If you’re one of our North American readers you may not have heard of Gerry Marshall before. But if you come from the British Vauxhall-loving set, we’d be surprised to learn you had never heard Marshall’s name on someone’s lips. The racing driver had a long and illustrious career racing sedans and sportscars in Britain, racking up more than 600 wins in over 50 years of competition.
According to Marshall’s long and rather unorthodox Wikipedia page, he won his first race in 1963 in a Mini and would later move on to compete with Dealer Team Vauxhall in a V8 Firenza built with parts from a Holden racing prototype that was crashed. Marshall and his Firenza, affectionately nicknamed ‘Baby Bertha’, racked up 51 wins over just three seasons, with only two DNFs and a single second place finish to his name.
Marshall was known for his fierce, tail-out driving style and larger-than life personality. He was a favorite among spectators and drivers alike, and it only takes one watch of the video below to understand why. Marshall provides a cool-headed and thorough voiceover as he races around Brands Hatch in the mid-70s clip, all while leading his competitors by a wide margin.
Marshall passed in 2005 at the age of 63 after suffering a heart attack at the wheel of Richard Petty’s former racing Camaro IROC at Silverstone. According to the Daily Telegraph‘s obituary on him, the car came to a halt at the BRDC suite where Marshall would often drink, and he once never lost control of the car.