"Tributes paid to former Jaguar and Triumph engineer turned author"

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"Tributes paid to former Jaguar and Triumph engineer turned author"

Postby dutchman » Sun Aug 15, 2021 4:27 pm

Graham Robson wrote more than 160 books and his work is regarded to be some of the finest in the business


Tributes have been paid to former Jaguar and Triumph engineer turned automotive author, Graham Robson, who has died aged 85.

A prolific author, Mr Robson wrote more than 160 books after his career took a different than planned path.

He also wrote countless magazine articles and his work was renowned for being expertly-researched and written with a knowledge and passion that made him the favourite author of many car enthusiasts.

In a recent interview with publishing house Veloce he said: “It’s an awful admission to make, but I’ve been writing books for a very long time because I am old.

“People keep on asking me to write books, which is wonderful – and as long as I’ve got the mental strength to carry on, I shall keep on writing because it’s such a pleasure still.”

Fellow automotive writer Keith Adams said: “It’s things like this that made Graham Robson such a pleasure to know.”

Mr Robson was a Yorkshireman who started out in the car industry in 1957, when he joined Jaguar Cars in Coventry as a graduate trainee.

“I was a grammar school boy,” he said. “Then I went to Oxford, and from there, I talked my way into the graduate training scheme. I worked there for about three years, doing little bits of E-Type, and then moved to Standard-Triumph, also in Coventry.”

His job as a development engineer meant he ended up closely working with Harry Webster, director of engineering at Standard-Triumph for more than a decade during the 1950s and 1960s, who Mr Robson described as “his mentor”, working on the Vitesse and the TR4 projects before being asked to run the reopened works motor sport department in 1962 for three years.

Speaking about his move into writing he said: “I was headhunted by Autocar magazine, and it’s then that the writing began to take over.

“After that I’ve been writing independently for myself for 40 years. The last ‘real’ job I had was for Chrysler UK, which was in the process of being rationalised by the Americans, and we were into mass-production cars like the Avenger.

“It was all good fun – but I spent half my time in meetings and there wasn’t much time for writing.”

Mr Robson’s bibliography is a long one, and his work is regarded to be some of the finest in the business, which has inspired many people to become writers over the years.

His detailed books on the Austin Metro, Ford Cortina and the cars of the Rootes Group are still de facto reference works decades after they were published, and his presence within the industry will be missed by many.

Automotive News’s Richard Truett asked Mr Robson what his favourite Triumph TR model was for an interview (which can be viewed on YouTube).

He said: “I love the TR3a for the numbers it sold, I thought the fact that it was a facelift worked remarkably well, and I think that’s the car I love.

“However, I personally would love to own a very nice TR8 convertible – if it had gone on sale when it was supposed to, it would have been a much, much more successful car.”

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