Chris Nixon died suddenly on June 5th 2005 aged 67. He was at his desk writing away as usual. Chris will be remembered as a writer whose ability to unearth remarkable personal details and insights was legendary. He would interview everybody that had been involved and cross reference all the facts before he put pen to paper. He moved in rather elevated company, even though he never really seemed to appreciate the fact, and gathered signatures for his books from the likes of Enzo Ferrari, Stirling Moss, Tony Brooks and so on. Many of these heroes became personal friends.
Chris was born in London but spent much of his childhood in Penshurst, Kent. He went to Haileybury College (1952-55) and started his journalistic career as a cub reporter for Autosport in the late 1950’s. By 1970 he had changed direction and went into the film and TV industry as a publicist. Here he once again quietly blended in with the top stars and producers of the day. He left the industry in some style after falling out with Sean Penn and Madonna on a film called ‘Shanghai Surprise’ and came home from Hong Kong rather earlier expected ! This rather abrupt change of fortune meant that he could now concentrate fully on writing about the subject he loved .. motorsport.
Modern F1 motor racing was simply not his thing, instead he concentrated on the pre-war years through to the fifties and sixties. With his encyclopaedic knowledge of historic motor racing, and the contacts he made while working for Autosport, he was able to write accurate and informative articles for various magazines and scripts for Terrific Stuff. He wrote the words for Lap of The Gods, Racing The Silver Arrows and Return of The Silver Arrows. He was a stickler for accuracy and a mine of information. One of his greatest regrets was that he never managed to get either of the film scripts he had written turned into movies.
Chris never married and had no relatives alive at the time of his death, so, unusually, he was the ‘last of Nixon line’. He was a fiercely independent character who ploughed his own furrow, and while he could be thoroughly gregarious and charm the birds from the trees, he did not suffer fools gladly and could make that fact abundantly clear on occasions. He was without doubt a remarkable and talented individual who will be sadly missed.
Chris Nixon 1938-2005