Earl Howe

Earl Howe

1/5/1884 - 26/7/1964

Earl Howe started racing at the age of 44. He raced many different cars including Talbot, Lagonda, Alfa Romeo and Mercedes. He also raced the ex-Campbell Delage and a type 59 Bugatti. He won Le Mans in 1931 driving an Alfa Romeo.

Edward Richard Assheton, Viscount Curzon, better known as Earl Howe, was born in 1884 in Mayfair, London into a famous British naval family. He served in the Navy during the First World War including an assignment on board the Battleship "HMS Queen Elizabeth" during the Dardanelles campaign.

He took up motor racing seriously at the age of 44 entering the 1928 Essex Six Hour Race and the Irish Tourist Trophy in a Bugatti. He rapidly became one Britain's best known drivers.

Howe's cars were always meticously prepared and he was instantly recognisable in his blue helmet and overalls. Howe was very patriotic but he was forced to race foreign cars as there were no competitive British cars suitable for GP racing.

By 1930 he had bought Caracciola's Mercedes SSK and in 1931 he raced an Alfa Romeo, winning the Le Mans with it patnered by Tim Birkin. He continued racing with a T51 Bugatti, a 1.5 litre Delage, MGs and Alfa Romeos until he bought a ERA for the 1936 season. Later he joined the ERA works team.

In 1937 he had a bad crash at the Campbell Trophy at Brooklands which put him out of action for most of the season.

His racing was spread across many cars including Talbot, Lagonda, Alfa Romeo and Mercedes, possibly his most romantic being the ex-Campbell Delage which he owned for a while and passed on to Dick Seaman for his 1936 season. He actually had a pair of Delage around the same time, famously writing one off against a tree and coming out with the comment "never mind I have another at home". Certainly the most difficult car to handle was his type 59 Bugatti.

In 1931 he was rewarded with victory at Le Mans in an Alfa Romeo and was well placed in may other races throughout the early and mid thirties. In 1935 he sold the Delage and acquired the ex-Benjafield E.R.A. R.8.B. in which he had his major accident when duelling with Bira on the Campbell circuit in 1937.

He loved long distance sports car races and took part in nine Tourist Trophy races.

After the war he went on supporting motor sport as an organiser and as the president of the British Racing Driver's Club. He held posts in the Conservative party and was also a Privy Counsellor. He also spoke many times in the House of Lords and acting as President of the British racing Drivers’ Club and Chairman of the R.A.C. Competitions Committee. He died in 1964.

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