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My Life with Tony

Tony Brooks shared this Aston Martin DBR1 with Stirling Moss at Sebring in 1958, but they retired. Photo: Ed McDonough Collection

I was a student at the University of Grenoble, when I became very friendly with the children of the organizer of the sports car races at Le Mans. This would be in July 1956. I was invited to go to the Le Mans 24 Hour race because I could speak English, French, and Italian. I was mainly needed to talk to the team members and mechanics of the Ferrari and Maserati teams. It proved very helpful on both sides; if a mechanic needed help, I could translate to the organizers exactly what he required, and vice versa.

Pina Brooks
Pina Brooks

The British Aston Martin team had entered a number of cars for Tony [Brooks], Stirling Moss, and Peter Collins to drive. I took notice of this rather handsome man, Tony, and he seemed to like me. So, it was that race that initially brought us together. Our relationship developed further as I became friends with Totti Wyer, wife of the Aston Martin team manager, John Wyer. She heard me talking in Italian and asked if I could help her learn the language. We spoke, and I told her that I had to come to the British Museum in London to complete some research for my thesis. It was agreed that I would visit the Wyers each weekend. We met mostly at motor racing circuits like Goodwood, Silverstone, Oulton Park, and Brands Hatch. Of course, each time I went to a racetrack, I saw Tony, who was a regular member of the Aston Martin sports car team. That initial casual meeting at Le Mans developed over time. As we spent much time together, our relationship went on from an initial friendship to two years later getting married. We have been together ever since. However, it took two years to see if Tony’s English background and my Italian background would be compatible. Marriage, particularly between people of different backgrounds, is something that shouldn’t be entered into lightly. In our situation, it was a marriage of cultures as well as a marriage of people.

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