Paul Frere: A Life Full of Cars
Paul Frere was without a doubt the single most important motoring writer of
the post war era. Paul was a writer first and foremost, not a journalist. He set
the standard for those that would later fill the pages of automotive magazines
throughout the world. He was a man whose word, printed and otherwise, you
could trust. He had the credentials, the experience and most of all, the
access to some of the greatest rides ever constructed. Paul didn’t have to
ask, they were offered. Successful stints in Formula 1, he was a Le Mans
winner, one of the few men whose opinion mattered to Enzo Ferrari. Paul’s
engineering abilities and understanding of complex technical issues set him
apart from his contemporaries, however, his personality was so open that one
could easily engage in a conversation with this unique individual. When you
consider that he was born while the First World War was being waged, it is
incredible to think that at the age of 90, he was still hustling at speed around
the Nurburgring as of last year. Paul Frere was an influence and most of all a
friend who would take the time to help with a problem. Years ago, I was
having a stressful time in completing my contribution to a book that was past
deadline, and I called Paul to ask what I should do with the info that I
gathered from a company whose files were a mass of internal contradiction.
In a gentle, but knowingly tone he offered a viewpoint that turned in to a
solution. He was a class act and there will never be another like him. Get a
copy of Paul’s book “ My Life Full Of Cars”
to truly understand why.
Norbert Singer remembers his friend…
This was very sad news. Paul was always so friendly, nice and polite and it
was a pleasure to work with him and I remember him since more than 30
years. (Especially when he prepared the books " The race before the race:
Porsche racing cars" and of course the homologation of Moby Dick in 1978).
I always enjoyed seeing him at Le Mans and he got the award "Spirit of Le
Mans" for his overall win at the 24 h race in 1960 with Olivier Gedebien in a
250 Ferrari TR and he was always very interested in the future developments
of regulation and he always made very competent comments. He was also
one of the founders of Group C regulations in 1981 of which we developed our
We worked together in 2004/05 writing a Chapter about Motorsport in a
German encyclopedia "Handbuch Kraftfahrzeugtechnik". He wrote the part
about open wheel cars and I did the closed racing cars.
It is a great loss for all motorsport people.
John Dinkel is a former Editor of Road & Track Magazine…
I first met Paul Frere through the pages of his book Sports Car and
Competition Driving. I read it cover to cover at least three times. As a racer
and an engineer, Paul wrote with a unique blending of theory, practice and the
physics that govern a race car.
The Le Mans 24 Hour Race was one Paul really loved and even after he
retired from racing, he was a fixture at that circuit. It was Paul who took me
under his wing the first year I attended the race and resolved a problem I had
with credentials. An American with credential problems at Le Mans? Can
you believe it?
I first met Paul in the mid Seventies at the Paris Auto Show. He had been
hired as R&T’s European Editor in 1974. Paul personified the word
gentleman and he exuded class. He had started writing about cars the same
year he started racing them. His articles brought a perspective from the
cockpit that didn’t exist at the time, and he went on to become one of the
world’s most revered motoring journalists. I had the great fortune to both
travel and visit with Paul and his wife Suzanne numerous times during my 20
years with R&T.
Car manufacturers wanted Paul to drive their most exotic machinery because
he was one of the very few who could both drive it at the limit and then create
detailed and technical word pictures of the car’s behavior. Look back at
some of the Fastest Cars in the World articles and new Porsche stories Paul
wrote for R&T and you’ll appreciate his skills behind the wheel and the
Those of us who were privileged to know Paul recognize that he will be
remembered as one of the world’s all-time great race drivers, writers and
Kerry Morse, February 2008