John Chatham – ‘Mr Big Healey’

The Official Biography

The authorised biography of one of the best-liked bad boys in British motorsport, John Chatham - driver, racer, repairer, rebuilder, tuner, trader and lover of Austin-Healeys. John is so synonymous with Austin-Healeys that the most famous racing Healey in the world, DD300, is so well-known mainly because John campaigned it for decades, notching up tens of thousands of racing miles. But his career embraces far more than one car, and until this biography no-one had attempted to fill in the gaps. With 150 photographs, many previously unpublished, this is an important and entertaining account of one of motorsport's biggest characters.

Synopsis


This is the authorised biography of one of the best-liked bad boys in British motorsport. John Chatham, driver, racer, repairer, rebuilder, tuner, trader and lover of Austin-Healeys, was in the words of Geoffrey Healey "uncontrollable" in his youth, and has only mildly mellowed with age. Burly and genial but formidably competitive, and not above bending the rules when he thought he could get away with it, to many he is the archetypal club racer. John is so synonymous with Austin-Healeys that the most famous racing Healey in the world, DD300, is so well-known mainly because John campaigned it for decades, notching up tens of thousands of racing miles. But his career embraces far more than one car, and until this biography no-one had attempted to fill in the gaps.
The book is not a dry description of one club race after another. It does include a list of John's principal sporting achievements, but no complete record exists of the hundreds of events which made up his competitive career, so the writer has not attempted to compile one. Instead Norman Burr, who was himself acquainted with John in his youth, has created a more rounded and personal account, full of motoring and sporting anecdotes, but also telling the story of John's family, his work, his business, his three wives and his lovers. John has a comprehensive photo library from which the book is generously illustrated, with cartoons added to illustrate some of the moments that a camera was not around to record. Thoroughly politically incorrect even by the standards of the 1960s, it's an account which will strike a chord not only with admirers of Big Healeys, but also with anyone who believes that independent thinking, and the courage to apply and enjoy it, is the greatest virtue of all.

About the author


Trained as an engineer at Rolls-Royce and Bath University, lifelong petrolhead Norman Burr has always worked in specialist publishing, and in 1997 made his first contribution to motorsport writing with Living with Speed, an acclaimed book chronicling a year in the life of hillclimb legend Roy Lane. John Chatham - 'Mr Big Healey' is his first fully fledged biography, which draws not only on the recollections of John Chatham and those around him, but also on Burr’s own experiences, for as a student in the Bristol area in the early 1970s, he knew John at the peak of his driving career.

eBook details

eISBN: 978-1-787115-34-7 • eV number: eV5534 • Published: May 2019 • Language: English • Digital edition: First Digital Edition. Base eBook price: £17.99 / $19.99 / €21.99 (vendors may set their own prices, so actual prices may vary).
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Original book info

V4257 • Hardback • 25x20.7cm • £24.99 • 160 pages • 200 pictures • ISBN: 978-1-845842-57-4 • UPC: 6-36847-04257-8. Price subject to change, P&P extra.

John Chatham – ‘Mr Big Healey’

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