GUY ANTHONY ‘TONY’ VANDERVELL
1898 – 1967
This local businessman turned his hobby of motor racing into a world class sporting venture.
Tony Vandervell was a millionaire industrialist who made his money manufacturing metal engine bearings. His business at Cox Green, Vandervell Products, provided employment for many Maidonians from 1949 until the 1990s. The profits allowed Tony to indulge his passion for racing.
As a young man, Tony’s hobby was motorcycle racing. He had moderate success at this and competed at the TT races in the Isle of Man. In 1945 he was associated with BRM, but left that venture to pursue his own dream of building a British car to beat the Italians.
In 1954, Tony built the Vanwall racing car. Anxious to see the British Racing Green triumphant on the Grand Prix circuit, he entered it at Silverstone where it won the International Trophy.
Tony set a high standard in motor racing – winning 9 Grand Prix races and the Manufacturers Championship in 1958. He was fortunate to have among his team the legendary Stirling Moss.
The Vanwall raced for four years, but the strain of the enterprise took a toll on Tony’s health – he collapsed with exhaustion in 1958 and never fully recovered.
Tony was a very charitable man and gave generously to many projects and charities. He endowed a lecture theatre at the Royal College of Surgeons, the Vandervell Lecture Theatre, and gave a 54-04 Arun class lifeboat to Weymouth Lifeboat Service.
Tony died in 1967, just seven weeks after marrying for the second time. Vandervell Products has now moved from Maidenhead, but the site has been developed as a business park, fittingly named Vanwall Business Park.
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