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Stan Collier master mechanic - RIP at 97


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#1 Doug Nye

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Posted 19 June 2024 - 16:44

Just received from the BRDC:

 

With great sadness we have to advise that Associate Member Stan Collier died last Sunday 16th June at the age of 97. We understand from his son Richard that Stan had remained very independent and living in his own home. However, he recently contracted a chest infection which led to his passing. 

 

Stan was one of the generations of racing mechanics who had to fend for themselves as they trundled around Europe in trucks of varying reliability on roads which were a far cry from the autoroutes of the 21st century. 

 

Stan was working for Donald Healey in London in the mid ‘50s when he met Ken Gregory, Stirling Moss’s manager, who was also head of public relations for Austin-Healey sports cars. In conjunction with Stirling’s father Alfred Moss, Ken was setting up a race team to be known as the British Racing Partnership with Tony Robinson as chief mechanic.

 

Although initially reluctant, Stan responded positively to a second approach from Ken which involved Stan in running BRP’s Formula 2 Cooper-Climaxes with Borgward engines while the main focus of the team became Formula 1 with a BRM P25.

It was a gruelling start for the F2 team with Ivor Bueb dying from injuries sustained at Clemont-Ferrand in August 1959 and both Harry Schell and Chris Bristow being fatally injured in the now Yeoman Credit-backed F1 Cooper T51s at Silverstone and Spa Francorchamps respectively in the first half of 1960. Tony Brooks, Olivier Gendebien and Henry Taylor were the regular team drivers.

 

With the advent of the 1500 cc Formula 1 for 1961 BRP switched from Cooper to Lotus chassis with the team’s backers becoming another finance company UDT Laystall as Yeoman Credit moved on to Reg Parnell’s team.

 

And so Stan became one of the main F1 team mechanics, working with Tony Robinson.

 

With the plethora of non-championship F1 races around the UK and Europe in addition to the World Championship events, and the need to maximise income from start and prize money, Stan was unceasingly busy both preparing the cars and transporting them from race to race but he enjoyed the travelling and experiencing the countries of Western Europe. On the downside, Stan and Tony Robinson took on the responsibility of extricating the grievously injured Stirling Moss from the mangled remains of his Lotus Type 18/21 on that fateful day at Goodwood which ended his front-line career on Easter Monday 1962.

 

Although BRP/UDT Laystall never won a World Championship race, the team enjoyed some success in the non-championship races, most notably thanks to Innes Ireland who had been dropped by Team Lotus after winning the US Grand Prix at the end of 1961 and had scores to settle during his three years with BRP. Initially BRP used Lotus chassis with both Coventry-Climax and BRM V8 engines before Tony Robinson created his own monocoque design, following the trend set by Lotus with the Type 25.

 

For 1963 Stan stayed with BRP until it closed its doors at the end of the 1964 season. He had some involvement with the BRP Indycar, a project conceived by another of the BRP Formula 1 drivers, Masten Gregory, and financed by Masten’s stepfather.

 

Following the demise of BRP, Stan moved to Reg Parnell Racing, now operated by Tim Parnell following Reg’s death before moving to Rob Walker’s team which had acquired a Lotus Type 49 for Jo Siffert to drive in 1968. Highlight of that season was ‘Seppi’ Siffert’s victory in the British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch.

 

Stan stayed with Rob Walker through to 1970 with Graham Hill as the team’s principal driver before moving out of Formula 1 to work on the Formula 5000 Leda LT25 raced by Trevor Taylor. This was followed by a period which involved the manufacture of Formula Supervees which came unstuck as a consequence of the 1973 oil crisis.

 

He returned to Formula 1 with the Brabham team in the latter part of the 1970s where the drivers  – Niki Lauda, John Watson, Nelson Piquet and Hans-Joachim Stuck-  were among the very best. 

 

Ron Tauranac, who had sold his interest in Brabham to Bernie Ecclestone, was encouraged by some of his former Brabham F2 and F3 customers to begin again and so Ralt was born with Stan, who had been working for Neil Trundle Racing (from which emerged Rondel Racing in partnership with Ron Dennis) as foreman in charge of race car assembly and set up and as supervisor of race team sub-assembly.

 

Stan Collier, who was elected as an Associate Member in 1988, was one of those individuals, before the days of computer technology, who kept the wheels of international motor racing turning whether on track or on the long drives between tracks, week in week out and without whom our sport could not have evolved in the way that it has.

 

To his son Richard, daughter Elizabeth, and their families, the BRDC offers its deepest condolences. Stan’s wife predeceased him. 

 

Stalwart is an over-used term - Stan was genuinely a true stalwart, and an immensely well regarded and experienced one.  Sincerest condolences to his family and many friends.

 

DCN

 

 



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#2 10kDA

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Posted 21 June 2024 - 22:35

RIP Stan Collier - I greatly enjoyed Rob Walker's accounts of GPs as team owner as well as reporter which appeared in Road & Track. I don't remember if he mentioned Stan by name in any of his race reports, but it's good to find out, years after the fact, about Stan as a key figure in Rob's team during the period 1968-1970.



#3 ReWind

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Posted 22 June 2024 - 11:50

From Mark Bisset's Primotipo site:

image25.jpg

Jackie Stewart’s BRM P261 is pushed onto the Longford grid by Jimmy Collins and Stan Collier on 5 March 1966



#4 ReWind

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Posted 22 June 2024 - 12:06

From there:
brp-indy-car-leaving-highgate.jpg?v=1585
The first of the BRP Indy cars is ready to leave Highgate. Masten Gregory sits in the cockpit while behind him are the men responsible for building the car (left to right): Bruce Macintosh, Jim Chapman, George Woodward, Tony Robinson, Peter Downie and Stan Collier. (Courtesy Tony Robinson)



#5 Fred.R

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Posted 23 June 2024 - 06:01

I was fortunate to have Stan as a Forman at Ralt , an unflappable character and a true gentleman, RIP Stan



#6 ReWind

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Posted 23 June 2024 - 17:22

I wonder why Stan Collier's role in the Owen-B.R.M. team during the 1966 Tasman series is omitted from his CV.

(Also in the portrait in Michael Oliver's "Tales from the Toolbox".)