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#1 Roger Clark

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Posted 20 April 2002 - 08:19

The anniversaries are coming thick and fast at the moment. Today is Phil Hill's 75th birthday.

Most would see him as the leading American driver in European racing in the late 50s and early 60s. His time in Grand Prix racing perhaps came a little too late; I feel he would have been more at home in the front-engined cars of a generation earlier. Nevertheless, his world championship was well deserved, and his driving with the uncompetitive 1962 Ferrari has seldom received its due recognition. His Grand Prix career ended sadly with the ATS and the Cooper, but I never heard of him complaining, and I don't think that would be true of many drivers.

In sport cars he was definitely in the top drawer. Anybody who could drive the Chaparral 2F in the Targa Florio deserves respect. Denis Jenkinson's story of Hill sitting in the car and frightening the Scilians by occassionally moving the rear wing never fails to raise a smile.

In recent years he has given at least as much back to the sport as he took from it.

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#2 dmj

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Posted 20 April 2002 - 08:41

What to say? Phil is definitely my favorite Hill - not an easy task to achieve, you'll probably agree.;) So, happy birthday, Phil!

#3 2F-001

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Posted 20 April 2002 - 08:42

I believe Mr Hill said that the 2F was the nicest car he ever drove... ;o)

#4 Richard Jenkins

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Posted 20 April 2002 - 10:00

Having lost so many drivers of his era recently, we must appreciate those who survive more. So, a very happy birthday to someone I've long admired, both professionally & personally. Happy 75th Birthday Phil :clap:

#5 bobbo

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Posted 20 April 2002 - 10:52

Happy Birthday, Champ!!!

Bobbo

#6 Vitesse2

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Posted 20 April 2002 - 12:09

I had the pleasure of meeting Phil Hill at Goodwood last year - a true gentleman, who had endless patience with the hordes who descended upon him.

Happy birthday Phil!

#7 ray b

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Posted 20 April 2002 - 20:55

A real class act
happpy birth day

#8 Gary C

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Posted 20 April 2002 - 21:14

'In recent years he has given at least as much back to the sport as he took from it.'
Nice to hear, which is better than SOME ex-World Champions I could name!

Many happy returns Mr.H!

#9 Slyder

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Posted 21 April 2002 - 04:11

I wonder why is it that almost nobody hasn't heard of Phil Hill?

I mean, he was America's first WDC, and from what I've read he's a damn good driver. His biographies stop at 1961 and don't go any further.

Can somebody post a good biography of Hill which includes the F1 years after '61?

Also some good stories of him would be good

#10 Slyder

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Posted 21 April 2002 - 04:12

Oh forgot

Happy Birthday Phil :)

:up: :up: :up:

#11 dbw

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Posted 21 April 2002 - 06:14

in 1975 i had the honor of racing with mr hill at monterey...[they called it a race but phil was driving the 1938 alfa 8c2900b that finished second in the '38 mille miglia. owned by brooks stevens and driven by hill we really didn't have much of a chance...he just ran away.....i've been on the track many times with phil, the most recent he was driving a t54 bug as fast as it would go...he passed me in my t-37 in turn 4 and casually waved, as i was hanging on for dear life....i can't believe he's 75!! the thing that disturbs me the most is it means that i'm that much older as well!!!

best wishes and many many more...

#12 prettyface

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Posted 21 April 2002 - 10:58

Phil Hill ocasionaly writes excellent features in Road & Track. His retrospective on the Chaparral was fabulous, as well as that on partner Oliver Gendebien and also his favourite Ferraris.

A very Happy Birthday!

#13 Joe Fan

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Posted 21 April 2002 - 15:23

:up: :up: Happy Birthday Mr. Hill!

#14 Carlos Jalife

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Posted 21 April 2002 - 15:55

I join the pack in wishing him a happy birthday :up: :up: and yes, we need something a bit more detailed about him after the 1961 season, Yankee Champion doesn't do him justice at all in that period.

#15 Kerb Bouncer

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Posted 21 April 2002 - 16:21

Happy Birthday, Phil Hill :clap: :clap:

To me, he is one of the most respresentative American drivers of his generation. Dan Gurney, Masten Gregory, Carroll Shelby, Cunningham, and others gave some of us a reason to follow sports car and F1. His R&T articles are always interesting. He recounted in one article that he had been driving around Europe in an older Peugot while driving F1 for Mr. Ferrari. How times have changed ! :D

Again, happy birthday to one of racing's finest gentlemen !

#16 2F-001

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Posted 21 April 2002 - 19:58

Originally posted by prettyface
Phil Hill ocasionaly writes excellent features in Road & Track. His retrospective on the Chaparral was fabulous...


I missed this... could you please tell me which issue of R&T I need to track down?
T.I.A.

#17 rdrcr

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Posted 22 April 2002 - 18:41

A Belated Happy Birthday Mr. Hill! :up:

#18 prettyface

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Posted 23 April 2002 - 00:49

Originally posted by 2F-001


I missed this... could you please tell me which issue of R&T I need to track down?
T.I.A.


2F-001: It's the December 1997 issue, with the McLaren F1 and Mazda Miata on the cover. Pages 126-132. Happy hunting!

Other P. Hill features I just dug up: 1953 Ferrari 375MM Carrera Panamericana (October 1997)
The ten best Ferraris of all time (january 1997) and a nice, if a bit preposterous, comparison between The 250 GTO and the 550 Maranello, written by Peter Egan (June 1997).

I'm sitting down to re-read it all again!

#19 David M. Kane

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Posted 23 April 2002 - 19:09

I have a picture of my wife with Phil Hill at Laguna Seca last summer. Meeting him was a fantastic experience. As someone said in their response to survive at that level in that era was in fact an amazing accomplishment.

I think what is so amazing about him is his intelligence. To be that smart
and to be that brave is a rare combination. He has, in my opinion, a raw animal ability to survive even at 75.

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#20 Ray Bell

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Posted 24 April 2002 - 11:01

Originally posted by Slyder
I wonder why is it that almost nobody hasn't heard of Phil Hill?

I mean, he was America's first WDC, and from what I've read he's a damn good driver. His biographies stop at 1961 and don't go any further.

Can somebody post a good biography of Hill which includes the F1 years after '61?

Also some good stories of him would be good


Phil says that his best ever race was the 1965 Australian Grand Prix. I have to say that from my viewpoint on the hill above the Long Bridge, it sure looked good to me too... he set an outright lap record on a couple of occasions that day, mixing it with Brabham, Clark and the other Hill in his defence of his team leader, McLaren.

I'm on the track of the material I need to properly document that race, and it's clear to me that his starring role will be the centrepiece of that story. When told, you will appreciate just what a special and memorable race it really was.....

#21 Barry Boor

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Posted 25 April 2002 - 19:19

Paul Medici has asked me to post this image up on my Images site, which I will do, but given the title of this thread, I thought I would post it here too.

It was captured from a 16 mm movie film taken at Sebring in 1963.

Posted Image

Thanks for sending it, Paul.

#22 Paul Medici

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Posted 25 April 2002 - 20:37

Thank you BARRY, ...and Happy Birthday to Phil Hill!

I was thinking of asking you to do just that, in honor of Phil's birthday, but I never imagined.....
...... some minds work in similar ways I guess.

Have met Mr. Hill on several occasions and will confirm that what has been said about him in this thread is correct; a racer and a gentleman.

What I regret is that I never watched him race in a Ferrari.

The only time I did see him race was at Sebring in 1963, ...and as the photo shows, he is straight-arming a Shelby Cobra out of the Webster.

PJM

PS. I did get to watch him do a few hot laps in a 312 F1 at Watkins Glen in 1996 :clap:

#23 Doug Nye

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Posted 25 April 2002 - 20:56

I must add something on Phil who is one of life's true gentlemen - he's absolutely the greatest motoring enthusiast I have ever had the pleasure to meet - he's still an awesomely capable driver -he's a multi-talented engineer and mechanic - he's one of the world's all-time greatest authorities on Buick from dinosaur to the last dreg of interest - he lives in the same Santa Monica house to which his family brought him from Miami as a small child - he still owns the car in which he was originally taken home from maternity hospital as a baby - and he's still habitually wound up tighter 'n a nine-day watch...

He grew up through the late '30s eagerly memorising imported copies of 'The Motor' and 'The Autocar' and Prince Chula's Bira books. He was entirely rapt by the romance of motor racing from the time he was knee-high to a midget car. One of his first jobs for Tommy Lee was to strip to the last nut, washer and split pin the straight-8 Delage GP car - upon whose engine he is still encyclopaedic today ... and then you add all his Ferrari lore, his fantastic (I use the word advisedly) collection of contemporary colour photography which he shot on his beloved Leica camera - colour shots of the Carrera PanAmericana and of Le Mans from 1952 etc of such mind-blowing quality you'd think they were taken last year ... and, like Dan Gurney, he has a brilliant German lady as wife, and.... Well, he's just a great recipient of all the honour you have cared to bestow upon him above.

I quite like the bloke.

DCN

#24 rdrcr

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Posted 25 April 2002 - 21:13

As the memories and warm wishes come flowing in about Phil Hill... I just thought I'd mention that I had a brief chat with him yesterday evening at Dan Gurney's Introduction of their Alligator motorcycle at the Peterson Museum. (thank you paulb).

Mr. Hill seemed quite spry for his 75 years and his wife Alma and son, Derek were also in attendance. We spoke of the classic car world and he remarked that he was growing a bit tired of the scene. I wasn't able to ascertain if this was due to him being involved for some 35 odd years and just a wee bit burned out or it was a case of to many "profiteers" infiltrating the hobby. The GGG as Don often refers to them. I reminded him of a bit of work I had done and we chatted about a couple of cars and such...

I was privy to a rather anecdotal moment, standing next to Mr. Gurney awaiting my turn to offer congratulations for his debut... Mr Hill came forth and asked for Dan's autograph on the Alligator brochure, stating that he (Dan) was "the man" and offering congratulations as if he were just another crowd participant. Mr. Gurney embraced Mr. Hill and laughed - modestly saying something to the effect of "oh well thank you very much..." Then signed his brochure with a thoughtful message. Cameras clicking like mad.

Always the gentleman, Mr. Hill is forever willing to take a moment to speak with an appreciative individual or crowd as his popularity seems to increase with each passing year. Rightfully so, as his contributions to the historical side of the motor racing and the classic car world is now on a par with his driving accomplishments. I hope to see him in Pebble Beach this year and at the Historics at Monterey.

Just thought you guys would like to know he's seemingly doing pretty well.

#25 Jack-the-Lad

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Posted 20 April 2015 - 21:25

Perhaps today it would be appropriate to remember Phil Hill again. To me, he's leading the first lap at Sebring in 1963...his first race after leaving Ferrari, and the first championship race for the Cobra, I believe. And the first race I ever attended. Phil Hill was already my hero by then, and the sight of him passing the pits, waving, is something I doubt I'll forget as long as I have memory.

#26 TIPO61

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Posted 21 April 2015 - 20:02

Good enough for Jim Hall.

Good enough for ALL of us.

Happy Birthday Champ.



#27 B Squared

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Posted 22 April 2015 - 13:20

I met him at the Classic Car Club of America show in Santa Barbara, California in 1977 when I was out visiting my grandparents at the time. I ended up having a brief, yet rewarding chat and ended up getting his address to later send my 1961 Automobile Year (#9) to him for his signature. When I sent it off, there wasn't a flaw and it returned with each and every top right corner of the page bent as he went through it. As a 20 year old, I wasn't too happy; now I wouldn't want it any other way. He signed the full page portrait of him and included a very nice letter too. Unfortunately, his driving seems to be underappreciated by too many.



#28 Doug Nye

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Posted 22 April 2015 - 17:09

 I wouldn't want it any other way. He signed the full page portrait of him and included a very nice letter too. Unfortunately, his driving seems to be underappreciated by too many.

 

Indeed - on his day Phil could be formidably and consistently quick...

 

DCN



#29 VWV

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Posted 22 April 2015 - 20:26

Doug, can you give us a status update on the Phil Hill book "Inside Track" you were working on? Are there still plans to publish this book? This book is almost at the top of my wish list.



#30 Jack-the-Lad

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Posted 26 April 2015 - 15:39

Doug, can you give us a status update on the Phil Hill book "Inside Track" you were working on? Are there still plans to publish this book? This book is almost at the top of my wish list.


Some information might rekindle my interest. I just wish somebody would write the authoritative Phil Hill biography while I'm still around to read it. It seems odd that there are multiple books about many drivers, but only one that covers Phil, and it is outdated by 50 years (not including the "update").

#31 Doug Nye

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Posted 26 April 2015 - 18:28

YES - Phil's big book. I can update this. We are (at last) in the final stages of sorting out what we can do, how we can do it, and pulling together the text which is 90 per cent first-hand Phil - the most well-rounded, knowledgeable, engaging, gifted and impressive 'car guy' I have ever known .

 

Should be done and dusted and available for Spring next year.

 

A just-appointed production director is now in my ear, kicking my arse and generally cracking the whip...which is exactly what the unsure, vacillating, questioning, desperate-to-please DCN needed to smash him into gear. (BRM V4 also happening...if anyone's also interested). I need to get this all cracked before a big birthday come October.

 

Not least, our good friend Derek Hill - Phil's son - is still immensely supportive - and enduringly helpful. As is Phil's 'Road & Track' alter ego, John Lamm - the best automotive photographer of his era. We have been discovering new Phil input from old correspondence and long-buried tapes right up until this past week. Much of it has made my eyes pop in surprise and fascination, and I never thought this was still possible...   :love:

 

Thanks for asking.

 

DCN 



#32 VWV

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Posted 26 April 2015 - 19:44

Thank you Doug for the update on both the Phil Hill and BRM V4 books.  :clap:



#33 Jack-the-Lad

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Posted 26 April 2015 - 20:37

Thank you, DCN! Patience will soon be rewarded, as she so often is. It sounds as if the delay has allowed additional information to be discovered, and that can only be good.

Thanks again for the news.

#34 Roger Clark

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Posted 10 September 2021 - 07:27

Today is the 60th anniversary of Phil Hill’s win in the Italian Grand Prix and the world championship. The tributes and memories on this thread are more appropriate than ever. Inside Track has now been published and is as good as we hoped it would be.   Yesterday I listened to a Beyond the Grid podcast featuring Derek Hill talking about his father. Again, it is highly recommended. 
 

We must, of course, also remember Wolfgang Von Trips and fourteen spectators who died that day of such mixed emotions. 



#35 Doug Nye

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Posted 10 September 2021 - 07:29

We remember them...

 

DCN



#36 Jack-the-Lad

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Posted 10 September 2021 - 14:18

Perhaps today it would be appropriate to remember Phil Hill again. To me, he's leading the first lap at Sebring in 1963...his first race after leaving Ferrari, and the first championship race for the Cobra, I believe. And the first race I ever attended. Phil Hill was already my hero by then, and the sight of him passing the pits, waving, is something I doubt I'll forget as long as I have memory.


Please excuse my self-quote, but as this thread was started to honor Phil’s 75th. birthday (thank you, Roger), a milestone which I have just passed...and in context with my mention of Sebring, 1963, it certainly brings one’s perspective of the passage of time into sharp focus.

Edited by Jack-the-Lad, 10 September 2021 - 14:20.


#37 Doug Nye

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Posted 10 September 2021 - 18:03

Join the club, Jack.  Many happy returns...

 

DCN



#38 ellrosso

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Posted 13 September 2021 - 08:22

Longford "podium" 1965. Phil Hill on right in Firestone overalls. Bruce McLaren with trophy/garland. Jim Clark in blue overalls receiving trophy. Ron Mackinnon far left side.

5294-E-Pres-65-TNF.jpg



#39 Doug Nye

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Posted 13 September 2021 - 09:11

LOVELY...

 

DCN