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Celebrating 80 Years - 1939-2019

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Opening of the Jack French Garage - Sunday 21st July 2019

Fri 14 Jun 2019

Jack French was one of the founding members of the 750 Motor Club who, together with Holland Birkett, drafted the original 750 Formula that promoted low cost motor racing for the 'impecunious enthusiast' on the disused aerodromes of 1949 (including RAF Silverstone). Jack vigorously promoted the 750 Formula by building and regularly competing in ‘Simplicity’: an Austin 7 based Formula car built with the minimum of expenditure over a few weekends; thoroughly documented in the 750 Bulletin magazine. The Formula flourished and fostered the talents of many famous names who went on to create today’s British Motorsport including Colin Chapman (Lotus F1), John Cooper (Cooper F1) and Bruce McLaren (McLaren F1).

Jack’s original garage, in which he built 750 race cars, has been found in amazingly original condition, painstakingly restored and relocated - in a project managed by 750MC member and Historic 750 Formula racer Charlie Plain-Jones - to the Atwell Wilson Motor Museum where it will form a permanent exhibition to parts played by the Austin 7 and the 750MC in creating today’s British motorsport success. 

The exhibition tells the story of early Garagiste motorsport in austerity Britain of the 1950s with memorabilia from the period including many hand tools as Jack had to work without mains electricity for many years! A documentary video by Peter Snow will tell everyone the amazing story of how the little Austin 7 helped put Lewis Hamilton where he is today.

The centrepiece is an Austin 7 rolling chassis from the 1930s, which formed the backbone of the 750 Formula, one side of which is standard Austin in black paint while the offside has all Jack’s modifications fitted in his signature yellow paint finish. The authenticity of these modifications is assured because the team in Lincoln who have constructed it are lead by Graham Beckett who currently owns and regularly competes in Jack’s original Simplicity. Known as the ‘50:50 car’ this rolling chassis can be sat in, particularly by young visitors, who can see clearly exactly how the steering, brakes and gears work and hence encourage the next generation to follow Jack’s lead into motorsport.

The Jack French garage will be officially opened by his son Roger (who is flying in from Texas for the event) at 12.00 noon on Sunday 21st July and will be part of a major gathering of Austin 7s from the Bristol A7 Club. 750 Motor Cliub members are all oinviteed to join or visit in due course; the display can be found at:

The Atwell Wilson Motor Museum
Stockley Lane
Calne
Wiltshire  
SN11 0NF

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