RIP 1964 Targa Florio winner Colin Davis

| 22 Dec 2012

Targa Florio winner Colin Davis died on Wednesday aged 79. 

Davis passed away at his home in Oranjezicht, South Africa with his wife Eva by his side.

Davis epitomised the great unsung racers of the 1950 and '60s, driving F1, sports-racers and endurance cars seemingly without preference.

Although often paired with Carlo Abate (as above, in the Maserati T64 in 1962) and later Jo Siffert (below, in the Porsche 906 Langheck at Le Mans in 1966), his greatest achievement was winning the Targa Florio, with Antonio Pucci, as a Porsche 904GTS works driver in 1964, following that with second place a year later.

Notably, this reflected the glory of his father, the legendary 'Sammy' Davis, who won Le Mans for Bentley in 1927.

Despite his talent and wide range of mounts, Colin Charles Houghton Davis quit the sport suddenly in 1967 following a succession of his friends perishing, a decade later emigrating to South Africa with Eva and their daughter Francesca.

We received a touching tribute from Greg Mills who wrote: "On our last meeting he recounted a story about Alessandro de Tomaso with whom he shared an OSCA in 1958 to a second overall in the 12hrs of Messina and an index win and 11th overall at Le Mans [above, behind the Chamberlain/Lovely Lotus 15]. 

"This prompted a memorable return trip to Paris in De Tomaso's Alfa. 'We were given our prize money there and then at the end of the race, but had to go to Paris to get permission to take it out the country. I sat in the back of the Alfa with a suitcase full of money,' said Colin, 'and Alessandro and his girlfriend where in the front. Halfway along the journey the couple started an argument which ended in the passenger hitting the driver in the face as the car drifted into the face of the oncoming traffic at a closing speed of around 200mph. I thought to myself, as I clutched the case full of four million francs, here you are in the back of a car with some money for the first time in our career, and you are going to be killed by this crazy pair.'"