When Guild General Secretary Melissa Chadderton forwarded to News Briefs editor Andrew Charman a letter from Thomas O’Connor, seeking help tracing the provenance of a badge in his possession, both of us thought it looked oddly familiar but couldn’t recall where we’d seen it before.
Where became obvious as soon as we published the story in the 5th August edition of News Briefs – it adorns the front of the Guild’s Driver of the Year trophy!
The badge can clearly be seen in the picture above from the 2018 awards, recipient Billy Monger with then Guild Chair Richard Aucock and the late Paddy Hopkirk.
However the mystery of where the badge originally came from remains unsolved. While we can’t be sure how long it has been on the Guild trophy it goes back a long way – committee member Andrew Noakes forwarded a link to a picture of Juan-Manuel Fangio receiving the same trophy in 1957 together with a theory that perhaps the winner was once given a medallion in the same style to keep.
Immediately after the presentation evening the original trophy goes straight back into its display cabinet, today housed at the National Motor Museum.
Adding credence to this theory is the Guild’s former Hon Secretary Chris Adamson, who recalled that a batch of replicas of the large trophy using the badge design were made for the Guild, he thinks by Bentley, and presented to the Driver of the Year to keep each year until we ran out of them.
“(I have) no idea where the original design for the trophy came from, it was well before my time and if smaller versions were made, it could be the smaller badge was the inspiration for the main trophy,” Chris added. So the mystery continues…