thought he knew, he knew exactly who would know and asked him. That makes a lot of what he wrote the definitive version of its subject.


#6 RA Historian

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 13:37

Very well said, Roger - echo that 100%.

Very sad indeed. At his age, we knew that time was short, but nonetheless it still is a kick in the gut. I never knew WB except through his writings, but those were such that they brought the reader into the story and made him a part of it. Just think of the history that WB saw and experienced. What a full and exciting life indeed. It is a cliche, but he truly will be missed.
Tom

#7 David Beard

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 13:37

A giant indeed, both for his writing and for the magazine he edited for so long. Commiserations, and thanks, to his surviving family.


End of an era. I'm sure none of us have read the works of any other writer over such a long period...
I trust the magazine will keep his memory alive, as they have with Jenks.

#8 Roy C

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 14:02

RIP WB. A long and interesting life has come to a close.

Motorsport obituary


#9 D-Type

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 14:02

His writings have been part of my life since I first read Motor Sport over 50 years ago.

In Africa they use the term: "He cast a long shadow" . WB was such a man

I've echo everything that's been said above.

#10 Ray Bell

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 14:07

A stickler for many of the things most of us here on TNF appreciate...

How can we easily dismiss his loss? Not that anyone thus far has sold WB short, by any means, but he truly was as Roger said, a giant in his field. He broke ground that others were still fearful to tread, I would suggest, and campaigned for many things as a lone voice out there.

So it's no wonder he and Jenks got along! If there's anything I do personally appreciate about WB is that he gave Jenks such free rein to write what he determined was necessary. That relates to number of words and levels of 'freedom of speech' in the face of possible repercussions.

But even the greats have to some time count their days. I'm sure he was a good age, and I'm sure the world will not be the same without him.

#11 Vitesse2

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 14:27

Sad - but really not unexpected - news.

98 is indeed a good age, but I had hoped he might have made "the ton". There would have been a certain symmetry to that, given his well-known opposition to the 70 limit.

The world of motor sport is a little smaller and a lot poorer today. So long, WB, and thanks for everything. :up:

#12 alansart

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 14:40

That's sad news. The end of a very long and interesting era.

#13 Raido

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 15:03

RIP WB and condoleances to his family and friends. From the heady days of Brooklands right to the middle of the WiFi and iPhone era - rarely, if ever, so many motorsports years have been covered actively by just one man. Thanks for all the coverage (it sure was a LOT of ground to cover indeed).


#14 David Birchall

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 15:15

What sad news! I know we expected this given his 98 years but even so..
Surely no other person has written about such a wide range of cars and certainly not over such a long period. He truly was of another age. We will miss you WB.

#15 RCH

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 15:29

Sad news but as many have said not unexpected, all I can do is echo what has been said already. He will be irreplaceable.

#16 Bloggsworth

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 15:31

One of the truly great, no hype needed. My condolences to friends and family.

#17 T54

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 15:33

I am going to miss his straight talk and fun old stories... Bill, rest in peace, you deserve it.

#18 arttidesco

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 15:48

Until I bought my first copy of Motor Sport I'd not shown much interest in reading about motoring or motor sport, after I finished reading that first copy I became addicted to reading about motoring and motor sport. RIP WB. Condolences to his family.

#19 RobertE

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 15:54

I'm very sad, but not that surprised (anno domini, etc), but he seemed to me to be a thoroughly nice and decent man.
A loss, indeed...

Oddly enough I was re-reading his book on Brooklands only yesterday...

RIP, or perhaps as he would have had it IPR...

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#20 TonyS2

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 16:02

Sad news.

I will have to start reading properly the copy of his 1957 book, The History Of Brooklands Motor Course, which I inherited from my Dad, rather than just glancing through it occasionally !

#21 Jack-the-Lad

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 16:06

Condolences to Mr. Boddy's family, friends and colleagues. Beyond that I cannot add to the sentiments eloquently expressed above.

RIP

Edited by Jack-the-Lad, 07 July 2011 - 16:09.


#22 Doug Nye

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 16:07

I heard at the weekend that The Bod was fading fast. But he will always be here amongst us.

DCN

#23 Richard Jenkins

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 16:20

Such a shame to lose such an enthusiastic and knowledgable man - still enthusiastic at 98 too. I can't add on anything above, so I won't - RIP WB.

#24 Rob29

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 16:28

Condolences to Mr. Boddy's family, friends and colleagues. Beyond that I cannot add to the sentiments eloquently expressed above.

RIP

Yep,can only add my name to above coments.Must be longest read journalist I know of.First read Motor Sport in 1955 and he was still contributing recently.

#25 retrospeed

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 16:40

Until I bought my first copy of Motor Sport I'd not shown much interest in reading about motoring or motor sport, after I finished reading that first copy I became addicted to reading about motoring and motor sport. RIP WB. Condolences to his family.


Same here

#26 David McKinney

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 16:46

Have just caught up with this sad news, having been otherwise engaged for most of the day

I can't add to what's already been said, except to say - just think what our understanding and enjoyment of motoring and motor sporting life would have been without him

Condolences to family and friends

#27 RStock

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 17:02

RIP WB. A long and interesting life has come to a close.

Motorsport obituary



WB saw both Nuvolari and Vettel race, knew Caracciola, Hawthorn and Clark, and tested Austin Sevens when they were brand-new.


Quite a resume in itself. RIP William Bobby.

#28 Robin Fairservice

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 17:17

I knew that he would leave us eventually, but it is still a shock; we are not immortal. I first read MS in the 1950's and subscribed until we moved to Canada, but there were always references to him to read. It is hard to believe that one more of the motoring personalities that I grew up with has gone.

RIP Bill, and my condolences to those family members who are left to mourn.

#29 MCS

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 17:22

Sad, sad news.

What an immense contribution he made to the world of motor cars and motor sport. I shall probably treasure my signed first edition of The History of Brooklands Motor Course even more now.

God bless you, Bill.

#30 Kpy

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 17:25

RIP WB.

So long, and thanks ...

#31 Tim Murray

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 17:26

It's taken a while for me to bring myself to open this thread. WB has been part of my life for fifty years. It will be very strange to open the first Motor Sport with nothing from him in it. I endorse all that's been said so far. Sincere condolences to his family and friends.

Goodbye, WB, and thank you.

#32 Rob G

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 17:28

We should all be so lucky to live such a long, full and active life. RIP, Bill.

#33 Paul Parker

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 20:44

Possibly the last great survivor of a bygone motoring era, the past is a different country and his like never to be repeated.

Thank you for all those childhood Motor Sport editorials, road tests and often trenchant comments, no humbug there. It seemed as though he had been with us forever but now he's gone.

My condolences to family and friends.

RIP WB.


#34 bradbury west

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 21:28

Lightening the tone a little, does anyone recall the famous comment about the Ford Consul which he tested? Something to do with having an accident being the best thing it could do.
RL

#35 Doug Nye

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 21:47

Posted Image
Typical Bill - with his Calthorpe returning from an early-1950s Exeter Trial, photographed by DSJ...

Posted Image
Typical Bill - looking on while capo meccanico Adelmo Marchetti readies Peter Collins's works Ferrari at Silverstone, 1958. Bill's ramrod straight back, pout-chested pose was absolutely characteristic. This was the natural stance of a very self-conscious, rather withdrawn, private and often quite defensive and prickly man. The Bod did the majority of his talking through his typewriter. And tens of thousands of us listened.

Photos Strictly Copyright: The GP Library

DCN

Edited by Doug Nye, 07 July 2011 - 21:51.


#36 D-Type

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 22:22

Lightening the tone a little, does anyone recall the famous comment about the Ford Consul which he tested? Something to do with having an accident being the best thing it could do.
RL

No, but I do recall him describing another Ford (Zephyr 4?) as "The sort of car you take the dog in and wipe the mud off the [plastic covered] seats afterwards"

#37 Gary Davies

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 00:09

Typical Bill - looking on while capo meccanico Adelmo Marchetti readies Peter Collins's works Ferrari at Silverstone, 1958. Bill's ramrod straight back, pout-chested pose was absolutely characteristic. This was the natural stance of a very self-conscious, rather withdrawn, private and often quite defensive and prickly man. The Bod did the majority of his talking through his typewriter. And tens of thousands of us listened.


Thank you DCN. This sums up my recollection of WB precisely, after not missing an issue since early 1962, though I never met him.

I wonder what car he will select 'up there'. The Volkswagen, a Mini perhaps? I fancy he will settle for a Rover 2000. God speed, WB.


#38 onelung

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 02:20

WB and Jenks: what a combination!

I still recall reading when I was 16, of Fangio's Nurburgring race win, defying all odds after that protracted pit stop.
In a pre real-time cyberspace age WB and Motor Sport made all that northern hemisphere excitement come to life.

Vale, WB - a true legend: you will be sorely missed by millions of us. :up:

#39 cooper997

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 04:33

Even if Wesley J Tee had paid his employees enough to afford retirement, I suspect WB wouldn't have had it any other way. It's a long career, that in all likelyhood will never be beaten.

My condolences to all Mr Boddy's family and friends.

Stephen

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#40 Stephen W

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 07:50

As has already been stated not unexpected news; never-the-less a sad day.

Personally I will be celebrating a full life of a true great of motoring journalism. Back in 1965 when I bought my first copy of Motor Sport Bill Boddy was the main man at the magazine. For me he and DSJ are linked to my formative years of motor sport. He will be missed.



#41 Nick Savage

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 08:08

At the age of 15, I could probably have got interested in almost anything as a lifetime pre-occupation. But a neighbour drove a vintage Talbot and shortly thereafter in 1963 I was introduced to Bill Boddy, Jenks and 'Motor Sport'. Everything about his writing appealed - the quixotic campaigns; the trenchant opinions; the detailed love of history; the fantastic range of coverage; the small ads (dream on ....); and the phenomenal ability to conjure up the smell, the sound and the atmosphere of vintage motoring and current motorsport. I was hooked and it has been a ruling passion ever since.

Since then I have realised that no other interest was so well served by such an appealing and authoritative publication as 'Motor Sport' served us.

For all this I and so many others owe a huge debt to Bill Boddy : my great condolences to his family and my sadness at the close of an unrepeatable era.
Nick

#42 ellrosso

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 08:32

Yes RIP WB. How many 98 year olds could still write those memories with his clarity. Mustn't forget his Australian connection as English correspondent for AMS too.
He will be sorely missed.

#43 RogerFrench

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 09:54

I heard at the weekend that The Bod was fading fast. But he will always be here amongst us.

DCN


That's how I always knew him, as The Bod. Sad to see him go, finally. He was pretty well the last of my father's old motoring acquaintances from the 40s.
I have a slightly irreverent thought - do you suppose he and Jenks are now debating whether they really are wherever they are?



#44 Allan Lupton

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 10:04

I have a slightly irreverent thought - do you suppose he and Jenks are now debating whether they really are wherever they are?

If there turns out to be somewhere, there'll be a lot of us there with surprised expressions asking for an explanation. :)

#45 MichaelJP

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 10:20

Sad news but certainly a "good innings". It's amazing to contemplate the span of his career, covering virtually the whole of the history of the sport..

One of my oldest Motor Sport issues is one from October, 1937 featuring the Donington GP of that year with the "Silver Arrows". There is no author information anywhere in the issue but would Bill Boddy have written the text of the report?



#46 Tim Murray

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 10:38

Yes indeed - when these articles were reprinted in The Motor Sport Book of Donington they all had 'WB' at the end.

#47 GD66

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 11:24

Sad news, but a time to appreciate the work of a master in his field. As DCN has outlined in post #35, he typed, but "we listened".

Much respect.

#48 richardspringett

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 11:33

Sad news indeed.

My condolences to family and friends.

Richard


#49 P0wderf1nger

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 12:40

The end of an era - and what an era!

I've only just heard this sad news, and the memories are tumbling through my head. I was seven when The Bod launched his trenchant campaign against the 70mph speed limit, but I can still remember the format and texture of the Motor Sport petition. And I'd just turned 10 when Jim Clark was killed, and after cutting out and re-reading scores of times Innes Ireland's powerful words in Autocar, I waited impatiently for what the following month's Motor Sport would have to say. When I opened the 'Comment' page and saw only a photograph of Clark and the caption (along the lines of), 'Mere words cannot sum up the loss', the child in me felt cheated. Only years later did I realise that this was the perfect way to articulate the void.

I know that hundreds of TNFers will have gone to their shelves since this news broke. What are we reading? Something from the 1920s? His masterpiece, The History of Brooklands? Or the current issue? What a way to bow out - a piece on his father, and another on his part in the creation of the VSCC. May I recommend the little paperback Motor Sport published on the golden jubilee of the Austin Seven? It contains more than 20 of his articles and road tests.

And what an enormous help to others. I wonder how many forewords, how many reviews, how many replies to requests for help he wrote?

To his daughters, and to the staff at Motor Sport, my sincere condolences.

Paul

#50 Charlieman

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 19:45

I just remember the quirkiness of WB's editorship. Who else would have put a photo of an Exeter Trial mud plugger on the front cover of an edition that covered the Monte Carlo rally and a South American Grand Prix?