ASTON MARTIN Memories... British Racing GREEN!
by Michael Green
Above: Dickie early Sunday morning LeMans 1955
revised December 2022 MG CopyrigthWCBR2022/3
Photos on this site& stories Copyright RFGCollection, WCBR collection 2022/3
Thank you for dropping in. Why Aston's? Well, a number of my family members worked for Aston Martin during it's heyday in Sports Car Racing... when it was located in Feltham, Middlesex, (England) during the 1950's. As a little boy born in 1958 I was surrounded by awesome cars and people alike, many would go on to be quite famous in their own right.
Where to start? At the beginning is usually the answer.
Doreen Sherwood, joined David Brown-Aston Martin in January of 1949 as a secretary. She would work for the drawing office crew, and racing department Professor Eberan von Eberhorst (of Auto-Union fame. He's worked with Porsche until the man with the funny mustache ordered him to proceed with das people car. This would leave the Professor as Chief designer at Auto-Union, and would result in the D-Type Grand Prix car). The "Prof" as Doreen would call him privately, wasn't an easy one to work for, due to his Austrian language skills. Doreen would be using short hand as he dictated, then Doreen would change it to "Queens English". Later Prof would come to her and complain; "I did not say this Miss Doreen!" The Prof was brought on because of his Auto-Union and Grand Prix back ground. After a long and nasty war the Germans weren't going racing for some time due to their country was totally destroyed! DB hired the Prof in hopes of creating some Racing Aston Martin's, the DB3 would be the first attempt. The cars prior were DB2 cars, the first one having a 2-Litre 4-banger, was the first Aston Doreen ever rode in. This car now lives in Northern California.
David Brown, who owned not only Aston Martin, but Lagonda and David Brown Tractors as well, hired JW for a reason. He wanted to go Racing. Aston already had done so to a degree, even LeMans 1950, but DB had bigger and brighter ideas, thus JW was his #1 choice. John Wyer was already well known in the British Automotive & Racing world. A no nonsense kind of man, he had what some called "The Death Ray!" Doreen was proud to say, "I never received that."
Later a Mr John Wyer would join Aston's as the new Team Manager and it's here than Doreen would excel. Years later John wrote in a one of his books (in the margin); "Doreen was to BEST secretary I ever had." Doreen later said; "You didn't need to write that John." His reply was typical JW;"I wouldn't have written it if I did not mean it Doreen." Doreen was the only secretary to the race shop and it's drawing office, and thus had her own office. Doreen knew all the drivers at Aston's. and some of the shop staff. The main "sweeper up" man had come to Aston's via Doreen's father, Harry Sherwood, a former Sgt Major of the British Army, who always took care of his men, thus got him a job at Aston's. Keeping this in the family, Doreen's two brothers would join Aston's. Brian Sherwood started out in the sheet metal shop and late became a panel beater - and good at it! Then there is Roger Sherwood joined the drawing office as an apprentice, his claim to fame (at the time) was inserting "David Brown" onto the current Aston Martin badge.
Doreen was rarely let out of her office, JW preferring it that way. With JW away from the office one day, Roy Parnell ame in and asked Doreen if she'd like to join them at the airfield to do some testing. Didn't have to ask her twice! Thus Roy, Doreen and Brian Clayton motored off down the road in a couple of DB3S race cars. t Doreen was along to keep notes and lap times. At one point Doreen was in the passengers seat as they did laps... after tea time, Roy says, "It's your turn Doreen, in ya get." She was dumbfounded... "In where?" she asks. Doreen says; "I dont know how to drive this! I have an L-plate but that's in a 3-wheeler 150cc thing." After some instruction off they went, and by days end Doreen was doing 100 mph laps in a DB3S! (Note: Her last car was a Super Charged XJR8 Jaguar and she still held the wheel and 9 & 3... and she left foot brakes!
Doreen knew all the drivers as I already said, some, namely Peter Collins (her favorite) would come in a talk up a storm. Funny fact here, Doreen was at Aston's before many of the now famous drivers, and there was many.
break--- re-editing going on 12/15/2022
At home we have copies of JW's race reports through this historic period of Sports Car Racing (Dickie gave the originals to the AMOC on behalf of John). Looking through these race reports you'll find "DS" at the bottom of the pages, as it was Doreen who typed them up. Aston was a family affair, as Doreen's two brother's also worked at Astons,
In the spring of 1954 a tall lanky young man walked into her office wanting to see JW, said he was here from America and "I want to go racing." Carroll Shelby had driven DB3S/3 at Sebring and was now in the UK to race in some local events. Doreen told him, "You just can't show up, they have rules, so I'll get your entry forms, we'll see about getting you some start money"... and then she went about contacting their suppliers for some tyres, brake parts and motor oil. In May of 1954 Aston entered a number of cars for the Silverstone event, Roy Salvadori was in one of the Coupe's. Roy was the tall one of the group, and quite the comic. When he tried getting into the coupe' prior to the race he couldn't fit, his head hitting the roof. Roy complained it had been built to fit David Brown! So Roy removed the bottom seat cushion and replaced it with his raincoat and off he went. It was a miserable wet day at Silverstone, after the race Doreen rode home in same coupe' with Brian Clayton driving. Their next race would be the 24-hours of Lemans.
Richard Green was born May 15th, 1918 not far from Tower Bridge... From 5 years on he lived with his grand-parents a few doors down. Grand-dad was a great old boy, taking young Richard on a horse drawn carriage he drove all about London. In 1929 Grand-dad took Richard on a train to Portsmouth to see the Dornier X flyboat come to England. It was a huge deal in those days. Richards first job was at a local shop of a Milk & Butter company learning to work on their trucks.
Prior to the war, Richard Green, known as "Dickie", worked in the Patten Office in London as a draftsman doing technical drawings. in 1939 at age 21 he joined the Territorial Guard (Volunteer Army). On Sept 1st, 1939 (21 years to the day of his fathers death in France near the Somme) he was called up. Soon he'd be in the 22nd Armoured Brigade, 46th RTR (Royal Tank Regiment) as a driver. He spent much of 1940 in the south near Yorkshire awaiting the German invasion that never came. Out of no where orders came down that he was needed back at the Patten Office to complete secret drawings on Hamilton Propellers, he was thus discharged temporarily from the army, of course they didn't want to pay him while at the Patten office. At this same period in time, Doreen was experiencing the Blitz in London... to this day she can tell you just by the engine noises what bomber is what. Later Dickie would re-join the army, now 42nd RTR and was soon shipped off to Africa where he became a Desert Rat. Driving a Valentine, Dickie was point tank during what has now become known as the "first battle of El Alemein." It was on Ruawastat Ridge that the New Zealanders (on foot) and the British in their tanks took a terrible beating, the whole of the 42nd RTR was wiped out by Jerry on July 21-22, 1942. Dickie and his mates in the Valentine were captured, Dickie being injured (Jerry doc took care of him). In August they were put aboard one of two ships full of POWs heading to Italy, one ship was torpedoed by a British submarine -it didn't sink but killed some 160 POWs.
While in the Italian camp, which was really just a warehouse, Tommy Swallow and a few others began organizing some of the POWs into motoring activities. They would hand write and draw out all sorts a stories, articles and road tests of the vehicles they loved. Dickie, being the artist he was, was up to his eyes in this endeavor. After a stint in Italy, the Germans came roaring in and grabbed all the POWs after the Ital's gave up the fight in 1943. The POWs were herded into train cars like the Jews of eastern Europe and sent back to Germany, Dickie ended up on the outskirts of Dresden. Some how Tommy was able to collect up all the drawings and smuggled them to Germany, and later home. These would one day be put into a book called Flywheel; Memories of the Open Road by Tommy Swallow and Arthur H. Pill. You can find it on www.amazon.com sometimes. Dickie and Tommy wouldn't see each other again, as they were split up. It's a great book written in a POW camp by British POWs... see letter from Doreen below.
A letter to MotorSport - May 6, 2013
I was just going through deleting old e-mails before departing for England on Saturday, when I came across your e-mail to Michael on April 17th...... particularly about the book " Flywheel."
As you know, Flywheel was the " Muhlberg Motor Club" of Stalag 4B during the 2nd world war. However, it was conceived
in Italy, when, as Prisoners of War, they were transported from North Africa.
My husband, Richard Green (also known as "Dickie"), was one of those prisoners.
My husband was also an avid reader of Motor Sport, from about 1934, if my memory serves me well. When this certain copy arrived in our home in California he was reading a book review of "Flywheel". His comment to me was "I wonder if this is my Tommy Swallow?", and immediately wrote a letter to Motor Sport to try and contact Tommy. Subsequently he received a letter from Tommy. After letters, telephone calls and receipt of the Flywheel, we flew from California to Heathrow and met up with Tommy and his wife Lilly. They were good friends until the end.
Dick and Tom were both taken prisoner by the Germans in July 1942, during the first battle for El Alamein. They were subsequently all rounded up and transported on two Italian ships to Italy, where they were housed in a big metal warehouse. As Tommy retold the story, young men were so desolate they would curl up in a corner and die. Something had to be done to keep them occupied. Tommy and Dick were motor cycle enthusiasts and loved cars. Before long a Committee of twelve was formed and Campo 70 was born. Meetings and discussions were held and the first “Magazine” was published at Campo 70. Articles were written, drawings (some by Dick) were made. There was no lack of talent. This carried on until the Italians capitulated…. An Editorial is written for the magazine….. “We are writing this two days after the announcement of the Armistice. Officially, we are all free men now and very soon we shall be so in reality, so that there is no longer any call for this Magazine. But nobody is going to shed any tears over that, least of all ourselves. We hope, however that we have succeeded in the modest aims stated in our first Editorial; that we have helped to amuse you, to revive pleasant memories, to maintain enthusiasm and possibly to recruit a few new members to the great game. All that remains, therefore, is to wish our fellow Club members a speedy return to a land fit for motorists and motor cyclists to live in!”
They thought they were free……they had walked out of the Camp and hoped that they would meet up with our advancing forces and would go home…… However, they were rounded up by the German forces, loaded into cattle cars and transported to Germany. They ended up in Stalag IVB, Flywheel was born, and remained there until the end of the war. Dick, however, as he was a mechanic and could drive (he drove a tank), together with nineteen others, was sent to a town, south of Dresden, where they were required to work as most of the men in the town had been conscripted into the army. They remained there until one of the air raids on Dresden blew the roof off their camp. They split up into pairs and walked to freedom; Dick and his partner were finally picked up by the advancing Russians, then turned over to the Americans who flew them home. Tommy and the men in Stalag IV were occupied, guards on the fences, by the Russians and were kept captive for a further six weeks.
I asked Tommy how all the paperwork of Flywheel was returned to England. He told me that they saved all the tin cans which had come in the Red Cross parcels, removed both ends, then thread string through them The papers were then rolled up into the cans. The threaded cans were then slung over their shoulders and transported home. Tommy was a remarkable man. The Motor Club was only one of the activities he performed. They also had a Drama group. They made a stage, costumes (the men also played the female parts) and performed regular concerts. He also ordered a violin kit from the Red Cross. This he assembled and “taught” his students how to play. He also told me he had received a Pitman’s Shorthand Manual… he said he thought he was the only person who taught shorthand backwards.
As Tommy later related, he and Dick would walk to fenced yard where they
were being kept prisoner and discuss how they could keep themselves and
the other prisoners occupied. As they were both motor cycle and racing car
enthusiasts, the concept of their magazine, which was , as a copy of one
of issues which I have, called "Quaderno di Campo 70".
When I asked Tommy why he had not included the Italian club with the Stalag IVB book he told me that most of the copies had been lost. He sent Dick a copy of what he did have, This included a drawing of a 1935 AJW "Red Fox", an Allard Special and several others which were drawn by Dick. He also sent a copy of a photograph of the Committee, which included Tommy and Dick, and also sketches of the committee. For me, it was wonderful to see them when they were young.
Tommy was a wonderful man and we remained friends with him and his wife Lilly; we would get together whenever we were in Europe.
I hope you enjoy this little bit of history of these wonderful young men who spent their prime years fighting or in prison who tried to keep up the morale of their fellow prisoners during years of confinement.
By day Dickie worked in a brewery in Germany, and one faithful night the camp gates were swung open and everyone told to get out! The pathfinders had just dropped flares for what would be known as the Thousand Bomber Raid on Dresden. Many of the POWs climbed the nearest hill to watch and root for the bombers! Recaptured a week later, Dickie and his mates were sent to a smaller camp. Ever watch Hogan's Hero's? Remember Sgt Shultz? Dad has a "Sgt Shultz." This old Sgt had served in WWI where he lost an arm, and one day in April 1945 he told the POW's "The war is lost, I'm going home to find my family." He deserted his post! I hope the SS never found him and that he made it home. With that, Dickie, along with Stacy & Harry, his tank mates, took off and headed for Russian lines. First day out Harry left Dickie & Stacy, choosing to go back and get his Frauline in the town near the camp. He was never seen again... when I was 4-1/2 we went to England for Christmas and went to Harry's families candy store, but they hadn't herd from him. Dad always hoped that Harry made it and was living behind the Iron Curtain with his Frauline and a gaggle of kids. Anyway, Dickie & Stacy walked 146 miles until the bumped into the Russian Army. After a five day stay with an English speaking Russian General, they were given over to the American's, who gave them new clothes (they still had on their desert uniforms from the summer of 1942!), and they were flown home on a C54 transport. Dickie was demobbed in August 1946... and riding a 600cc Scott he bought from the regimental Chaplin. At home in the closet was his 1939 Tiger-70 Triumph he uncle had bought him on his 21st Birthday... which he would grass-track where Brands Hatch is today. He always said, "The war shortened my racing career."
After the war... Richard went back to his job as a draftsman at the Patent Office on Chancery Lane, this lasted all but a month. He then exchanged it for a racing career, going to work for Marcus Chambers at North Downs Engineering, which was far more fun. Dickie loved the Victorian era cars. I remember him telling me, that before the war he and his mate would go to park to eat lunch on a nice day and watch the cars. He recalled a red 1930 Aston Martin stopping one day...
In 1948 Dickie joined WADE Engineering, makers of Superchargers, where he'd take care of customers using their blowers on road cars and Grand Prix cars (such as Dennis Poore's Alfa and a brace of ERAs). During his time at WADE Engineering Dickie was at Aston's often while they were fitting a supercharger to a DB3. He was there so much that John Wyer offered him a job. Thus Dickie joined Aston Martin in 1952 and became part of the racing department.
Dickie was clearly the lucky one of the group, as he traveled all over Europe with the race team, driving the cars themselves to/from the tracks and later the transporter. At the races he helped keep the cars going throughout the race, be it LeMans, GoodWood, Monza, or the Isle of Man. In '52 Dickie went to LeMans with Aston Martin where he's take care of Peter Collins in DB3/5. With the DB3 up to 4th place it later retired with diff failure. In December they went to Monza to test... but it was snowing! With Dickie clearing the snow from the track in the "Red Monster" (Lagonda saloon), George Abecassis followed in the DB3. I'd hazard to guess that the Red Monster was quite eye opening through the twin Lesmo's in the snow!
1953; Aston entered two DB3's for the Mille Miglia, Reg Parnell in one, Peter Collins in the other. Weeks prior to the event they went to Italy to practice, here Dickie would ride with Peter Collins, it took them two days to complete the course. Come April Dickie would be running the final refueling stop at L'Aquilia. His friend from Ferrari had saved them a place to park Astons truck down a side street, here they'd hung out with the Ferrari crew for the day. When Reg Parnell & Louis Kelemantaski came roaring in Dickie & Fred Lown went to work. After refueling the car Dickie opened the bonnet to top up the oil, there he noticed the throttle was broken and all the Weber's had been wired flat-out! Reg said; "It broke about 100-miles from the start, been using the ignition switch since." Dickie said he'd fix it, but Reg replied that he didn't have time to wait... and was off. This was the highest place British car ever during the Mille Miglia, finishing 5th overall. Peter had terrible luck, the steering rack had come adrift from its mounts and made the DB3 evil to drive. Peter had wired it back on, as did Reg, and continued on. Upon reaching the finish old JW gave Peter the deathray! Peter barked back and handed John the steering wheel and said, "Well then you drive the bloody thing!" and walked off.
On their way home the team would stop at Monza, Italy to test the new DB3S/1 that Peters father had towed from Feltham. Due to the damage on the DB3's during the Mille, they'd have to be towed home, hence DB3S/1 would have to be driven back to Feltham on the road. JW handed Dickie some money and with his flatcap on he was off. Dickie later said, "It was the best vacation I ever had!"
For the 1954 season Aston Martin would field numerous cars during the year. DB3S/1 was fitted with a Wade supercharger, DB3S/6 & 7 were fitted with Coupe' body work (hoping to improve aero at LeMans), and two V12 Lagonda's. Time not on their side one V12 car was left home, thus opening a spot for DB3S/3 (in '53 spec) which was prepared for Carroll Shelby & Paul Fere. At LeMans Dickie would take care of the #22 Shelby/Fere car, and did so throughout '54 when Dickie & Carroll would go off together to local British sports car races that Aston themselves were not participating in. LeMans wasn't kind to David Brown-Aston Martin in '54. Eric Thompson spun the V12 in the esses early on, Bera flipped the #20 coupe'. as did Jimmy Stewart (Jackies brother) the #21 coupe', Carroll went off twice (the end result a damaged stub-axle). Only Reg in the blown DB3S/1 made it furthest until the head gasket went.
After their LeMans fiasco in '54, Reg Parnell took a DB3S to the Isle of Man for the TT races, taking Eric Hind with him. During practice, where Reg set fastest time, a rear prop-shaft came apart. Having no spares, John called wife Tottie in England, who soon was able to get hold of Dickie. Dickie, along with Fred Schattuck, broke into the race shop and unloaded the transporter which had just arrived home from LeMans. As quickly as they could the pair removed all the prop-shafts from a DB3S, then loaded them into one of the "VMF" DB2's. Dickie set out for Liverpool at speed, tearing his way North to catch a flight to the Isle of Man at dawn. Had it not been for Dickie that night Reg wouldn't have won the next day! While there, Dickie worked on some now very historic cars, such as; the DB2's, the DB3's, built DB3S/1 by hand with John King, DP-cars, and the start of the Grand Prix cars. Dickie also did many miles in these same cars whether it was testing at the local aerodrome or out on race tracks themselves. Today it's unheard of for a mechanic to be on track testing the race cars, but in these days it was the norm. For example, prior to LeMans, the drivers would be relaxing at the hotel in the evening, while the mechanic's would be running flat-out down the Mulsanne in the dark (which was now a public road again) where they would stop and adjust the headlamps, then continue on.
The mechanic's always had a good time, anything for a giggle. With John Wyer in charge it was always his way and no other. At LeMans for example he'd assign a given lap time and maximum rev's permitted to each car. With Roy and Peter there was always friendly competition when on track, once out of sight of JW they'd commence their games. The Aston's were all fitted with tattle-tail Smiths tach, and it was always Roy who'd come in with the highest rev counter reading. So as not to incur the deathray from JW, Roy would reach under the dash and hit the clear button on the tach coming down the pit lane, then blip the throttle and set it to what JW had instructed. At LeMans practice Roy had been out for some time when he was signaled to come in... as he rolled to a stop in his pit box he was fussing about under the dash in an attempt to clear the tattle-tail, he wasn't having much luck. Dickie and John King were standing on the pit counter watching. Dickie says to Roy; "What ya doing Roy?" Roy's getting flustered, even more so now that JW is coming... Dickie says; "Looking for this?" (as Dickie pulls the clear button out of his pocket and shows it to Roy!). The year before at LeMans; Enter one Professor Eberan von Eberhorst. "The Prof" as he was called, had a way with the young ladies. One evening he's romancing a young French girl in the hotel restaurant over dinner. This was a very old hotel that Aston always stayed at, no phones in the rooms, just a string on the wall you'd pull and the little French maid would come up stairs to your room and attend to your wants. Needless to say, while the Prof is romancing this young lady the mechanic's are up in his room jury-rigging this string to the bed. Get where I'm going here? Anyway, later in the evening, this little French maid kept coming up stairs and knocking on his door repeatedly! At LeMans '54, JW had ordered a breakfast team meeting for the Saturday morning prior to the 24-hour race, 8:00am was the time. If JW said 8:00am, you'd better be there at 8:00am! During the night, once the drivers had gone to bed, a few of the mechanic's rearranged all the furniture in the hallway up stairs, thus blocking the doors to the drivers rooms. Come 8:00am all the mechanic's are assembled at the restaurant, but no drivers, and JW is not pleased. Suddenly Salvadori appears... Dickie asks him; "Where'd you come from?" To which Roy replied (while laughing); "I came down the drainpipe!" There are so many stories... if you only knew.
For the 1955 season Marcus Chambers had joined BMC at Abingdon-on-Thames as their Competition director. He asked Dickie to join him there and put him in charged of Customer racing support. Dickie enjoyed his time at MG, where he was involved with the EX182 prototype LeMans cars (soon to be MGA), their sportscar program and the rally cars. Dickie was by then courting Doreen Sherwood, he would arrive one day in a TF, then in a EX182 test car, or even lovely four seater open tourer. Getting ready for LeMans that year Dickie would meet Ken Miles, another British Desert Rat, now living in California. Ken came to Europe to drive an EX182 MG in the 24-Hour race. It was Ken that convinced Dickie to come to California, which would later have a huge impact on the Green & Sherwood families.
After the Monte Carlo Rally, on February 5, 1956; Dickie emigrated to California (Doreen followed in August). In order to enter the USA one would need a sponsor, enter one Ken Miles. A wealthy American was assembling a sports car racing team at that time, and Dickie was coming to California to be part of that team. When he arrived Ken met him at Customs, and shortly thereafter told that the team was no more. With only $27.00 in his pocket, Ken left Dickie at a local Los Angeles motel and told him to go see this joker Tony in the morning. The next day Dickie walked a couple blocks to meet Tony Paravono. During the interview, Tony being Tony, he was being a hardnosed about the job. Suddenly the phone rang, Dickie became part of the conversation. When Tony got off the phone Dickie asked Tony, "Who was on the phone, if you don't mind me asking?" "It was that goddamn Shelby!" Tony said. Thus Dickie was employed by Paravono taking care of his Ferrari's, and in a very short time was the Shop Foreman. One of the first people Dickie meets during his first week in America is local car nut who drives up in a DB2, named Bob Hammel, Uncle Bob to me. Bob & Gina didn't like the fact that Dickie was living in a local motel and home alone, so they'd come around and pick him up after work and take him to dinner or a local party... they became great friends.
In April Doreen came to America, and she too would need a sponsor, Tony Paravono was that sponsor! Like any new resident Dickie had to get a California drivers license. You'd never believe it but, Dickie went in Tony's 250 TDF Ferrari! (This same car can be seen a few pages into this section). One day a young kid in a leather jacket riding a motorcycle comes into the shop and chats up Dickie... this was a young Dan Gurney. Dickie convinced Tony to test Dan at Willow Springs in the "coupe", meaning the TDF Ferrari. During the test all was going well until Dan went off the road a blew a hole in the fuel tank. Tony went mad! As Doreen tells it, he was standing next to her, he got very vocal and nasty... "Get that goddamn kid out of my site!" (when I saw Dan at Willow Spring in 1997 -I think- I was there racing my Ducati's and he'd come to watch... we talked about that test all those years before. Dan said, "It was the only job I was ever lost."
It wasn't long before the tax many caught up with Tony and the place closed down. Dickie had to find something to do. Now enter Joe Lubin, who Dickie knew from David Brown dealings in England. Joe had two DB3S' and a Cooper which Dickie would take care of.
During this time Dickie & Doreen had a wonderful time! They bought a XK140XMC from Joe Lubin, traveled about California to the races and met some of the (now great) drivers of that time. Carroll and Ken they already knew, now enter Dan Gurney, Skip Hudson, Phil Hill, Bobby Drake, Masten Gregory, Lance Reventlow, Steve McQueen, and mums favorite... Ritchie Ginther. Ritchie use to come to lunch every Sunday (when not racing) at Dickie & Doreen's where he'd get Doreen to make Tuna Casserole!
In April '58 Richard & Doreen would move to Northern California where Richard took the position of "Resident Engineer" for Aston Martin (David Brown Tractor NA), then based in San Lorenzo, CA. JW wasn't please Dickie & Doreen had a Jaguar and ordered the XK140 be sold! Hence Dickie would receive a company Aston to drive. The only other Aston employee to have an Aston for a company car was David Brown! I grew up in Aston's... (below are the two company cars of Richard Green, taken in 2006 at Laguna Seca) having come home for the first time in a MkII Notchback (right) that still lives in Vallejo, CA; and the '59 DB2/4 MkIII, #AM300/3/1661.
I made many a trip in the back of Aston's all over the western states. During the summer months we'd run at night to avoid the heat. The 1959 MkIII was Richard's last company car in 1959/60. My first race was the 1958 Los Angeles Times Grand Prix. Richard was there helping with the works DBR1 Moss was driving... and later the DBR2 with Salvadori in the '59 event. In 1960 Aston closed their California office, moving everything back east (He'd sold the tractor division), and Doreen wasn't moving to the snow belt, thus Dickie, or should I say, now "Richard" found himself unemployed.
In 1959 a young man walks into the David Brown Tractor office on Davis St looking for information on an Aston Martin he wanted to buy. There was a MkIII for sale in southern California and it turns out that Richard had delivered it when new to Ricky Nelson, his mother Harriet had signed for it. George Newell would in deed buy the car, and because of this chance meeting, George and Richard would become life time best friends! Over the many years the duo rebuilt more DB3S engines than anyone on earth... plus three complete restorations. The last engine they did together was in DB3S/115 (one of Joe Lubins cars, which is now for sale in the UK).
In February 1960 Richard joined the Rover Motor Company of North America Ltd (Shaw Rd, South San Francisco, CA) as their Service Manager (and parts manager), and later became the Product Development Engineer for North America. Richard built the first ever V8 Land Rover in 1966 (see GoldenRod Story), hence the Land Rover's on this site. Richard retired in late 1989 from Jaguar Cars Inc (Service Manager, Northwest Zone, Brisbane, CA). Many name changes took place over the years; from Rovers, to Leyland Motor Sales, to British Leyland, Jaguar-Rover-Triumph (JRT Inc), to Jaguar Cars Inc. His office never changed, just the name on the door. In retirement Richard was a common sight at West Coast British, fiddling with Land Rover's and Aston Martin's... he always enjoyed working on these lovely cars, and on my team of racing motorcycles.
In the early 1960's, when I was just a little guy, my dad & Chris Coburn had acquired a couple of cars, one being a 1932 1-1/2 Litre LeMans (short chassis) Aston Martin... which, as my mother claims, "You'd think it was Michael's car, and he was the only one allowed to ride in it!" So true too! Richard restored it 100% and had Moeller Bros paint it GoldenRod yellow, like their tow trucks! During our first outing at the 1964 Peacock Gap Concourse we took 2nd place. There were many seconds, this due to the fact that it was yellow and not British Racing Green, even at Pebble Beach in '65 we were second, while Chris' 4-1/2 Litre Bentley that dad overhauled won Best of Day! The Aston did take a "Best of Day" at Cal State Hayward Concourse in 1965 though. We drove the Aston everywhere, whether it was around Hayward (CA), to Sacramento and back, and even to Pebble Beach. Coming home from Pebble in 1965 we'd just made it to Highway 101 when the sky opened up. The Aston had no top, so dad snapped the cover over me, pulled up his collar and down his hat and we were off! Must have taken him weeks to clean the thing. The saddest day of my life was when I was told they'd sold it. Maybe one day I'll buy it back!
In the early 1970's George Newell & Richard found a MkIII from a used car lot in Oakland, California. Upon opening the bonnet they found it to be AM300/3/1661, the last company car Richard had at Aston's. Soon thereafter it was bought by Richard & Doreen, then restored by Richard during the 70s/80s; We still own it today. It's most recent outing being to Monterey Motorsports Reunion & Danville Parkinson's Concourse. A lifetime member of the Aston Martin Owners Club, Richard became the Chairman of AMOC-West from 1969-79.
Speaking of the danville-delegance.org Richard was a great supporter of this event, and for good reason, he had Parkinson's. In fact so did a number of his friends; Phil Hill, George Newell, and David Love. Of the four, only David is left. Dad passed away in December 2008, Phil in August 2008 and George in Sept 2007. Three grand Gentlemen that didn't deserve to go this way... Hence our family supports this wonderful car event every year, with Kerry is on the Board of Directors, mum either bidding at the auction or arranging for items to be sold at the auction, and myself bringing numerous cars every year.
For those who have asked; YES!, I was (still am) a car nut since day one! I always dreamed of driving F1 & CanAm sports cars, but the opportunity never arose. I had hoped to drive the then current British Leyland sponsored Group-44 Jag XJR5 at one point, but BL pulled their plug not long after I won Daytona on my 250 and then talked with Bob about it... thus I kept racing motorcycles. Carroll Shelby once said to me; "When are you going to quit racing those xxxdamn motorcycles? Their dangerous!" I raced motorcycles from 1973-2008; starting out on dirt bikes and then went road racing in 1978. From 1984 on wards I was racing both MX & RR during the same season and won a lot of races & championships. Having always wanted to race cars, in October 2005 I did send my resume to Pro-Drive regarding the DBR9 LeMans car! No luck there. So in 2008 I bought a tired MGB race car and restored it. Since 2010 I've been racing the MG in SCCA EP, and won two races in 2011 with it. For my racing career, click on the motorcycle picture below.
If you continue to hit "NEXT" you'll navigate your way through some great photos, now history. I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane. Michael Green revised Feb 2013
Sept 2008: I just bought an MG race car!
December 2008: On a sad note, Richard "Dickie" Green passed away at age 90+ from Parkinson's.
July 2010: Our WCBR-MGB made it's debut in SCCA "EP" and finished 3rd!
Feb 2014: We're finally restoring the MGB GT racer... Complete Feb 2015
Photos are from the Richard F. Green collection & WCBR collection. Some photos we do not know who the original photographer is/was... so tell us, nor do we know some of the copyright holders due to age of these photographs Any information would be welcome and credit given.
Copyright 2004-2017WCBR. All Rights Reserved
Above: from November 1965 at Cotati Racewway, the ROVER-BRM Gas Turbine race car, which just finished 10th OA @ LeMans with Graham Hill & Jackie Stewart is now in Sunny California! Richard Green in climbing in to do some laps with Michael (at left). Earlier Michael had done laps with Peter Candy of Rover Motor Co Solihull England. Car would appear at San Francisco Imported Car Show on Thanksgiving Week 1965 at Brooks Hall.
Below: Shows Rcihard re-fueling Peter Collins at LeMans...
or use page links for your viewing pleasure:
Postwar AM1952/53 AM1954 AM1955 MG1955 Ferrair1956 CA1956 CA1958/59 Bob Hammel's cars
AM300/3/1661 1958 on AM1959 Bluebird 1960 Our 1932 Aston 1964 Virginia City Hill Climb DB3S: #117 #104 #113
OKV3 Jaguar Friends 1 thru 3 John King before Aston's RFG Motorcycles
AMOC 1960s AMOC Hillsborough 2005 AM-2005
Racing Stories Parkinson's Danville-Parkinson's Cars MG gets an MG MG Project British Leyland
Great Racing Engines Tamed Racing Driver aka STIG
Monterey Historics & Reunion Monterey MotorSports Reunion 2011
Monterey Motorsports Reunion 2012
Danville d'Elegance 2012
Monterey Motorsports Reunion 2013
Danville Tour & d'Elegance 2013
Other links worth visiting;
Aston Martin and Lagonda unofficial pages Aston Martin Picture Gallery Aston Martin Owners' Club Aston Martin.Biz
West Coast British Racing Today at Tam's Old Race Car Site Aussie Road Racing
http://www.classicscars.com/chassis/aston.htm Racing Models
click on below photos for links to...
Below: Just found! From Riverside 1959; Roy in center, then Dickie & Ken Miles (in straw hat).