Gordon Spice combined his colourful and successful business life with a 23-year professional motor sport career. Here is the life story of one of the last generation of top racing drivers who smoked like troopers, drank like fish and never went near a gym. A wickedly witty, and often politically incorrect, story of a time when drivers were extrovert, accessible to the fans and were still allowed to say what they thought.
In both his business and racing careers, Gordon Spice's priority was to make money whilst having fun. Along the way, he had a glittering driving career, created his own car accessory empire and became a successful racing car constructor. Never one to take himself too seriously, his successes often surprised those around him, including his wives!
Gordon Spice came from a privileged background, in an era of chauffeurs, nannies and gentleman farmers. He describes his rebellious Public School years and his growing awareness of the fairer sex, which led to engagement at 18 and marriage at 21 (though not to the same lady!). In the fifties he became a 'ten pound Pom' and flourished in Australia, before being repatriated and sent to the USA to learn the family cocoa business. After being fired by his father for fiddling business expenses, he sold encyclopaedias and earned enough to buy his first racing car. He went on to work for the famous Downton Engineering at the height of their Mini tuning days. This led to his first paid 'works' drive - something he would have happily done for nothing.
After his Mini successes of the sixties and many Capri victories in the seventies, he went on to win an unprecedented four consecutive FIA World Endurance Drivers' titles in the eighties, driving sportscars produced by the engineering company he founded. Despite his many business commitments, he found time to compete in over 300 National and International races, including 27 24-hour races, 14 of them at Le Mans.
After opening his first automotive shop in the mid-sixties, his innovative ideas led to rapid expansion of his business and he became known in the motor trade as the car accessory king. In the prosperous Thatcher years, after annual sales had reached a profitable £20m, he took his company public on the London Stock Exchange. He describes the highs and lows of chairing a PLC, trying to adapt to the City culture of the eighties, and ultimately failing.
Life of Spice includes entertaining, politically incorrect, wickedly witty recollections of the racing and business scene in Europe, Australia, USA and the Caribbean from the sixties to the eighties. This is the story of a talented entrepreneur who lived life to the full, and pushed his luck to the limits. Neither success nor failure were ever far away.
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