Firstly, the sad news I read in the Glasgow Herald yesterday that Ian Stewart had recently died. Ian was an early member and supporter of VSMA. Many of our older members will remember him well. The last I saw of him was being interviewed at the Bo’ness Hill Climb Revival a couple of years back having driven an immaculate ex-Ecurie Ecosse C-type Jaguar. The car had been restored by Gregor Fisken in 2001 but was originally was Jimmy Stewart’s car, but it soon became one of the three ‘common-user’ team C-Types during the 1953 season. Ian had driven it at several events previously. I have taken the liberty of copying Ian’s obituary in yesterday’s Herald for those who live without the Glasgow area. As you will note it gives an excellent account of the man and his connection to Scottish motorsport…..
Racing Driver, farmer, hotelier and publican
Born: 15 July 1929
Died: 19th March 2017
IAN STEWART, who has died aged 87, excelled in a number of different fields. Had he only raced cars, he would have been worthy of great praise. He was one of Scotland’s first Grand Prix drivers; some judges rate him as good as his fellow son of the soil, Jim Clark. He was one of the original Ecurie Ecosse drivers, designing the team’s famous badge and suggesting his blue racing colours before he retired, aged just 24, leaving a potentially wonderful career incomplete.
But he flourished on the land too, becoming a notable cattle breeder and stalwart of the Luing breed, while also running a flourishing chain of pubs and finding time to become Scotland’s first Ferrari dealer. Add a spell as a mess colleague of author George MacDonald Fraser during national service with the Gordon Highlanders and you have a true renaissance man.
Born Ian Macpherson McCallum Stewart, his father ran the famous Millhills herd of pedigree Shorthorn cattle in Perthshire and Ian, an only child, seemed set for the life of a well-to-do farmer’s son. He did not enjoy school at Cargilfield or Edinburgh Academy, while his parents’ divorce when he was in his teens was a blow. However, he went to Canada with his mother, who was South African and enjoyed school at Selwyn College and ice hockey.
He then accompanied school friend Raymond Nairn to Repton School, where he was a house captain, excelling at swimming and cricket.
He was set to go up to Cambridge, but opted instead for national service with the Gordon Highlanders, having been denied his ambition to be a Spitfire pilot by the RAF incorrectly diagnosing him as being colour blind. Service in Berlin during the Airlift in 1948, in which the
Western Allies dropped food and supplies to the people of West Berlin, greatly touched him and, on completing his two years, he decided against Cambridge, enrolling instead at Edinburgh Agricultural College, with a view to eventually taking on the family farm.
However, after an initial outing in his mother’s MGA, he discovered his penchant for fast cars, and took part in Scotland’s first motor-racing meeting, at the Winfield airfield circuit in Berwickshire. The MG gave way to a part-share in a Jaguar SS100, which led him to Merchiston Mews, David Murray’s Merchiston Motors and becoming, with Bill Dobson and Sir James Scott Douglas, the founders of Ecurie Ecosse.
He stood on 37 podiums during his racing career. Twenty-five times he was on the winner’s top step. He finished fourth at Le Mans, driving for the Jaguar works team; he was second overall and first in cars eligible for the world championship at the Nurburgring 1,000km; while he won the last ever Jersey International Road Race, having “run in” his new works Jaguar C-type between the factory and the circuit.
However, perhaps the best indication of his talent was the day he beat Stirling Moss at Charterhall. They were driving near-identical C-types; however, Moss was in the newer, disc-braked model, while Murray’s car still had the less reliable drum brakes. He also won the Wakefield Trophy in Ireland and competed for Ecurie Ecosse in the 1953 Formula One British Grand Prix, his only World Championship outing, at Silverstone, driving a Connaught. Stewart always claimed he holds the record for crossing the finish line backwards at Silverstone.
Stewart was not a gentleman racer, he was a full-time, professional driver, and during his career was elected to full membership of the exclusive British Racing Drivers Club. However, his career was to end after he was injured when competing in a long-distance road
race in Argentina in 1954.
Stewart’s father was also in Argentina on cattle business, leaving before the race and receiving a message that Ian had been killed in his accident. So, when he got back to Millhills, he was given the ultimatum – racing or farming. With his father’s health declining, Stewart made the only possible choice and hung up his crash helmet.
His father died two years later and Stewart was left, aged 26, to run the family farms and the public houses. The bank forced him to break up the famous Shorthorn herd to meet death duties but, uncomplaining, he did this and started afresh. He retrenched at the family’s hill farm at Glen Lochay, where he added Luing cattle to the existing sheep operation there.
He became a director of the Luing Breed Society, serving as chairman in 1976-77, while he rebuilt the family’s farming operation, adding a couple of properties before, in 1984, he consolidated the farming operation at Woodburn Farm, near Crieff.
He never gave up on his fast cars though. His father stymied his attempts to persuade him a Porsche 365 was a good farm car. But he was driving a Mercedes 300 gullwing when he courted and married the love of his life, Mary Alexandra Kent. In the 1970s, he became the first Ferrari dealer in Scotland, enjoying driving the demonstrators and, while the venture was successful, he decided he could not spare the time from his other interests and allowed others to take it over.
He continued to drive exotic cars, but had to hand over day-to-day management of the businesses to his sons, retaining the chairmanship, while he cared for Mary Alexandra during her lengthy battle with heart disease, which eventually claimed her in 2010 – he never really got over this blow.
Ian Stewart was an old-fashioned gentleman. The word “grace” sums him up perfectly. Smoothness and elegance of movement, stylishness, poise, finesse and charm, courteous goodwill, politeness, good manners, civility, decency, propriety and respect – that was Ian Stewart.
He is survived by sons David and Christian, and grandchildren Rosie, Constance, Robert and Daniel.
On a brighter note, I can welcome a new member, Mr Ronnie Martin from Newton Mearns. Many of the rallying members will remember his brother the late Jim Martin. You can see details of Ronnie’s motorsport career in his page on the website.
On the website side, I can report that we have had some luck and have managed to obtain the help of a “Professional”. We did have someone earlier but he proved to be a non-starter and may have mucked things up a bit more. As I may have mentioned before the problem with our site was the fact that it had been written with a now redundant Microsoft package which has now stopped being supported by Microsoft. Apparently, this will involve rewriting whole sections of the software and trying to untangle what is still serviceable. The data on the server hopefully is still intact. The new chap has only just started looking at it. Apart from telling us that there needs to be a lot done to re-establish the whole site, he has managed already to fix a few things.
Unfortunately, I am still unable to upload any new items, and there is a considerable number which has accumulated since May 2015! However, I have managed to update the data on new members and any changes to members’email addresses, etc. As yet I have been unable to upload any images, but hopefully, I will, in the future, be able to catch up on the website all that has been happening with VSMA in the past TWO YEARS!
- Recently I received a letter from member Eric Dymock regarding the update on his publication on Jim Clark – Tribute to a Champion above. Here are a few comments on the work……
- Classic Cars nominated Jim Clark Book of the Month:
“Rich with anecdotal reminiscences from those who raced
with Jim Clark. Dymock has clearly done his research and
brings riveting details alive.” Five stars.
- Classic and Sportscar: Jim Clark is Best Book of the Year:
“Eric Dymock’s celebration of Jim Clark a totally inspired
publication. The combination of handsome layout, Dymock’s
elegant prose and the personal insight into life of Scottish
racing legend great value.”
- In 2004 the Association of Scottish Motoring Writers,
honouring Scots who have achieved excellence in the field
of motoring, presented Eric Dymock with the Jim Clark
The book Jim Clark – Tribute to a Champion by Eric Dymock is a revised and updated version published in 2017 by DOVE PUBLISHING LIMITED, 5 Abbey ParkTorksey, Lincoln, Lincolnshire LN1 2LS www.dovepublishing.co.uk – Available through Amazon and from all good bookshops.
A Royalty on every copy is being donated to the Jim Clark Trust.
Finally, on a lighter note –
One from our Chairman………. Paddy and Shamus were hitchhiking.
“It’s best if we split up,” said Paddy. “I will meet you in the next city under the town hall clock.”
later that night Shamus was waiting at the appointed place when Paddy drove up in a big swanky car
“Where the hell did you get that?” Shamus exclaimed.
Paddy explained that he had just walked a little way when a beautiful woman picked him up. She drove into the woods, got out and took all her clothes off.
“She said I could have anything I wanted, so I took the car,” said Paddy. “Good choice too,” said Shamus. “You’d look ridiculous in her clothes.”
One from Marlyn Jack……
Food for thought or not
I was lying around, pondering the problems of the world, I realized that at my age I don’t really give a damn anymore.
If walking is good for your health the postman would be immortal.
A whale swims all day, only eats fish, drinks water, but is still fat.
A rabbit runs and hops and only lives 15 years, while a tortoise doesn’t run and does mostly nothing, yet it lives for 150 years.
And you tell me to exercise?? I don’t think so.
Just grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked, and the good fortune to remember the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.
Now that I’m older here’s what I’ve discovered:
1. I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it.
2. My wild oats are mostly enjoyed with prunes and all-bran.
3. I finally got my head together, and now my body is falling apart.
4. Funny, I don’t remember being absent-minded.
5. Funny, I don’t remember being absent-minded.
6. If all is not lost, then where the heck is it?
7. It was a whole lot easier to get older than to get wiser.
8. Some days, you’re the top dog, some days you’re the hydrant.
9. Kids in the back seat cause accidents.
10 Accidents in the back seat cause kids.
11. The world only beats a path to your door when you’re in the bathroom.
12. If God wanted me to touch my toes, he’d have put them on my knees.
13. It’s not hard to meet expenses . . . they’re everywhere.
14. The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.
15. These days, I spend a lot of time thinking about the hereafter . . I go somewhere to get something, and then wonder what I’m “hereafter”.
16. Funny, I don’t remember being absent-minded.
Forty-one one us are off to Portavadie in a few weeks – it looks as if Bob Baillie again has laid on a very interesting weekend. Can’t come soon enough.
That’s all folks………………. ! Stuart Parker, April 2017