What’s on this week

Autosport (UK) - - CONTENTS - GRA­HAM KEIL­LOH

Spe­cial­ist mo­tor­sport mem­o­ra­bilia shops are rare. So He­lens­burgh – a coastal town 25 miles from Glas­gow – may seem an un­likely lo­ca­tion for an ex­am­ple of this rare breed. Yet there you’ll find Auch Aye, which opened ear­lier this year. Its lo­ca­tion has a mo­tor­sport link, al­beit an un­canny one: it’s on the street where Jackie Ste­wart met his wife He­len on a blind date.

John Black, who runs Auch Aye, has his own mo­tor­sport his­tory. He at­tended Chirn­side Pri­mary School at the same time as Jim Clark. He had a rac­ing ca­reer too, after mov­ing to Van­cou­ver in 1964. Black has, among other things, com­peted against Mike Hail­wood on two wheels and against fu­ture Indy­car rac­ers Mike Hiss, Tom Gloy and Den­nis Fire­stone.

He quit rac­ing in 1975 and moved into mo­tor­sport re­tail. First he worked as a pho­to­jour­nal­ist at north-west Amer­i­can race meet­ings, pri­mar­ily selling pho­tos di­rectly to driv­ers. So that his cus­tomers could browse the im­ages when­ever it was con­ve­nient, Black set up an awning in the cen­tre of the pad­dock. With that came a temp­ta­tion to di­ver­sify. “I started selling T-shirts, model cars, books,” he says.

And Black was in a fruit­ful place. “It was the golden era of sportscar rac­ing in North Amer­ica,” he con­tin­ues. “All the Bri­tish stars tended to come across and there was also For­mula At­lantic. We had Keke Ros­berg com­pet­ing, Gilles Vil­leneuve was a star. I was min­gling with these folk as they were de­vel­op­ing their race­craft.”

That was par­tic­u­larly true of Ros­berg, who took a shine to one par­tic­u­lar

pub­li­ca­tion. “I got Au­tosport air­mailed from Lon­don and he was im­me­di­ately in­ter­ested in buy­ing it, be­cause it re­ported what he’d been do­ing the week be­fore,” Black says.

But as tracks started charg­ing more for re­tail space, Black had to move his cat­a­logue and con­tacts and switch over to mail or­der, fa­cil­i­tated by the in­ter­net. In 2000 he sold his busi­ness and en­acted his long-time aim to re­turn to Scot­land. He moved to He­lens­burgh, where he’d lived be­fore and briefly gone to school, to be near his fa­ther.

Re­cently a chance arose to get into re­tail again, for the first time in a shop. “There was a prop­erty avail­able and I’d main­tained con­tact with peo­ple,” Black ex­plains.

“I’ve still got the in­ter­est.”

The breadth of those con­tacts is re­flected in an im­pres­sive ar­ray of items for sale, in­clud­ing pho­tos by Pete Lyons, who cov­ered For­mula 1 for Au­tosport in the 1970s, prints by Michael and Gra­ham Turner, and Brumm and BBR model cars. Black also has many books in­clud­ing those rare and out of print – one framed Clark book, Life at Team Lo­tus by Peter Dar­ley, is priced at £1500.

Black also show­cases his wares in a newsagent in Duns, where The Jim Clark Room is be­ing re­built to mark the 50th an­niver­sary of his death. “Peo­ple will still come to visit Duns look­ing for some me­mento of Jim Clark,” he says.

Black se­lects items to dis­play in He­lens­burgh based on his read­ing of the Scot­tish mar­ket – and this also mostly re­lates to Clark. “Peo­ple that are in­ter­ested in buy­ing some­thing, it’s been mo­tor­sport fans – peo­ple who re­mem­ber Jim Clark or knew about Jim Clark.

“There’s an on­go­ing fond­ness for the man. I can’t think of any other pub­lic per­son­al­ity who would gen­er­ate that sort of en­thu­si­asm 50 years after their death.”

There’s also Ste­wart in­ter­est, par­tic­u­larly since JYS is a lo­cal boy. But Black at­tracts clien­tele from far and wide – he’s had cus­tomers from Seat­tle and the Nether­lands.

For the most part, he re­sists hav­ing an at­tach­ment to his items, but he does ad­mit a fond­ness for one par­tic­u­lar group.

“The Jim Clark pho­to­graphs of Pete Lyons,” he says when asked to name a favourite. “They re­flect their era. One of the pho­to­graphs has Keith Duck­worth who de­signed and built the Cos­worth DFV. It’s also got Colin Chap­man, his wife Hazel, and Jim Clark on it. That’s a very iconic im­age.”

“I CAN’T THINK OF ANY OTHER PER­SON WHO GEN­ER­ATES AS MUCH IN­TER­EST 50 YEARS ON”

Jim Clark re­tains en­dur­ing pop­u­lar­ity in the mo­tor­sport mem­o­ra­bilia fir­ma­ment

Black’s shop re­vis­its his pad­dock pres­ence dur­ing 1970s and ’80s

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