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C.W.P. 'Peter' Hampton: racing driver and collector


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#1 fuzzi

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 10:49

In the damp distant 1960s Dalton and Watson published book on motor car collections (Private Motor Collections by Peter Hugo, published by Dalton & Watson - still available secondhand). Some of the collectors wished to remain anonymous, but a number were happy to be identified. One of the most jaw dropping collections was put together by Peter Hampton of Bolney in Sussex. The collection included a number of Bugattis, Rolls-Royces and Mercedes Benz of all ages plus at least one Hispano Suiza.

As I learned a little more about old cars I found out that Peter Hampton had raced before the war in VSCC and other club events in his Bugattis, but had not raced since the war. I then found out that he had lost his left arm. As a true enthusiast this did not stop him driving and as many pre-war cars had the gear lever and hand brake on the right he would have had no trouble, but I always wondered how he managed in a rhd car with a central gear lever. In the new Ferrari GTO book by Anthony Pritchard there are two photos of his 250MM Coupe, one of the cockpit in page 17 with a view of a right-hand lever and linkage to the centre lever on the gearbox.

Does anyone know how he lost his arm, or did he race pre-war with only his right arm?

Edited by fuzzi, 18 December 2010 - 10:52.


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#2 MCS

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 11:08

There is a very interesting article here which states wartime injury, but no other information is provided as to what actually happened:

http://www.bonhams.c...SaleSectionNo=2


#3 Tim Murray

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 14:15

Very conveniently for this topic, there's a mention of Hampton in the five sample pages from Gentleman Jack, Graham Gauld's biography of Jack Sears, here on the Veloce website:

Another close neighbour was Peter Hampton who was a great collector of cars, particularly Bugattis, and a number of fine Bugattis passed through his hands. When war began, Hampton was enlisted in the Tank Corps and asked Stanley Sears to keep an eye on his cars and ensure the engines were turned over from time to time and kept dry.

Peter Hampton was badly wounded in the Allied landings on the Normandy beaches and lost the use of his left arm. He had always hoped an operation would restore some life to his arm but this never happened. As a result Hampton had the centre gear change on all his Bugattis transferred to the right-hand side. Jack Sears remembers an occasion when: “... he took me out in his supercharged Type 57 Bugatti soon after the war when I was about 18. I was absolutely amazed how competent he was as a driver with his one arm on the steering wheel and his other arm resting across his lap. As he couldn’t move his left arm by itself it was quite remarkable how well he drove.”



#4 fuzzi

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 14:43

Thank you Tim.

Another book I may have to buy, but I'll wait until the weather improves - I have two books out there somewhere... :(

#5 Vitesse2

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 15:04

According to the London Gazette of June 22nd 1945 he was a War Substantive Lieutenant in the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards, Royal Armoured Corps and was granted the honorary rank of Lieutenant upon relinquishing that commission "on account of disability".

The 4th/7th RDG were part of 8th Armoured Brigade and landed as part of the first wave on Gold Beach on D-Day, using DD (ie "swimming") tanks in support of 69th and 151st Infantry Brigades with their primary targets being Bayeux, the Caen-Bayeux road and Arromanches. Five of 4/7 RDG's tanks were lost before reaching the shore, even though they were launched only 200 yards out rather than the planned 2 miles due to rough seas.

#6 Marticelli

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 15:29

Another book to buy would be the Bugatti Book co-authored by Peter Hampton and Barry Eaglesfiled (who still lives in SE London I believe), which was published in 1954 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Bugatti Owners Club.

Amongst many interesting topics, it lists surviving Bugattis by type. Under the heading of Type (no type number) it gives details of the one surviving 5 litre chain drive car, then owned by Peter Hampton. He also mentions that he has a spare engine, chassis and chassis parts. This set of spares was subsequently used by Nigel Arnold Forster to 'recreate' the Roland Garros car, although as written up in The Bugatti Book, Black Bess (the then only known surviving 5 litre chain drive car) was also formerly the property of Roland Garros... Another case of 'automotive stem-cell activity', to quote a memorable phrase from another topic on TNF!!

Marticelli

#7 WinSpeed

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 10:38

I had huge fun writing my book - Private Motor car Collections of Geat Britain - in 1972, when I was 23 years old, visiting my various subjects, immersing myself in their private collections and recording them for posterity.
Peter Hampton - as were they all - was a delightful gentleman living in a mouthwateringly lovely 16th Century house called Spronketts near Bolney, where was housed his eclectic assortment of some 20 cars. Every car was immaculate and his particular penchant was Bugatti and Hispano-Suiza. He was, indeed, severely injured by shrapnell during the Normandy landings, losing the use of his left arm entirely (his hand was always gloved) and bearing mild scarring on his face also. He was a very fast driver and certainly more than one of his (RHD) cars had elaborate gear lever conversions to allow right-handed gear changes.
Little did I know in 1972 that this book would serve me well in my career as a Purveyor of Classic Jaguars to people not dissimilar to those Collectors and that it was to become collectable in itself.


#8 fuzzi

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 12:18

Welcome to the Forum Mr Hugo. :wave:

I dare say you will be getting some questions before long.

#9 arttidesco

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 21:15

02_IMG_7031sc.jpg
 

Wondering if anyone can confirm when Peter Hampton stopped competing, Fuzzi in the opening post of this thread suggests this was after receiving his injury on D Day while the second post ascribed to Hunter on this Bugatti Builder thread suggests  August 1952 (VSCC Prescott ?) was the last time Peter took part in active competition, also does anyone know when Peter died, the last tax disc for the #366 Type 15 he owned above, now belonging to HM Govt in lieu of inheritance tax, expired in 1985 according to the DVLC website ?

 

Relevant answers may be credited and used in a forthcoming website.

 

Thanking you in anticipation of your responses.



#10 Doug Nye

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 00:08

From a Bugatti Forum:

 

"HAMPTON, C.W.P. (Peter). 

The UK head of an international firm of land agents. He lived at the Old Barn House, Effingham Common, Surrey in the thirties and was subsequently a long term resident of Bolney, Sussex and the owner of a selection of desirable Bugatti models including a type 13 (670 with engine 322 and reg. no. NJ 13), a type 15 (366 with engine 16) which had belonged to Ettore’s wife Barbara before being sold to Col. Dawson in the UK, and numerous others. It is reported that he owned 25 Bugattis. He competed at Prescott in five of his cars between May, 1939 and August 1952 with best times as follows : type 13 (62.25), type 15 (80.70), type 18 (63.07), type 30 (74.28) and type 57SC (58.36). The latter was chassis no. 57602 which was fitted with a two seater coupé body built by Corsica, London to a Vanden Plas design. He also owned a 1934 type 57 tourer (57235) fitted with a 4 seater body by Corsica. The car had engine no. 137, and UK reg. no. DLD 471. Hampton sold it to M.H.H.Scott, who, in the early fifties, advertised it for sale for £650. It is now painted blue and owned by W.J.Cooke. The fastest car in his collection was the type 54 (54201 fitted with an engine ex-50133) which he kept until the time of his death. He also owned other makes of cars including a 1921 Delage DE which he advertised for sale in May, 1950. He was a contributor to “Bugantics” and to Hugh Conway’s definitive book “Bugatti – Le pur-sang des automobiles” and was acknowledged by him in the Foreword to the original edition published in 1963, the year the Bugatti firm was sold. One of his last appearances was at the wheel of his early type 13 (UK reg. no. NJ 13). Other cars owned include a Bébé Peugeot (see B.12/4/3, B.14/6/38 & B.17/1/10), a type 44 with the chassis no. 44533 and UK reg. no. UW 4171 circa 1942 and a type 40 (40483) fitted with a type 55 FHC body."

 

We sold his Collection in 1990 if I remember rightly, in Monaco.  A great man.

 

DCN


Edited by Doug Nye, 06 February 2014 - 00:09.


#11 arttidesco

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 02:36

Thanks Sir Doug  :up:  

 

I still do not know when he passed away ?



#12 Tim Murray

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 06:33

ReWind, our expert on these matters, has a date of birth for Hampton of 18th May 1913, but (in 2011) didn't have a death date for him:

 

http://forums.autosport.com/topic/140653-lives-on-and-beside-of-four-wheels/?view=findpost&p=4774349

 

This Bonhams blurb for the sale of 'Black Bess' in 2009 says that Hampton sold the car in 1988:

 

https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/17043/lot/114/

 

Doug says that his collection was sold in 1990, so presumably he died sometime in the 1988-90 period.

 

There is info on him at Ancestry.com, showing that he was born in 1913 and died in West Sussex:

 

http://wiz2.ancestry...#/SearchResults

 

but I'm not signed up with them and so can't view the rest of their data; perhaps one of our members who is signed up with Ancestry could do the honours?



#13 bradbury west

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 08:04

Tim, there is a Clarence William Peter Hampton death regd Feb 1991 , Hayward's Heath, regd as born April 1913.
Roger Lund

#14 john winfield

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 08:15

Tim, there is a Clarence William Peter Hampton death regd Feb 1991 , Hayward's Heath, regd as born April 1913.
Roger Lund

 

Yes, as Roger writes, Clarence WPH appears to be the gentleman in question:

http://www.genesreun...n=great britain



#15 Vitesse2

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 09:47

Can't find an exact date of death, but can add that he was born in Orpington: info from his Royal Aero Club aviator's certificate, which records that he passed at Brooklands Flying Club on December 2nd 1936, on a Gipsy Moth.



#16 Carl R.S.

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 18:05

Motor Sport magazine March 1991, Page 258 includes an obituary for Peter Hampton stating his date of death was 11th February



#17 hipperson

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 18:27

Amazingly I have this book..says first published 1973

 

My first ever car 'picture book' ( my wife's description of my normal reading matter)



#18 Trevail

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Posted 25 November 2014 - 17:51

I am trying to research the cars driven by the 9th Duke of Grafton who was killed driving a Bugatti in the 1936 Limerick GP. In 1934 he drove a Mercedes-Benz 36-220 (registered GN 1950) in the Inter-varsity Acceleration Tests on Eynesham By-Pass. I think I am correct in saying that much later this was one of the cars in Peter Hamton's collection, could anyone tell me who is the current custodian.

 

 

 

Leigh Trevail.



#19 Jagjon

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Posted 25 November 2014 - 19:12

I have no knowledge of the Mercedes current location (chassis no?) but I seem to recall the registration appearing on his Lamborghini 400GT.



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#20 Trevail

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Posted 25 November 2014 - 21:01

Unfortunately I do not know the chassis number. I expect it would be included in the auction catalogue, would anyone have a copy?



#21 Peter Morley

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Posted 26 November 2014 - 00:06

I had huge fun writing my book - Private Motor car Collections of Geat Britain - in 1972, when I was 23 years old, visiting my various subjects, immersing myself in their private collections and recording them for posterity.
Peter Hampton - as were they all - was a delightful gentleman living in a mouthwateringly lovely 16th Century house called Spronketts near Bolney, where was housed his eclectic assortment of some 20 cars. Every car was immaculate and his particular penchant was Bugatti and Hispano-Suiza. He was, indeed, severely injured by shrapnell during the Normandy landings, losing the use of his left arm entirely (his hand was always gloved) and bearing mild scarring on his face also. He was a very fast driver and certainly more than one of his (RHD) cars had elaborate gear lever conversions to allow right-handed gear changes.
Little did I know in 1972 that this book would serve me well in my career as a Purveyor of Classic Jaguars to people not dissimilar to those Collectors and that it was to become collectable in itself.


That's one of my all time favourite books.
Occasionally I wonder if an up-to-date version would be possible, or interesting, but I suspect the owners would all want a bright shiny all colour glossy publication that matches the finish of their cars, workshops etc. which is all rather different these days.