Bertram Marshall

0/0/1888 - 29/1/1929

Record updated 02-Mar-23

B.S. Marshall, a Brooklands racer from the twenties, possibly the first person to race a Bugatti in the UK

Bertram Marshall
He was probably in his mid-thirties when this picture was taken.

This is Bertram Stanley Marshall who somehow history has seen fit to nickname 'Bunny', apparently due to his association with the Aston Martin special of the same name. However there is no real evidence that he was called that by his friends, who actually called him Bertie.

He joined the Army in 1912 serving with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and it was here that he received his introduction to motoring. He became adept at repairing and servicing the military vehicles and, after the war, he set up his own business in the motor trade at 17A Hanover Square, London W1. He was an agent for Bugatti, Alvis, Bentley, Crossley, D.R.P., Lea-Francis, Mathis and Standard.

He felt that success in competition would be good for his business and set about competing in race prepared road cars rather than purpose built machines. He raced in black overalls and most of his cars were also painted black.

He won the Essex Short Handicap at Brooklands with a Mathis in August 1920 and raced it again in the Coupe des Voiturettes at Le Mans where he retired. He raced a 1.5 Litre Hampton at Brooklands in August 1921 before returning to Le Mans for the Coupe des Voiturettes in September finishing 6th with Bunny, the Aston Martin Special. Near the end of the year, on November 22nd, raced the Aston again in the Junior Car Club 200 at Brooklands, finishing 9th.

Marshall in his Bresia Bugatti at the International Trophy in 1922

In 1921 he contracted pneumonia and never fully recovered. Despite this he raced with considerable success although his performances varied depending on the state of his health. He raced a Bescia Bugatti, finishing 6th on the Isle of Man in the International 1500 Trophy in 1922. A 6th in the JCC 200 in the Bugatti followed and a 4th in the Coupe des Voiturettes driving a 4 cylinder Crouch Anzani behind the victorious Talbot-Darracq team. He also raced the Hampton at Brooklands finishing 3rd in the 75mph Short at the Easter Meeting and second in the 75mph long at the Whitsun gathering.

He finished 7th in Boulogne in 1923 but didn't make it to the Coupe des Voiturettes. At the Mid-Summer Meeting at Brooklands he raced the Bugatti, winning the 75mph Long ahead of Barnato on a Wolseley 'Moth'. He then retired in the JCC 200 when the Bugatti caught fire.

The Bugatti was fitted with a new streamlined body for 1924 and was clocked on the outer circuit at Brooklands at 88.85mph (143 kph). He took his best result winning the Grand Prix de Boulogne. Run in very wet conditions his winning margin was 12 minutes. However citing 'stress of business' he had to scratch from the JCC 200 the following month. He followed up his win in 1924 with another in Boulogne in 1925 and, although he made it to the JCC 200 in September, he retired before half distance with valve trouble.

Marshall with his Bugatti Type 22. Winner of the Grand Prix des Voiturettes August 29, 1925 at Boulogne-sur-Mer in a time of 4h 20mins

Throughout his career he also competed in hill-climbs and sprints around the UK and on the Continent and is credited, in a way, with introducing Rob Walker to motor racing as, in 1924 as a boy aged 7, Walker ended up sitting next to Mrs. Marshall in the Grandstands at Boulogne watching Bertie take the win. Apparently she explained everything to the young Walker and he later credited this chance meeting with starting his fascination with the sport.

Marshall was only 41 when he died in St.John and St. Elizabeth Hospital, Grove End Road, London NW8.