Andy Baker: My grandad's historic cars, racing and influence on me


As early as I can remember, from probably about 2 or 3 years old, I can remember sitting in my grandad's pre-war Riley Brooklands driving through the streets.

I can always remember whenever we used to visit my grandad’s workshop, the first thing we’d do is “Let me sit in the car granddad, let me sit in the car” and every time he’d say “All right you can sit in it but I’m not taking you out in it.” Then after about an hour of persuasion he always used to take us out in it. I can remember driving through France, sat on his lap, into the early hours of the morning, making his legs go numb probably.

Although I don’t remember it, he does tell me and recalls how he went to a Chateau D’Eau with a lot of pre-war cars and there was Bernie Ecclestone there and Stirling Moss and everyone else just sat around a table and all the McLaren boys which I don’t remember. Ever since I can remember I’ve just followed my grandad round doing his racing and he’s passed on the gauntlet recently, he’s started letting me race his Riley Brooklands.

We put together an Austin 7 as well, which we use for trialling. So ever since I can remember, whenever I think of my grandad I see the cars, the grease and the oil and him walking down the pit straights of Silverstone.

He’s you’re average grandad really, he’s been a mechanic all his life. He did it pre-war and at the time, when he was a young boy, those were the cars that you had. He originally went for a Riley Lynx and he’s still got that today. Then he bought half of a Riley Brooklands, it was quite a famous person before who used to race it, won a lot of races: Le Mans, Monaco. It was quite a famous racing car. Then he went on to buy the original body for it as well. He’s just a mechanic really, I say just a mechanic, that’s all he’s done but he seems to know his stuff.

My grandad is my motorsport hero.

I can remember still, sat upon Silverstone pit walls ever since I can just about see over the wall and watching him go round. That’d be my personal favourite because that’s all I’ve known.

As far as professional drivers it has to be Stirling Moss, I’ve seen so much of him, and Ayrton Senna as well especially since the new documentary has come out. It’s nice to be able to see it all in it’s glory. But overall hero has to be my grandad just on the basis of what I’ve seen him doing, just your average sort of bloke. You feel very, very proud to see him … he’s passionate, he loves motorsport. He has a saying of “They’re there to be used, don’t put them in a museum just get them out” So many people sit on their cars, in their living room or in a garage. All they do is build up dust so he takes them out as much as he can.

He doesn’t do trials predominantly. He has a Riley Lynx he uses on the road and a Mark 4 Tourer that he uses on the road, he uses them a lot on the road. His Riley Brooklands is used for racing because it’s a race car. He’s done that at Spa and he’s done the classic Le Mans a few times as well, which he said is one of his best experiences.

He’s done Monaco as well, mainly because of the history the car has of pre-war races. It’s won Monaco a few times and it’s got the history behind it, it’s quite a historic motor car.

Andy Baker




Andy shared this memory for the Replay Motorsport project at the www.chelseaautolegends.com show on 3rd September 2012. Our thanks go to Chelsea Autolegends in making this memory possible.

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Memory added on October 15, 2012


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