She likes them:
“ . . . to look a while at his photographs is to fall head over heels backwards into the shadowlands of the 1950s, where the mechanic had a teddy boy quiff and the fashionable racing driver wrapped a silk scarf around his neck and up to his chin. A place where the watching crowd were undressed without their trilbies, and the few women spectators were all done up in Dior’s new look.
The drivers don’t look like sportsmen but straight out of Hollywood, rugged and wearing old-fashioned wrist watches and tin-pot helmets. Archie Scott-Brown sits at Silverstone doing a fine impression of Errol Flynn. Graham Hill looks from his motor pulpit all thin moustache and baggy tired eyes.
And, in Alexander’s favourite picture, Jim Clark, circa 1962, stares at the camera with huge black marks on his face tracing the outline of where his ridiculous science-lab goggles sat tight to his skin. He looks like a star, but, crucially, he also looks very human.
Then, standing under the advertisements for Cointreau or the News of the World, or speeding round a race track, are the cars. Big round things with curves and friendly round wide-open headlights, plastered with numbers like a birthday cake and with gleaming hubs and great big dials, they are a different species to the angular, angry machines of today.
Much of the joy of the pictures is in the incidental. Again and again a man who looks like the Fat Controller appears. Sometimes all you can see is his large rump, or his hat, or his huge raincoat, or in his hand a flag. In the 1956 Monte Carlo Rally five men in berets stand and watch by the corner of a village as a Bristol 406 takes the turn. In the picture taken in the pits at Monza in 1956 a priest stands in the background, all in black, his hat overshadowing everything and everyone else, including Luigi Musso . . . “
“ . . . You can be fooled by photos. But you can smell the fuel in these ones and you want to taste it. Bernie Ecclestone should catch the exhibition while he can.”
‘Big round things with curves and friendly round wide-open headlights’.
Her ‘Fat Controller’ refers to a character in the UK children’s books and TV series Thomas the Tank Engine, but in this case the description would appear to fit the man concerned perfectly.