We were very saddened to learn of the death of the inimitable Paddy Hopkirk MBE, who passed away peacefully on Thursday 21st July at the ripe old age of 89.
One the best rally drivers ever to emerge from the United Kingdom, he cut his motorsport teeth in his native Northern Ireland aboard a VW Beetle. Works drives then ensued with Triumph and Rootes. However, the turning point in his brilliant career came with joining BMC in 1962. Ongoing success in both rallies and races followed, but it was his stunning outright victory in the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally for which he will be best remembered – a result that not only cemented his own place at the top of the rally tree, but put the Mini on the international map. It also earned him a telegram from the Beatles that read ‘It’s nice to be No.1 isn’t it?’ and a starring appearance (together with co-driver Henry Liddon and their winning Mini-Cooper S) on the blockbuster TV show Sunday Night at the London Palladium.
From then onwards Paddy Hopkirk and the car he made famous were inextricably linked, and nobody has done more to keep the flame of the classic Mini alive. Said BMH’s Managing Director Graham Payne: “If it wasn’t for Paddy’s ongoing promotion of the model, we definitely wouldn’t be selling as many parts for the car as we still do! A true gentleman, he will be greatly missed by all who knew him. We offer our heartfelt condolences to his wife Jenny, daughter Katie and sons Patrick and William.”
Back To News