Belfast Telegraph

Crossle's hidden glory brought to view in new book

By Sammy Hamill

John Crossle believed if he built good, competitive racing cars they would sell themselves. However, he was persuaded his fledgling company could sell even more by publicising their success and Plum Tyndall was hired as their first marketing consultant.

Tyndall was welcomed on board by Crossle with the words: "I don't know what you do Plum but I'm told you are very good at it."

How much Tyndall's efforts contributed to the success of the Crossle Car Company is not known but, many years down the line, it has resulted in a glossy book which chronicles the history of the oldest production racing car company still in existence.

'Hidden Glory' was launched on board the SS Nomadic in Belfast yesterday, its unveiling coming little more than a week after John Crossle passed away aged 83.

But many men who had driven Crossles in the past, including John Watson, Martin Donnelly, Tommy Reid and Nelson Todd, were there at the book launch, along with members of the Crossle family.

Watson, who drove several of the Crossle products in his pre-grand prix days, talked about "honest cars built by honest people" and Donnelly recalled sneaking out of his boarding school to race his 32F Formula Ford Crossle before he was even old enough to hold a driving licence.

But the title 'Hidden Glory' was not chosen by accident. It reflects what Tyndall describes as a "discrete little company" started by engineering genius Crossle back in the late Fifties which, despite its worldwide success including winning the European Formula Ford championship, saw little need to blow its own trumpet.

It reflects, too, the difficulty many people had in finding its base tucked away beside the Crossle home at Rory's Wood in the Holywood hills.

It was where Crossle and his team turned out more than 1,000 racing cars which were mostly exported to America and Europe.

'Hidden Glory' has been produced by Booklink and costs £60.

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