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Tony (George Anthony Gerald) Bodley
1926 - 2009: Founder Member by David Wynne


Tony in 2007, age 81

Having recently Googled Tony to see if the internet had anything about him and his time racing in the early 1960’s as a founder member the Monoposto Club, I came across an article mentioning Tony and his self built B.F.M. Racing Car This was in the Monoposto Club Startline magazine, which mentions his car as being a "self-built immaculate BRM look-alike". I knew Tony would have left his mark on the world wide web. Tony to me was a true engineer and a very good driver, speed was everything to Tony from a very early age.

Tony was born in Meifod, near Welshpool. He spent most of his childhood with his grandparents in the small rural village of Meifod. From Tony’s first mode of transport, a little pedal car and later a Raleigh cycle, speed was of the essence. He joined the RAF in 1944 as a mechanic and was proud of the fact that he completed a course at Rolls Royce on the now famous Merlin engine. He was later posted to 31 Squadron (Dakotas, we believe - ed) and was based in India returning home in 1947. Around this time he moved to Llandudno to be with his mother and step father. He had a few jobs before working as a mechanic. Tony married twice surviving both his wives: Mollie, his first wife, would attend many meetings with Tony and also Joan his second wife.

When Tony moved to Llandudno he rented a lock up garage, which he rented until he passed away in 2009. This garage never had power or light. It could fit two small cars side by side. It is in this garage Tony made BFM and other cars such as his TT Riley Sprite replica all hand fabricated by Tony. The Riley was sold to a friend of Tony’s, this same friend now has the old special which used to tow his BFM to race meetings. The Old Special had various bodies during its life with Tony. It started as a 1931 fabric bodied Morris Minor saloon, which fell apart as he drove it down the road after buying it. The special ended up with an Alfa Romeo engine and a very nice looking body designed and built by Tony. He worked on this car changing camshafts and carburettors to get it to go even faster right up until his eighties. He gave many a passenger a fright including my father. Getting into a car with Tony, this little old man, you thought you were going for a little drive around the block, but no, he was a racing car driver and that’s the kind of drive around the block they got.

Riley Special Front of the Riley under construction The "Other" Special towing the BFM

Tony was one of the founder members of the Monoposto Club. He used to travel all the way from North Wales to all the race circuits around the country. BFM was all self constructed and designed including the chassis. Powered by a Ford 100E engine later supercharged. He fitted Wal Philips injectors, a motorcycle setup, which when adjusted correctly gave fantastic results but keeping them in tune proved difficult, so they were later removed.

I've looked through some old copies of the Monoposto Club Bulletin, which was called Startline even in those days. Here are the references to Tony's cars:

1961
Rhydymwyn, near Mold, North Wales - British Racing Sports Car Club event 7. Note from Tony - did not start.

1962
Monoposto News - Tony raced at Debden (Essex) in June: 2 points, Oulton in August: 1 point, Silverstone in September: 1 point. Total 4 points. The report goes on to say "The reliability trophy for the best turned out and regularly competing car, was won by Tony Bodley driving his BFM."
1962 Winter Bulletin - “ Tony Bodley driving his B.F.M. Tony is a wonderful example of a true enthusiast with his genuine single seater, styled similar to a Vanwall, towed to meetings by another open two seater Ford Special, all the way from Wales, sometimes a 400 mile round trip”.

Tony based his car on a B.R.M. although I have seen a few quotes of it looking like a Vanwall. The special he used to tow with stayed with Tony all his life later becoming an Alfa Romeo Special.

Brian James Trailers eat your heart out! HN Moore, the BFM with Mollie, and the infamous Project X. Snetterton? In the background there appears to be a Cooper 500 converted to a Monoposto car - could this be one of Frank Tiedeman's designs? At speed

1963
List of members cars as at October 1963, B.F.M is listed and states raced 3 seasons.

1964
Championship table - Tony Bodley, Silverstone 3 points, Castle Combe 2 points.
The meeting at Castle Combe on July 18th. “Five mono starters were combined with 1172 contenders. The unfortunate combination of the two races prevented Bill Cooper from earning points in our championship, as Lolita was driven with sports car equipment by Alan Wershat. A better arrangement would have been a combination of our cars with the formula Libre race. The race itself was marred by Bob Beck’s accident on the second lap at Old Paddock bend, when he was well placed at the front of the field and was the leading Monoposto Car at the time. It was later learned that he had sustained chest and leg injuries and had been taken to Bath Hospital. The final positions were Brian Mitcham first, Mike Cowburn second, and after a race long battle of passing and re-passing between Tony Bodley and Bob Mitchell, third spot went to Tony”.

Back of newsletter - “Tony Bodley is always quietly producing something new and at Castle Combe was running with petrol injection. It was certainly going quite well and surely must have been the first appearance of a 100E so equipped. Perhaps its cheaper than a 40 DCO”! The injectors would have been his Wal Philips.

Tony - “constantly good performance alternating between S.U.s and fuel injection“.

1965
Castle Combe - “Tony Bodley with the register’s first blown 1172 cc hopes to be there - and it looks a splendid car”.

July- August bulletin, “Debden 27th June meeting - The 1172cc event produced one of the best competitions of the season. Championship leader, Dave Havelock was going well and took an early lead from Tony Bodley, with John Tizard Third. Tony obviously hadn’t perfected his blower and the Tizard car was suffering. John managed to take Tony on one bend only to be retaken shortly afterwards. He lost interest a few minutes later when his chain broke. Tony and Dave continued to battle Tony eventually gaining and maintaining the lead to claim victory and the fastest lap. Tony’s time was 11.59. Dave’s 12.00- again evidence of the battle”!

Castle Combe - “Tony Bodley was suffering from too weak a mixture. A worn pully was causing the blower belt to slip. After a brief inspection he decided to forget it, enjoy the sun and take a leisurely picnic lunch. Great interest was shown in his car”.

Autosport March 18, 1966, page 420, Monoposto seasonal survey by Mike Cowburn. 1965 season - Seven Fifty, Debden. “Tony Bodley from North Wales driving his B.F.M, very similar in appearance to the early B.R.M, won class B. Tony is not only a good driver and one of the original register members, but the truest type of special builder. He constructs his cars in a lock up garage and is completely self-sufficient. His workmanship is excellent”.

Deer's Leep, Oulton, 1965 Last race, Oulton, 1966 Driver, constructor, designer

1966
Last year of racing B.F.M.

Tony confirms last race at Oulton park, 13 August 1966. Tony said he wanted to sell his B.F.M or his towing vehicle at the meeting. Tony’s B.F.M was in the end sold around 1968. He told me he sold it for a deposit on his house. He seemed to have no knowledge of B.F.M after sale and couldn’t remember who he sold it to. Tony continued to build cars, building a superb Riley TT Sprite replica and the Old Special was re-bodied a few times, its final form being an Alfa Romeo look-alike. This was completed in Tony’s retirement. He would regularly attend his garage in Llandudno to work on the car. Again he had no electricity and hand tools were used. To spray his cars he would plug an extension lead into a neighbours property to power his Burgess Spray gun.

A true engineer and a gentleman with great wit!

David Wynne

Disclaimer: The above represents only the unofficial view of the writer and not of the Monoposto Racing Club in any way whatsover. Subheadlines and captions are not originated from the named author. We are unable to reproduce results due to copyright reasons. If any pictures are copyright and the owner wishes them removed please email us.

     

 

 

Unpainted car emerges from workshop

Quality of finish is evident

Behind the special

?Debden Paddock

Another year as SU's have replaced the sidedraughts above

Close up of engine

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