Love actually

During March, FMM was pleased to welcome two descendants of former South African motor racing champion John Love. Siobhan, his daughter by his third marriage, was visiting Southern Africa from her home in Arizona, USA during which time she visited relatives in John’s native Zimbabwe to discover details of her father’s background and motoring exploits. She then travelled to Cape Town to meet up with her nephew Bart to learn more of the family history, and together with Bart’s two children, Samuel and James, the pair paid a visit to FMM to view the large collection of John’s trophies and memorabilia that the family had previously donated to the museum. Siobhan was greatly impressed with what was on display, which included some of her father’s old racing overalls and a helmet. As a surprise – and to the delight of the boys – John’s ex-Team Gunston Chevron B25 was fired-up in the display hall.

John Love was born in Bulawayo, Rhodesia on 7 December 1924 and started racing Triumph motorcycles before switching to a Cooper-Norton Formula 3 car. In the early-1960s he raced a Formula Junior Cooper-Austin in Europe for Ken Tyrrell. A crash at Albi resulted a in a badly broken arm that effectively put paid to him racing in F1, but he did substitute for Phil Hill in a works Cooper in the 1964 Italian GP.

During his career John drove a variety of single-seater and sports cars. He competed in the SA Grand Prix from 1965 to 1972 and was actually leading the 1967 race in his Cooper-Climax when a misfire forced a quick pit stop that caused him to drop behind the works Cooper-Maserati of Pedro Rodríguez and finish second. John won the SA F1 Championship six times in succession from 1964 to 1969, as well as winning the Rhodesian Grand Prix six times.

John died from cancer in Bulawayo in 2005, aged 80. The family thoroughly enjoyed their visit to FMM, Siobhan’s last port of call before flying back to the States.