Wednesday, February 4, 2009

From the Land of Misfit Lit

From the pages of MINUTIA (Volume 3, Number 2 - 1994)

Automobile companies regularly retain the services of famous racing personalities to act a "consultants" in the development of their various new models. In reality, of course, whatever small contribution they might make to the design or engineering of a particular car is overshadowed by the aura and prestige championship racing can give to the manufacturer's entire line of cars. Jackie Stewart had been associated with Ford Motor Company for many years and could be seen in television commercials describing the superior handling of the 1983 Thunderbird!

Perhaps one of the more bizarre alliances ever formed was that between World Grand Prix champion Mike Hawthorn and York Nobel Industries, Ltd., manufacturer of the Nobel 200 bubble car. In publicity material issued February 11, 1959, Mr. Hawthorn is pictured examining the bare chassis of the Nobel on display at the Earls Court Motor Show. In this issue's cover photo, he is shown with a beaming smile, standing with his head sticking out of the open sunroof!

These photos may have been the last taken before Mr. Hawthorn dies in a fateful road accident, which occurred while racing some friends on a country road in England.

The publicity release continues..."Amongst the photographs which we are sending, there will be one or two showing Mr. Mike Hawthorn, who became our Technical Director just before his very tragic death three weeks ago."

What valuable contributions York Nobel were to gain from the consultancy of the 26-year -old Mr. Hawthorn will never be known. Nor will it be known what drove him into such an unusual alliance in the first place.
Article submitted by David Kayser, Metuchen, New Jersey.


Tony said...

Hi- I run the Mike Hawthorn memorial site. I have a photo of Mike with the car that is in the book I've written but haven't ever seen the publicity release... Is it possible you can get a copy to me please?

tony @

MINUTIA Editor said...


I'll see what I can do. The article was submitted to MINUTIA back in 1994.