Farewell to a Legend

New Zealand Classic Car - - Editorial -

At about 5.30pm on Wed­nes­day, Au­gust 3, we re­ceived a press re­lease to say that Chris Amon had passed away ear­lier that day. As the news was be­ing re­layed to me, it took me sev­eral sec­onds to reg­is­ter what I’d just heard. Just to make sure, I had to read the press re­lease a cou­ple of times, hop­ing that, some­how, the news had been mis­in­ter­preted.

Sadly, it was true — one of our great­est mo­tor rac­ing le­gends had gone, and as a few of us stood around the Ed­i­to­rial of­fice in ut­ter shock, I still found it hard to believe.

The fol­low­ing morn­ing — the day be­fore this is­sue went to print — we de­cided to re­hash the en­tire mag­a­zine, and put to­gether a fit­ting trib­ute to cel­e­brate the life of Chris Amon.

It seemed like only only yes­ter­day I was sit­ting in his lounge, in­ter­view­ing him about his ca­reer, and at the same time he was re­united with the BMW 3.0CSL — dubbed the ‘Bat­mo­bile’ — af­ter 38 years. This was the very car that he shared with Hans-joachim Stuck dur­ing the Euro­pean Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship (ETCC) se­ries back in 1973.

Af­ter a close ex­am­i­na­tion of the car in which he and Stuck had won the 1973 Nür­bur­gring Six Hour, I sat down with Chris, and was trans­ported back to a time when driv­ers such as Jackie Ste­wart, Niki Lauda, Jochen Mass, and James Hunt all vied for tour­ing-car hon­ours.

It was the very first time I’d met Chris, and he treated me like I was a long-lost friend. Warm, kind, and gen­er­ous with his time, he sat with me for a few hours rem­i­nisc­ing about his won­der­ful ca­reer, while re­main­ing hum­ble at the same time. Alas, the few hours I spent with Chris went by in a flash, leav­ing me with many ques­tions that I wanted to ask. I could have eas­ily sat lis­ten­ing to him for hours as he rem­i­nisced about his ca­reer, but as the old cliché goes — all good things must come to an end.

As part of our trib­ute to Chris, we’ve re­run the full in­ter­view, along with spe­cial trib­utes from Donn An­der­son and Michael Clark, who have kindly shared their own per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences with Chris over the years.

Chris Amon was a man much re­spected and ad­mired in New Zealand and around the world — a Kiwi legend, and one of the world’s great­est ever race driv­ers. Rest peace­fully.

Ash­ley Webb


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