Founding editor of MotorSport dies


Bill Boddy, the founder editor of MotorSport magazine and a leading light in the vintage car hobby for more than 80 years passed away today, 7 July. He was 98.

Writing until his last days, William "Bill" Boddy was also a prolific author on historic motorsport throughout an epic career that began when he first visited Brooklands circuit in 1927.

Three years later he published his first article in MotorSport, on the history of the circuit – the nation’s first purpose-built facility. By 1936 he was asked to edit the magazine following a change in ownership.

Before the outbreak of World War 2, Boddy successfully campaigned the likes of an HRG, Lancia and Aston Martin in various hill climbs and was a passenger with Sydney Allard when the latter won the last speed event before war commenced.

During the hostilities, Boddy was employed by the Ministry for Air Publications but he managed to keep MotorSport going in his spare time.

When peace broke out, Boddy famously recruited Denis Jenkinson and went on to create the 750 Motor Club and inspire the 500cc racing fraternity. He also founded the Brooklands Society, which was instrumental in saving the famous banked circuit.

During his career – the longest of any motoring journalist – he wrote several seminal and definitive books including The history of Brooklands motor course (1957), Montlhéry: The Story of the Paris Autodrome, 1961 and The history of motor racing, (1977)

He edited MotorSport until 1991 and was a regular columnist until his death.



I know it's a while since Bill Boddy died, but having just registered on the site, perhaps you will allow me to tell you that Bill Boddy was responsible for my choice of 21st birthday present from my parents in 1967. As a teenager I devoured Motor Sport magazine, usually at the library, but occasionally my own copy. Bill Boddy used to write road tests and nearly always commented "the average speed, as calculated on my Breitling Navitimer was....". I had to have one, so that was my somewhat surprising request to my parents when they asked what I would like for my 21st. I still have it - an original "806" manual and treasure it, remembering William's written words (well maybe not verbatim) to this day.

Incidentally, he also used to rate the usefulness of the glove box by its ability to stow his Rolleiflex camera!

A man to remember.


He definitely has put a great magazine for a long time. It was one of the better ones out there. I have been a fan for a long time. He will be dearly missed. I hope the magazine goes on.

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