John 'Noddy' Coombs – a paddock legend who helped Jackie Stewart forge a career in F1 and prepared cars for a string of other stars – died on Saturday.
Coombs’ father was a talented engineer and his company, Coombs & Sons, began specialising in upgrading Jaguar production cars.
John, meanwhile, had developed a taste for racing in both F3, F2 and sports car in the ’50s, but his racing ambitions would take a back seat as increasing business forced him to take a bigger interest in preparing cars.
F1 stars such as Jack Brabham, Graham Hill and Dan Gurney achieved much success in Coombs' Jaguar saloons.
But he will perhaps be best remembered for giving Jackie Stewart a test drive of a Lightweight E-type in 1964 – a leg up that helped the Scotsman join Formula 1 the following year.
Coombs would also run Tyrrell’s F2 team, when Ken moved to F1, and would continue to work with drivers such as Piers Courage, Jack Brabham and François Cevert.
He was also instrumental in persuading Jaguar to build the lightweight E-type and built roads cars such as the awesome Coombs Mk2.