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Danny Margulies, 1925–2010

Photo: John Pearson

Danny Margulies was but a boy when he visited his home Grand Prix of Bucharest in 1937 and first opened his eyes to motor racing, a subsequent move to London with his family not diminishing either his intention to race or his accent! He must have been born with an entrepreneurial spirit, as he found a way to buy an Austin Chummy while only 15 years old, quickly trading up to a 3-Liter Bentley by 1939, before he even had his driving license! The Bentley became a Type 39A Bugatti, which finally gave him his first taste of competition at Prescott before the Talbot sports car brought him to more public recognition with spectacular displays at Goodwood.

From the word go, Dan’s career was driven by enthusiasm. No matter what the situation was he would find a way to go racing, be it borrowing a car, getting finance, working out a clever sale, involving a friend or fellow race driver – Dan would race, no matter what. Be it driving his Lotus 8 around Europe surviving only on start money, sharing his Jaguar C-Type, shod with three Dunlops and a Pirelli, with future World Champion Graham Hill on the Targa Florio, or later in a Ferrari 250 GTO with his good friend David Piper.

As a true gentleman driver and “garagiste” he often raced outdated machinery with great success, beating far more modern competition. This success followed him to every discipline to which he turned his hand, be it Grand Prix cars, sports racing cars or rally cars in the Monte Carlo, Acropolis and RAC rallies.

Dan was in many ways the Godfather of the old car world, being a constant backdrop for over 60 years, bringing epic cars from all over the world back to the Mews, trading them from country to country. He was a true pioneer of his trade who, along the way, encouraged, nurtured and fostered the careers and companies of many, myself included.

In latter months, Dan hated the thought of not being useful, not being involved in a deal, not being able to talk about cars and racing. He never saw himself as old and he fought his ill health with the support of close friends. Dan, we’ll miss you.

By Gregor Fisken