Roger Bell 1937-2022
Renowned motoring writer Roger Bell died on 6 March. He was 85. An accomplished technical author, he rose through the ranks to become editor of Motor. Bell’s authoritative prose were read by many during a time when the motoring weekly had a massive audience. It didn’t matter whether he was evaluating a Ford Corsair or keeping his foot in and braving John Woolfe’s Shelby/ AC Cobra 427 at 150mph, readers trusted his judgements as did manufacturers (sometimes through gritted teeth). During the 1970s and ’80s, he also gave many future big names a leg-up, not least the likes of brothers Tony and Peter Dron and Mark Hales.
Bell was also a handy driver in saloon car racing. He was invited to drive a Motor-backed car in the 1971 Ford Mexico Challenge one-make series. Bell was up against the likes of Gerry Marshall and Barrie ‘Whizzo’ Williams, not to mention soon-to-be F1 legend Jody Scheckter. He didn’t disappoint, finishing fifth in the series. In subsequent seasons, he dovetailed his editorship with racing BMWs and Alfa Romeos in ProdSaloons before graduating to the premier British Saloon Car Championship (now British Touring Car Championship). In 1975, he was team-mate to Andy Rouse in a works Triumph Team Piranha Dolomite.
Bell’s prose subsequently appeared in CAR and Supercar Classics, and in the 1990s he worked as a freelancer for titles such as Classic & Sports Car prior to retiring. He later suffered from Parkinson’s disease but continued to show an interest in the industry and motor racing to the last.