Obituaries

The VSCCA is the lesser for their passing.

Peter Giddings

The entire vintage sports car community lost a towering figure with the passing of Peter Giddings in the first week of 2019.

Peter joined the VSCCA in 1971 with his freshly restored ex-Lyon GP Bugatti Type 35.  Peter lived on Long Island with his wife Judy during his early years with the Club, but began his serial car shuffling soon thereafter.  When his job with Clear Com took him to the West Coast we did not see much of him for years.  His stature in the global vintage racing scene ascended dramatically during this period.

Always a discerning collector, the stunning array of important and historic racing cars that went through his hands over the next few years is simply mind-boggling. (While too numerous to list here, details and anecdotes can be found at www.petergiddings.com.)  Peter almost invariably raced under the number “31,” commemorating his age when he moved from England to America.

During recent years it was a thrill to watch Peter blasting around Lime Rock in competition with Peter Greenfield in their seemingly identical Alfa Romeo 8C35s.

While Peter will be greatly missed, he leaves his soul-mate, Judy who frequently accompanied Peter on his global racing trips.  In the immediate wake of Peter’s passing, the Board of the VSCCA voted unanimously to confer honorary membership upon Judy so she can remain “one of us”.

Bill Rutan

William “Bill” Rutan, the “Dean of American Hillclimbers,” passed away unexpectedly after a brief illness on Wednesday April 4, 2018.  Bill was a proud veteran of the US Army having served during the Korean War. His racing career spanned over 60 years and included many wins, some championships and hill climb records.  He built racing cars and engines for himself and many others, belonged to the SCCA and VSCCA. He was well known for building “The Bathtub”, a brilliantly engineered custom Volkswagen with a Porsche Carrera (four cam) engine.  In 1961 Bill and The Bathtub broke the record for the quickest gravel road time to the top of Mt. Washington, beating Carroll Shelby’s Ferrari F1 time by 68 seconds.

Otto Linton

We lost one of the pioneers of auto racing on January 3, Otto Linton.  He was born in Austria in Austria in 1917 and escaped Europe just prior to World War II.  Otto was fascinated by automobiles as a child but did not have the opportunity to participate in motorsports until after the war when he became an early member of the Antique Automobile Club of America and the SCCA.  He raced at the first street race at Watkins Glen in 1948 and was a competitor for many years.  He then converted his hobby into a business servicing imported sports and racing cars in the Philadelphia area.  In recent years Otto has been a supporter and speaker at many sporting vintage car events.  Recently was a luncheon speaker for the VSCCA charming the attendees with colorful stories from his sporting past.  He will be missed by many.

Syd Silverman

One of the most gracious human beings to ever don Nomex, Syd Silverman, passed away late 2017.

Syd was well known for running his family business, “Variety,” the show business bible, from the mid-fifties until he sold it in the mid-eighties.  Syd joined the VSCCA in the mid-seventies. He was a regular competitor with his J2-X Allard and became a great patron of the Allard Register in the United States.

Once he retired from “Variety” Syd acquired one of the Allard 1953 Le Mans team cars and the JR that Zora Duntov had driven.  He created a serious team headquartered in Oklahoma City and managed by his very good friend, John Harden. Now he could participate in all of the major Vintage events across the USA.  The equipe included five or six Listers, including the one-off Lister Maserati, the Lister Sunbeam Coupe that ran at Le Mans, and at least three Lister “knobblies” and one or two Costin-bodied versions as well. Aside from the Listers he usually fielded one or two Allards, the MG-TC that had given Carroll Shelby his start, a Kurtis 500 that became Syd’s favorite, and even an SS-100 Roadster.

Beyond the racing, he had an ownership interest in the SVRA for a few years and also bought up “Vintage Motorsport” magazine and turned it into one of the most important journals of its type in the United States.

An uncommonly fine man and a passionate enthusiast, Syd Silverman, will long be missed.

Roy Jacobson

Roy Jacobson was a true believer. He left on July 2017 at the age of 73.

After serving in the Coast Guard Roy started a small British car restoration and repair shop outside of Boston.  He began racing his MGTD with the VSCCA in the early 1970s and he was the event chairman for the New England MG “T” Register’s “Double Three” all MG races at Lime Rock Park.  He raced along with Greg Prehodka, Ben Bragg and others.  Roy’s MGTD and his Scottish Tam o’shanter was a fixture at T Register, VSCCA, and VARAC events for years.

J. Todd Crocker

J. Todd Crocker died peacefully at home in Concord, MA on Thursday, April 27, 2017, surrounded by his family. He had an eye for a well-framed photograph, an ear for harmony, a taste for fresh whipped cream, and a deep sense of fairness. He always had a steady hand and an often-obscure knowledge for how things worked. He was eternally optimistic, full of good humor, and cared deeply for the well being of others. He will be dearly missed by the many who loved him and who were inspired by his kindness, compassion, and generosity of spirit.

David Belden

VSCCA Competition Number 215 – Long time VSCCA member David Belden passed away on January 7th, 2016. He belonged to many automotive clubs and was especially proud of over fifty years membership in the Sports Car Club of America where he spent many years both racing and officiating as a course marshal. Jean Petryshyn said of him “Our best instructor for new workers. Always mellow but precise. He will be sadly missed”.

Scott Terry 

VSCCA Competition Number 94 – Died November 10th of 2015 from complications of cancer. He can be remembered driving his 1959 Alfa with much skill. He had a wry sense of humor and wasn’t afraid to prank someone. He rode a modern Harley and not timid to do so in any kind of weather. A close friend of Keith Goring and Susan Dixon, he could be found with them in the flea market at the Historics.

Harrison Gilbert

a longtime member of the VSCCA and an active figure especially in the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. Born December 24, 1933 in Elmira, NY, he was a veteran of the US Marine Corp, and served during the Korean War.

Jim Smith

We are saddened to report that another long time member, Jim Smith, passed away on January 19th.    Jim was an active competitor in his Healey 100 and drove it with skill and enthusiasm.  He was also a most pleasant human being, who truly enjoyed time with his friends.    He will be missed by all of them.

Mark L. Auriana 

77, of Stamford, passed away peacefully at Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York on March 5, 2016. Mark was born in New York City in 1938 and graduated Regis High School in New York City, He continued on to Manhattan College and earned a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering from CUNY.  He was a private pilot, a life-long car enthusiast and long time member of the VSCCA. His 1957 Alfa SVZ wearing competition number was 328 was until recently, a frequent site at many of our events.

Edward J. Frost Sutherland

longtime resident of Wolfeboro and Melvin Village, NH died on March 28, 2016 surrounded by family. An avid pilot, he earned instrument, commercial, multi-engine and seaplane ratings and flew small aircraft for business and pleasure. Cars were an early and continuing passion which eventually focused on vintage sports cars. As a Director of the Vintage Sports Car Club of America, he raced a Jaguar and Lotus in club events for ten years. As Secretary of the New England Region of the Bentley Drivers Club, he enjoyed car tours in a pre-1930 Bentley. For these two clubs, he developed and maintained computerized membership lists and published an annual roster for more than ten years. 

Ray Saidel

Raymond Saidel passed away on February 13, 2017.  Raymond was born in Manchester on May 15, 1924.  At age 18 he became a machine gunner in the Army’s First Armored Regiment.  After the German defeat in North Africa, Raymond was sent to Italy Where he fought in many battles including Anzio.  At that time his company had been reorganized as A Company First Tank Battalion of the First Armored Division.  He would later become a rifleman in the First Provisional Rifle Company of the First Tank Battalion.  For his years of service during WWII, Raymond was awarded six Bronze Battle Stars.  He also received the “Medalle de la France Libree” from the French Army.  Throughout his life, Raymond remained president of Merrimack Street Garage, which is a local car dealership established by Morris Saidel in 1919.  This enterprise was a long-time dealer of Oldsmobile and Volvo automobiles, but also introduced a multitude of foreign cars for sale and service to the local area including but not limited to; Triumph, MG, Fiat, Mercedes, Lotus, Jaguar, Borgward, and many others.  During the 1950’s Raymond designed and built a line of sports car called the Jomar, named for his first two children, Joanna and Marc.  Raymond successfully raced his line at SCCA, USAC and FIA events at race tracks along the eastern United States such as; Thompson, Limerock, Cumberland, Watkins Glen and Daytona.  Raymond’s success with the Jomar led to the future development of a production of the car in England known as the TVR. In the 1970’s Raymond pursued his passion for journalism as a foreign correspondent for William Loeb’s newspaper, The Union Leader.

Jean Argetsinger 

Jean Argetsinger, the matriarch of American road racing and a leader in the creation of the International Motor Racing Research Center, died Jan. 16 at her home in Burdett, N.Y. She was 97. Mrs. Argetsinger and her husband, Cameron, who died in 2008, are credited with the rebirth of road racing in the United States after World War II. In helping to establish Watkins Glen International. She was a founder of the IMRRC, an archival and research library that’s dedicated to the preservation and sharing of the history of motor sports, all venues and all series worldwide. She had served on the IMRRC governing council since the center opened in 1999. Her son Duke wrote to our secretary Scott Fenley, “Both Jean and my late father, Cameron Argetsinger, were staunch supporters of the VSCCA.  Thank you for according her an honorary membership over the last several years.”

 

Herb Tobin

of Walpole, Mass died April 21, 2017 at the age of 81. Herb was a loyal and enthusiastic member of the VSCCA for nearly six decades. Over the years, he co-chaired and planned Rallyes, hosted an annual Bugatti Birthday Party, and ran in the Wellesley Hunnewell Hill Climb numerous times. Herb raced in the very first Hill Climb in 1960, driving his 1935 BMW Type 315/1, and he was proud to be the only original driver still bringing the same car at the last running in 2015. Herb was predeceased by his wife of 45 years, Myrna “Miki” Tobin, and is survived by his son Dan Tobin and daughter Sharon Tobin Fishbein, as well as grandchildren Isabelle and Magnolia.  

Charles Parmelli

A dear friend and frequent face at most of the VSCCA events of the last two decades,  Charles passed away on Monday, April 3, 2017 at the age of 85 due to complications from Diabetes. Charles never raced but he would be found, along with Jerome Morici and Joseph DeLucia, at track events, social events and hill climbs as far as VIR and as close as LRP and NJ Motorsports Park. Along with Jerry and Joseph, he was a contributor to both the original Sterling Silver Rene Dreyfus Cup and the redone Mal Donaldson Trophy. Charles’ love for cars began in Patterson, New Jersey at the original Gasoline Alley, became a USAC official at the Indianapolis 500 and continued his automotive love with the VSCCA until his passing. Aside form his son C.B. and daughter Pamela, he leaves behind three grandchildren. He will be sorely missed.