Roy Salvadori The debonair 1950s F1 driver Roy Salvadori is celebrating his 88th birthday today!

Born and raised in England as the son of Italian immigrant parents, Roy graduated to F1 in 1956 with Maserati after competing in a succession of other cars, having started competitive racing in 1947.

Roy represented Vanwall and Cooper in 1957-8, and also the abortive (and well-behind the times!) front-engined Aston Martin concern in 1959.

Salvadori switched back to Cooper in 1960, and almost won the 1961 United States GP – he was closing in on Innes Ireland’s Lotus when the engine broke in the closing stages of the race!

He quit after a final F1 season with Lola in 1962 and competed in sports car racing for a couple more years before retiring for good.

A man whose motorsport talents deserved much more than he was able to achieve, Salvadori was, by all accounts, very popular with the ladies. Rob Walker told motorsports journalist Alan Henry a great tale about Roy from 1954, when driving for Aston Martin in sports cars.

Prince “B Bira” – himself a very good F1 driver in the 1950s – asked Roy: “Would you mind taking my sister-in-law to bed tonight?”. Salvadori apparently replied: “I’d rather have your wife!”, to which Bira considered this for a moment and then retorted: “No, I don’t think that’s on, Roy. It’s either my sister-in-law or nothing!”

Different times indeed!

[Original image via The Cahier Archive]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.