JOHN GODFREY PARRY THOMAS 1884 - 1927
John Godfrey Parry-Thomas was the son of a vicar and born in Wrexham in April 1884. John was fascinated with engineering and studied the subject at college in London. After numerous jobs he became the chief Engineer at Leyland Motors. Leyland Motors investigated the possibility of building a massive luxury car. The imposing motorcar, the Leyland Eight, was dubbed the 'Lion of Olympia' when shown at the 1920 Motor show in London. The cars were expensive and only eight were built. John Parry-Thomas tested each Leyland Eight to 100 mph before delivery.
Babs with Parry Thomas, Brooklands 1926
LEFT: Parry-Thomas and Malcolm Campbell were LSR rivals RIGHT: Babs restored
As the competition for the record increased Parry-Thomas
wanted another crack at it; he knew Henry
Seagrave was to attempt a run for 200 mph, in Florida. He arrived back
in Pendine, unwell with 'Flu', in March 1927 and with the assistance of
Shell and Dunlop staff began to prepare the car for a run on the beach.
After the usual start and warm up procedures had been followed great uncle
set off up the beach on a timed run. The car skidded, turned over and over
and then slewed round to face the sea. The scene for those first to arrive
was not pretty, Parry-Thomas was still in the car, partially decapitated and
burned. The car was on fire and in order to retrieve the body from the
blazing wreck two of Parry-Thomas's crew had the unpleasant task of breaking
the legs of the corpse before the fire prevented them reaching it. The
coroner's verdict was accidental death and Parry-Thomas was buried in
Surrey. The car was buried in a big hole on the beach and that could have
been the end of the story.
The Sunbeam Blue Bird and Babs, July 2015
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