Lance Macklin

Lance Macklin. Copyright LAT Photographic (www.latphoto.co.uk), 2010. Used with permission.

Lance Macklin. Copyright LAT Photographic 2010. Used with permission.


02 Sep 1919
Kensington, London


29 Aug 2002
Tenterden, Kent


Great Britain

Grands Prix:

13 (1952-1955)

Son of Noel Macklin, who ran the Invicta sports car company, Lance naturally progressed to the sport, but he tried other sports first - at Eton, where he studied, he was a flyweight boxer, and then lived in Argentina to work as a gaucho on a hacienda, and played polo. When he returned to the UK, he ski-ied, and attempted to make the British Olympic team before both injury and World War Two intervened. Lance served in the Royal Navy in World War Two, serving in a gunboat manufactured by his father. After World War Two, he became a partner in Chipstead Motors, buying and selling pre-war cars kept safe in barns during the hostilities. This led to him starting racing. A very capable driver, one of Britain's best between 1950-1955, his involvement - minor as it was - in the Le Mans disaster of 1955, plus a Tourist Trophy race in Dundrod later that year where he crashed to avoid an accident that two drivers died in, meant that Macklin quit the sport there and then. However he retained some links with the sport as he developed a rotating clearscreen visor for racing drivers to help them see clearly in wet races, and it was worn by a few drivers as a trial for some while in the mid 1960's including Graham Hill. Macklin, who was a charming man for whom racing was largely fun than anything too serious, worked for the Facel Vega car firm in Paris as head of export sales. Lance also later worked in Ireland, London and New Zealand, but it was after he tried to establish a fish and chicken restaurant in Otaki, with little success, that he endured financial difficulties from which he never really recovered, living at one stage on a boat near Twickenham on the River Thames. In 1979, he moved to a farmhouse near Alicante, Spain, rebuilding the house to be as ecologically sustainable as possible, some decades before that became fashionable. He remained there almost for the rest of his life, but glaucoma, memory loss and other illnesses caused by heavy drinking, meant he was put in a rest home in Tenterden. He passed away in 2002, just days before his birthday.

Biography last updated 2 Aug 2022