Monday, March 3, 2008

Paul Frère: 1917-2008

It is with great admiration and respect that we report the passing of Paul Frère, veteran race car driver and reknowned automotive journalist.

For those unfamiliar with him, Frère was perhaps the quintissential "gentleman racer". Born in Belgium in 1917, he went on to a very successful career as a racing driver, competing in sports cars, motorcycles, and even Formula One. As a driver, Frère competed in a wildly diverse selection of vehicles: everything from a pre-war MG PB, to a 1953 Chrysler (with which he won his class at the 1953 Mille Miglia), on to the more elite ranks of Porsche, Jaguar, Aston Martin, and Ferrari.

Perhaps his greatest accomplishment as a driver was his win at the 1960 24 Hours of Le Mans in a Ferrari, co-driving with fellow endurance racing legend Olivier Gendebien.

During his racing career Mr. Frère also became well-known as a motoring journalist, drawing from his wide array of personal experience driving and racing the world's finest (and not so fine) automobiles. His wit and wisdom was known to everyone who followed his "Letters from Europe" which appeared for years on the pages of Road & Track. His legacy lives on in the many books he published, most notably his famous Sports Car and Competition Driving and his later autobiography, My Life Full of Cars. In his later years, he gushed about his admiration for his Honda CR-X; clearly, he was a man who appreciated a vast spectrum of automobiles as any true car enthusiast should.

Though he is no longer with us, he lived a truly wonderful 91 years and had a very fulfilling life "full of cars". May we all be so lucky.

Bentley Publishers' Biography

David E. Davis on Paul Frère
Paul Frère: Wikipedia

1 comment:

Frederico said...

It's a big loss for those of us over sixty! Especially the ones who could fit in the "gentleman driver" category. The good memories will stay with the ever smiling face of Paul Frére. He had very good reasons to smile and let us be inspired by his enthousiasm and keep on driving through life Frére-Gendebien style.