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Whisper

Peter A Bolton 1920 - 2008


UK racing driver Peter Bolton was an enthusiastic privateer racing driver, taking part in many races and rallies in the UK and in Europe including 20 Monte Carlo Rallies and 10 Le Mans 24 hour races.  He was also a very successful businessman establishing the Bolton group of companies with – at its peak – 14 filling stations and six car dealerships in the Leeds area.

One of his claims to fame was in June 1964 when driving for the AC Company in their entry for that year’s Le Mans, when he was spotted along with “Gentleman” Jack Sears, testing up and down the new M1 motorway at a speed calculated to be 185 mph!  The reporting of the incident led to a famous Giles cartoon being published on the Daily Express of Tuesday 16th July 1964.  Anecdotally, this incident was then blamed for the imposition of the blanket 70 mph maximum speed limit in the UK the following year.  Subsequent research has shown that the Ministry of Transport were already planning an overall limit some time prior to the M1 incident.

Another famous incident involving Peter was in 1966, when due to the incapacity of his friend, Donald Campbell; Peter was asked if he could give a charity demonstration drive of the then current Bluebird land speed record car.  During this demonstration, the throttle became stuck open at 150 mph, and the car shot down the run way only to become air borne at the end, flying over the perimeter road (the A130) at a height of 10 feet, and landing in an adjacent field of barley.  Peter walked away with only his pride dented.

Whilst in retirement on the Isle of Man, Peter, together with the late Earl of Northesk, co-founded the Manx Motor Racing Club which reintroduced car racing on part of the TT course in the annual Isle of Man Rally, and he was a familiar sight, organising events from his Bristol 400 Farina.  He was the president of this club and introduced John Surtees who then became the club's patron.

He died on 26th August 2008 at Springfield Grange Nursing Home, Braddan, Isle of Man.


The current owner was privileged to have several telephone calls with Peter Bolton during 2005/6 during which, additional pieces of the history of the car emerged.


Major Racing results

Peter Bolton

racing driver & previous owner