Roy Parnell

8/5/1923 - 28/6/1988

Record updated 30-Apr-19

Roy Parnell was Reg Parnell's cousin. Drove in springs and a coulpe of non chanpionship Grand Prix. Joined his Uncle at Aston Martin in 1956 as crew chief.

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A. Roy Parnell was the nephew of Reg Parnell. Roy worked for the Standard Transport Company in Derby. His father and Uncle were both directors which helped. It also gave him time to spend at his uncle's racing stable.

In 1946 his uncle lent him the 1 1/2-litre, straight-eight Delage (15S8). The Delage was in fact a bunch of parts that had come from Prince Bira. Roy and his brother Ken, had to put the IFS vehicle together only finishing the task at 9 p.m. on the Sunday before the event.

He drove it for the first time in the Elstree sprint, posting the second fastest time of the day at 15.8 seconds, only 0.6 sec. slower than Peter Monkhouse's Type 51 Bugatti and quicker than his Uncle, the more experienced Reg Parnell, whose 16-valve Maserati took 16.0 sec.. On June 15th he took part in the Gransden Lodge Trophy but crashed on the first lap. He drove the Delage again at Shelsley Walsh and in the Open Prescott meeting in September, with Roy finishing 3rd in a time of 51.56 sec. He was out in it again at Cofton Hackett in October. Also that month he competed respectably in the revived Brighton Speed Trials in a Riley-E.R.A. 

At the British Grand Prix in 1949 Roy was appointed reserve driver to David Murray. With over 270 miles to go Murray made a series of pit stops to change plugs. He came in again with his car misfiring and handed over to Roy. Roy then came in with falling oil-pressure and handed over to Murray. Later Roy took over again but was soon in again and the car was finally retired on lap 25.

At the end of 1953 John Wyer hired Roy Parnell to take charge of Experimental Test. Apparently he was particularly good on the banked high-speed circuit at M.I.R.A., where he and his opposite number at Jaguar, Norman Dewis, took it in turns to set fastest laps. Roy consistently lapped at 155 m.p.h..

In 1956 he was involved with the driving for the film 'Checkpoint'. Apparently Roy lost control one of the ex-Le Mans V12 Lagondas on a mountain pass, running over the continuity girl who was quite badly hurt. He had to be flown out of the country, post haste, to avoid arrest by Italian police.

Reg was appointed Racing Manager at Aston Martin that year and he hired Roy as his deputy and Crew Chief. Roy combined a high degree of machanical knowledge coupled with the ability to drive the cars as fast as most of the racing drivers (and sometimes faster).

Roy was also the driver when Aston Martin did the '0 to 100 and back to 0 in under 30 seconds' advertising campaign for the new DB4. 

In 1958 Roy Parnell and Salvadori assisted Avon with testing racing tyres.