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Raymond Baxter has died


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#1 Rockford

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 16:13

Just heard the sad news that Raymond Baxter has died.

I always enjoyed his commentaries.

RIP Raymond :(

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#2 RTH

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 16:18

Very sad news has just come through on BBC News that Raymond Baxter has just died at the age of 84

I remember him most fondly as a commentator , and indeed competitor on rallies in the 50s, on motor racing events especially in the 50s, 60s, and 70s.
As a WW2 Spitfire pilot himself he also hosted air shows for many years. A well spoken and excellent commentator on everything he did he will be greatly missed. He commentated on the present Queens coronation, Winston Churchill's funeral and the first flight of Concorde.

Sad news indeed.


http://en.wikipedia..../Raymond_Baxter


http://www.signed-bo...of_My_Life.html

#3 ensign14

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 16:30

Out for 84. That's a pretty good knock. Round of applause for Mr Baxter OBE.

#4 Richard Jenkins

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 16:48

Well this is an unpleasant surprise. He seemed well, albeit frailer in April/May when I last saw him.

But of course, Baxter's work will live on much longer than the man himself.

RIP :cry:

#5 BorderReiver

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 16:48

R.I.P. Mr Baxter

#6 Stoatspeed

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 16:50

I have to say that when I first fround TNF and browsed the threads, I was actually surprised to see that he was being discussed in the present tense - having been away from England for more than 10 years, I just assumed he had passed away already. Possibly this thought was brought on by the feeling that he was older than his years .... he always had a certain stately appearance, IMO.
The new that he has in fact passed away is sad ... his commenary style was classic BBC, calm, understated, but immensely deep in background. As a lad, I was an avid watcher of "Tomorrow's World", and also remember watching the live coverage of Concorde's first flight - for all of his enthusiasm for motoring matters, his deep passion for aviation always shone through.

RIP, Raymond, have a beer in the Officers Mess with Ray Hanna when you pass the Pearly Gates. Now that would be a conversation to hear ....

#7 Doug Nye

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 16:51

To be recalled with great respect - Roland Thaxter - the voice of motor racing, and of the Farnborough Airshow, and of Telstar's first transAtlantic transmission, and early spaceflight and so much more through my formative years, Monte Carlo Rally competitor, flyer, all-round professional broadcaster, and in harness at Goodwood commentating on the Spitfire displays and Ray Hanna tribute the day before he finally entered hospital. How many other pilots survived into the 21st century who ever saw a V2 lifting-off from woodland through the windscreen of their Spitfire? Sincere condolences to his family and friends.

Fly well, sir ... and thank you.

DCN

#8 Paul Parker

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 16:53

You speak for me RTH.

#9 FrankB

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 16:54

His was the voice of motor racing when I was growing up. I'll certainly echo ensign14's sentiments and join in a round of applause for a life well-lived.

Goodbye and thank you. RIP

#10 Rob29

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 17:04

Yep,same feeling here.He was the first person I associated with the sport,and just about everything else I was interested in like aviation.

R.I.P Raymond

#11 Rob29

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 17:23

Originally posted by Paul Parker
I too recall the varied motor sport that appeared on British TV during the early 1960s including the Rest and Be Thankful hillclimb in Scotland.

However as Humphries says the continental coverage (Monaco, Zandvoort, Le Mans and Monza I remember were the races most usually shown) was fragmented and often not even concluded whilst the British GP was little better.

The situation deteriorated exponentially after we won the 1966 World Cup and it took many years before motor sport was taken even half seriously again by the broadcast media.

I think the situation deteriorated after advertising on the cars was allowed in 1968? Can't remember the last time a race was shown live on the BBC.Maybe the last GP before ITV won the contract?
Todays tabloid headline-TV licence to go up £30 :cry: Where do I join a protest group?
Maybe the Raymond Baxter Memorial Trophy for GP Masters?

#12 flat-16

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 17:25

How many current broadcasters walk-the-walk as well as talk-the-talk?

Thanks for the memories Raymond - historians will be kind to you!

Justin

#13 frogeye59

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 17:57

How sad, 84 is a good innings though.

This year, as ever, Raymond's informed, in-depth and respectful commentry for the flying displays at Goodwood raised the hairs on the back of my neck, truly emotional moments.

Gods Speed Raymond.





DCN, perhaps a tribute in the future on MFQ ???

#14 Graham Gauld

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 17:59

Very sad but not unexpected news. I saw Raymond at Silverstone in July and he was looking poorly but still had his sense of humour. I will always remember him telling one of his favourite stories about the legendary Mrs Topham of Aintree. Apparently Mrs Topham wanted to bring together the racing drivers and the horse racing people and organised a cocktail party on one of the balconies. Raymond was in company with Jim Clark and John Bolster. Here I paraphrase what Raymond said. ".....you can imagine the scene, the racing drivers at one end and the trilby hats at the other each noisily chattering to their own cliques. Then a waitress stumbled coming through the doorway and her tray of drinks crashed to the ground and there was stunned silence broken only by Bolster who shouted in a loud voice to the waitress, ' Oh what a pity, shall I say bugger for you ?"
Raymond was everyone favourite commentator, he didn't let his pants go on fire like Murray but was dignified, knowledgeable and his command of the English language shamed all of today's commentators.
He will be missed.

#15 Gary C

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 19:22

http://news.bbc.co.u...ent/5350436.stm

Yes, indeed, RIP Raymond. I remember him commentating on Concorde's first flight as well as verything else.

#16 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 19:35

Sigh, another voice from the past silenced. I truly enjoyed listening to him whenever we could not make a race and there was a broadcast. And I had forgotten the Telestar broadcast. And Farnborough was always always a treat when I went as an adult -- and in uniform -- because he was still there.... Godspeed, sir, and thank you.

#17 RS2000

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 19:38

I wonder whether a younger generation, brought up on Murray Walker, understands that virtually everything to do with car motorsport that appeared on TV before then was down to RB - not just commentating but getting approval for and organising the coverage. Autotests ("driving tests" then) on prime Saturday afternoon TV? Sounds unbelievable now. His live radio from the top of the Turini on the Monte Carlo Rally probably changed my life - and cost me a fortune competing in rallying.

#18 Eric McLoughlin

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 21:56

A truly sad day.

#19 LittleChris

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 22:49

The book he & Tony Dron put together finally made the connecton between me & my dad. RIP RB

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#20 Gary Davies

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Posted 16 September 2006 - 02:13

Surely the word mellifluous was created to describe Raymond Baxter's voice. His calm, measured and dignified delivery is a central part of my earliest memories of broadcast motor racing and is most fondly recalled.

God bless you, sir, and thank you.

#21 Lec CRP1

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Posted 16 September 2006 - 05:40

Posted Image

"String. The product which in a few amazing weeks has not only revolutionised, but rejuvenated British industry. It has a thousand uses. As a substitute for conventional electric wiring, it's safer and it's cheaper because...it doesn't work."

RIP R.Baxter 1922-2006

#22 Sharman

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Posted 16 September 2006 - 07:16

Might I add his delivery was a joy to hear. Nothing to do with accents but always correct usage. No slovenly speech but every syllable distinguishable. And he had experienced that which he commented upon. Thank you RB.

#23 f1steveuk

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Posted 16 September 2006 - 09:03

I was just returning to the UK to see Ray, when Gary C texted me with the news, I'm very sad, Ray was a true gentleman, and very very very switched on. His love of technology pushed Tomorrows World forward, and his knowledge often left me dumbfounded, he knew about EVERYTHING. That he turned down Top Gear (in the Willy Woolard days) often made me wonder what might have been. He was no mean driver (or pilot for that matter) having beaten one S Moss on a kart once!

My fondest memory, turning up at Bealieu to film an item on the land speed record, Ray was already there. We set up for a walk through, and I looked in my bag for the script. Meanwhile the cameraman and sound guy filmed the "rehearsal". Ray was word perfect, his positioning faultless, and he knew the ins and outs of every car he talked about. I binned the script, the filming was finished and the editor just dropped the whole piece in without touching it. One take and it was done, no rehearsal, no coaching, no direction, just perfect!!! Raymond Baxter 150% professional, I'll miss him.

#24 Bernard

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Posted 16 September 2006 - 12:03

Sad news indeed both Raymonds wonderful voice no more and I read Goonhilly is closing make it truly the end (very sadly)of an era. His autobiography that I saw mentioned on the these pages is a wonderful read and also describes the demise of the BBC as a cultural organisation

#25 moody

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Posted 16 September 2006 - 14:04

...whenever I hear Raymonds voice, waves of memories flood in of my childhood, those years when my love for motor racing was being burned into me, Raymond Baxter was a very important and essential part of the racing.

...1962 was the beginning of it all, and the video 'Rouen Round' with Raymonds commentary is a treasured part of my life.

...on channel 442 ESPN Classic on Saturday nights at 10pm, we can now remember Raymonds wonderful style and abilities, as they show TV highlights of the British Grand Prix from the 70s, they do have 1980 tonight along with 1977, but there are others coming up such as 1973 where Raymond is commentating.
..."really in the agricultural business"....

Au Revoir Raymond and thankyou so much ;)

#26 jph

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Posted 16 September 2006 - 17:19

The Saturday of this year's Goodwood Revival must have been Raymond Baxter's last public appearance. He was, as ever, word perfect. Those of us who were there should feel especially privileged.

#27 petefenelon

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Posted 16 September 2006 - 23:15

RIP Raymond. One of the great broadcasting voices and a man clearly in love with sport, speed, aviation, technology and innovation to the end of his days. He was probably one of the reasons I ended up in technology as Tomorrow's World was mandatory viewing as a kid - it never felt the same after he left.

A friend of mine posted a memory of Raymond on a Usenet newsgroup today - Paul was building a Marlin kit-car and saw some wheels and tyres advertised in one of the mags. He went to pick them up and the seller turned out to be Raymond Baxter who had various interesting cars in his garage - a twin-engined Mini Moke and one that he'd built his own supercharger for out of an Avro Anson cockpit pressurising unit.... and Raymond was very friendly and enthusiastic and willing to talk cars and aviation (Paul had been an FAA pilot) for a good while...

#28 Gary C

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Posted 16 September 2006 - 23:47

'I think the situation deteriorated after advertising on the cars was allowed in 1968? Can't remember the last time a race was shown live on the BBC.Maybe the last GP before ITV won the contract?'
erm....yes, that would be right. 1996.

#29 fw07c

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Posted 17 September 2006 - 11:01

Raymond Baxter was the best motor racing commentator in the world. Murray Walker and James Allan are not in the same league as Raymond. With Raymond you could hear evey word with no hysterics. It was a measured and calm delivery which was also accurate and very informative.

R.I.P. Raymond you will be sadly missed by us

#30 Arturo Pereira

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Posted 17 September 2006 - 12:49

RIP RB :(

#31 MCS

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Posted 17 September 2006 - 19:22

Just seen this. How very sad, another hero gone.

I was fortunate enough to meet him just the once; somewhat strangely, on a ferry boat in Southampton, where he was presenting (I think) to a boat load of pharmaceutical, er, people.

I am not in any way (and never was) connected with that industry and was there for other reasons, but went upto him and introduced myself - somewhat alarming, looking back. I can only assume I was even more stupid then than I am now, but it was well worthwhile.

Needless to say he was charming - God alone what he must have thought of me - and I really wish I could have seen and heard more of his magnificent commentaries. As others have already observed here, his innate understanding of racing and aviation gave him such wonderful authority in his perfectlly timed delivery - a far, far cry from the utter crap we are subjected to today.

#32 Mal9444

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Posted 17 September 2006 - 22:11

Originally posted by MCS
a far, far cry from the utter crap we are subjected to today.



:up:

absolutely true - but how can one do anything about getting it changed?

#33 ian senior

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 08:10

Very sad news indeed. There won't ever be another Raymond Baxter, but I live in hope that some day we might possibly see another commentator with similar erudition, diction and gravitas. It's a forlorn hope, because the "arse on fire" school of broadcasting is now all-pervading.

Perhaps the one thing Raymond failed at, and it wasn't really his fault, was when BMC, in their dying days, hired him to officiate at the launch of their new car. Raymond did his usual professional job in the build up, and by the time he had finished his presentation, all the attendant journos were waiting with baited breath. Then the car was revealed - it was the Austin 3-litre. Silence all round. Even Raymond Baxter couldn't make that car seem good.

#34 RTH

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 09:57

Originally posted by ian senior
Very sad news indeed. There won't ever be another Raymond Baxter, but I live in hope that some day we might possibly see another commentator with similar erudition, diction and gravitas. I

Perhaps the one thing Raymond failed at, and it wasn't really his fault, was when BMC, in their dying days, hired him to officiate at the launch of their new car. Raymond did his usual professional job in the build up, and by the time he had finished his presentation, all the attendant journos were waiting with baited breath. Then the car was revealed - it was the Austin 3-litre. Silence all round. Even Raymond Baxter couldn't make that car seem good.


I do so agree with that.

I worked at a London BL distributor at the time the Austin 3 litre and like a lot of BL models looked back on they all tend to be heavily criticised without the good points being mentioned.

True compared to say a Jaguar it was not visually graceful, it was unacceptably unreliable , - self leveling hydraulic leaks, power steering leaks, overheating and consequential head gasket failure auto gearbox failure. If the engine had been tuned to produce a further 50 BHP that would also have helped the MGC as well as the 3 litre.

However when it was all working it had a good compliant ride, huge space in inside , very stiff bodyshell, you sat up high, lots of torque, a nice drive in comparison with the competition at the time, not special or distinctive enough to look at. A pity really with more design work, R&D and testing it could easily have been well regarded.

I really do hope someone with Raymonds style and delivery emerges, its not impossible and fashions can change quite quickly.

I wish we might have heard more from him on the subject of motor racing in the last 25 years.

Someone, maybe its Murray ought to do the definitive history of the motor car in say a 13 part , - 1 hr TV series, perhaps bring in two others we discussed Jonathan Meades and Brian Sewell.

Rather like Kenneth Clark's Civilisation series.

Nearly the whole population is in some way devoted to their own personal transport ,this could have a huge audience, with 100 years of film history and people involved to look back on.

Slightly better than some of the tripe served up on TV today I would suggest.

#35 Maldwyn

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 11:51

Originally posted by jph
The Saturday of this year's Goodwood Revival must have been Raymond Baxter's last public appearance. He was, as ever, word perfect. Those of us who were there should feel especially privileged.

Indeed.

RIP Raymond Baxter :(

#36 Huw Jadvantich

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 12:10

Whenever Raymond Baxter presented one felt very proud to be British. His very educated, steady and rounded tones with occaisional eccentricities represented all the good things about a very British stereo type.
I met him once or twice at Prescott Hill when he and his son entered a twin engined Mini Moke, and being a Mini Moke owner myself (mine was a Dinky, and came with a parachute and platform), I decided we must have a lot in common, what with him being in our lounge every Thursday night, and occaisional weekends too. I discussed his car at length, and his tone was just as measured and patient as it always seemed to be when he was on telly.
Marvellous fellow, who helped implant motorsport and technology into a young brain. he was pretty quick in that Moke too.
Oh and by the way, won't have a bad word said about the Austin 3 litre. Tch!!
I wonder if 10 year olds today will be thinking in their middle age, Gosh that James Allen, he was so British....I do so hope not.

#37 Gary Davies

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 12:31

Originally posted by fw07c
Raymond Baxter was the best motor racing commentator in the world. Murray Walker and James Allan are not in the same league as Raymond. With Raymond you could hear evey word with no hysterics. It was a measured and calm delivery which was also accurate and very informative.
R.I.P. Raymond you will be sadly missed by us

I agree with your every word but may I extract this: "...you could hear every word with no hysterics. It was a measured and calm delivery...". I agree with that, too, but if you look at contemporary F1 fora (?!) you'll find that the acne set therein represented accuse James Allen of displaying unsufficient passion. Whatever would these young shavers have made of Roland Thaxter I ask???

#38 Garagiste

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 12:34

So.
Farewell then, Raymond Baxter.
"Being flown well within the capabilities of the aircraft"
That was your catchphrase.
Do the same with you new wings sir.

RIP.

#39 Gary Davies

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 12:43

Elsewhere, Mike Lawrence has written a characteristically appropriate and sensitive piece about Raymond. Within it, there is a lovely quote: "After two and a half years of flying Spitfires, I had the greatest respect for Americans. They were the only people who managed to shoot me down."

Gorgeous!

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#40 flat-16

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 12:44

Originally posted by Mal9444



:up:

absolutely true - but how can one do anything about getting it changed?


Easy. Put the name "Jeremy Clarkson" into the relevant field on this website

Job done!

BTW, OTOH, Sewell is about the only person I can think of in the mainstream media that knows anything about motors. I suppose ADC knows his stuff as well. I can't say there are too many candidates...

Justin

#41 petefenelon

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 16:09

Originally posted by Huw Jadvantich

I wonder if 10 year olds today will be thinking in their middle age, Gosh that James Allen, he was so British....I do so hope not.


James Allen is a symbol of the kind of Britain I'd rather not live in -- but then again so are a lot of "meeja" people.

Raymond Baxter provided commentary on a sport peopled by sportsmen for an audience that appreciated sporting values.

James Allen whoops illiterately over panem et circenses sports-entertainment for a crowd that'd largely be better off watching WWE wrestling.

#42 petefenelon

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 16:12

Originally posted by flat-16

BTW, OTOH, Sewell is about the only person I can think of in the mainstream media that knows anything about motors. I suppose ADC knows his stuff as well. I can't say there are too many candidates...

Justin


Dan Cruickshank shows some evidence of knowing a bit about cars - cf the episode of "Around the World in 80 Treasures" where he called the VW Beetle one of the treasures and talked very knowledgeably about it...

#43 Alan Cox

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 17:22

Just returned from a week in France to learn this sad news. I would echo all of the foregoing. Happily, we can still enjoy his commentary on numerous films made by the likes of Castrol, Rootes, BMC etc. of the 'fifties and 'sixties courtesy of MFQ and others.

#44 bradbury west

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 22:10

I have been away for a couple of days and am just catching up with TNF, although I saw the RB obit in the Telegraph, below, qv

http://www.telegraph...9/16/db1601.xml

Being of the generation which grew up with his broadcasting, I can only endorse all the comments on this thread. Apart from other memories, making those wintertime Army vs London MC rough terrain competitions sound thrilling, Haflingers and Champs, not forgetting the famous Bug, vs conventional cars and not least his very moving and erudite commentaries every time he was at Goodwood, I always remember the photograph in Autosport or Autocar in 1961 or 62 of him on the RAC Rally ear'oling a Humber Super Snipe round a Special Stage with the car on lots of understeering lock and full body lean. Top man. IIRC he set some of the fastest times in the team when he was entered in the 3 litre Rovers, pulling into the service are a for "an oil check and tyre pressures"

Quality, style and eloquence such as he possessed will be a long time being matched let alone replaced.

RIP

Roger Lund.

#45 Alan Cox

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 09:02

This fabulous Michael Turner painting records a roof-top attack by Raymond Baxter's squadron on the V1/V2 headquarters in The Hague in March 1945. Baxter is piloting the lead Spitfire.

http://www.studio88....es/SSD-80-l.JPG

#46 philhitchings

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 10:33

A friend of mine has been recording the 70's GP's that have been shown over the last few weekends on Satelite TV. his voice was always one of calm authoratative jubilation to my ears. Hearing his commentary once more is a real pleasure.

Sorry to see you go :( my thoughts are with his family and friends

#47 Vitesse2

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Posted 20 September 2006 - 19:01

Intriguing snippet in a letter to today's Independent, following up on their obituary of him. Apparently Raymond ran a Mini with a Healey 3000 engine fitted? Sounds a liitle unlikely to me .... could you really shoehorn a BMC 3-litre into a Mini's engine bay?

#48 bradbury west

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Posted 20 September 2006 - 20:25

Don't forget that the legendary Harry Ratcliffe , BVRT, British Vita etc from Littleborough, fitted a Buick 3.5litre in the back of a Cooper S driving through the front wheels @12". Not much good on the circuit apparently, and the man who drove it on the road round Lancaster told me it was hilarious on the road. Mid 60s I think. Any photos anyone? I have a shot of his Minor 1000 , glassfibre wings etc when Andy Barton had it the following year.

Roger Lund

#49 Sharman

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Posted 20 September 2006 - 21:08

Complete with the three anti-roll bars for keeping the back wheel down Roger?
John

#50 Vitesse2

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Posted 20 September 2006 - 22:48

There was no indication in the letter that Baxter's car looked anything other than bog standard .... certainly not with a rear engine or with any alteration to the driving position.