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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