About Me

Hi! Or, Hello, if you’re English or, ‘allo, if you’re French or does it really matter now that we’re all on this web thing?

A few words of background if this is the first time you’ve clicked on to this page. I’m a self-confessed Sports/GT racing freak who got so far into his hobby that I turned it into a business. I won’t bore you with lines like “poorly paid”, “barely scratch a living” although they’re true. You’ve heard them all before and I wouldn’t want to insult your intelligence, would I?

I started racing in an Elva-BMW in British Hillclimbs a long time ago; After spending all my parents’ and my friends’ money on this lark (which I thoroughly enjoyed), I settled down to marriage and two kids until age 30. An XK120 Jaguar just begged to be bought and so I promptly equipped this with a roll-over bar and damn near killed myself at Mallory Park. After this, a few more years went by during which I ran a folk club, managed a very successful comedian and indulged myself in Porsche 911s. I acquired a Ferrari 250 GT “Tour de France” and did all those jollies like the Mille Miglia retro and Coy’s Silverstone until I felt the need for something a bit more serious.

The racing bug bit again after I’d acquired a 1974 Porsche Carrera RSR, and off I went again, only this time to the circuits. I loved it and purchased a Porsche 935 that scared me silly. (In retrospect, the suspension was poorly set up. The power was of the “Oh my Gawd” variety and the combination was, shall we say, overwhelming. Definitely a brown trousers job, that one!) Still love ‘em though.

Sold that, bought a Lola T70 Coupe. Love. What a car! Great poke from the Chevy, lovely handling and brakes. Had a wonderful time racing on the great circuits of Europe like Monza and Spa. Sold that, bought another. Did Daytona 24-Hours. Loved that.

All this time, I’d been writing books about motor racing. I’d written four when Chris Renwick called from San Diego. “Would I like to go there and write a book about Ferraris?” Would I?! I was fed up of English winters, so I sold the T70 and moved to San Diego. Met a friend, Robert Tornello, who invited me to Florida to race his 935. What a man!

Su and I moved to America permanently in 1998 and settled in San Diego for the first two years. There, we worked with the Symbolic Motor Car Company, surely the greatest dealership for exotic cars in the World! I cataloged Bernie Chase’s (the boss) incredible automobilia collection.

While living in San Diego, we bought a March 84G, an ex-Leon Brothers Chevy-engined GTP car and set about bringing it back to life. This also was a very enjoyable car to race, very similar really to a Lola T70 but with downforce.

Although we liked San Diego, we soon realized that house prices had become pretty much unaffordable and so, as I’d always had a fondness for Florida, having visited there on holiday for many years, we upped sticks and drove across America, (what an experience!), to settle here in St. Petersburg. It’s a great place, falling into the “Places time forgot” category.

Here, we bought a house and the March got finished being restored. I did Daytona and Sebring with it, but then swapped it for-you guessed it! – another Lola T70. This I raced just twice, in 2002, before a very nice man literally bought it from me and enjoyed racing it himself.

Su and I started our own company, publishing books, consulting and brokering racecars. I’ve written and we have published eighteen books on motor racing and traded the odd car. We have more ideas fermenting away and life is busy.

A few years ago, we bought a Jones-built hydroplane from 1960 and I have raced that on several occasions (see articles). That experience was also, shall we say…… exciting! In 2007, a very kind customer, George Tuma, bought an RSR, with our help and asked me to help him race it in Europe in the Patrick Peter-run Classic Endurance Race series. George also bought a Jagermeister-liveried replica RSR and we had a great three years enjoying that, racing over here in America too.

In 2013, I bought yet another RSR and raced that at places like Sebring and Daytona but felt myself getting too slow to be competitive and so retired from racing at the end of 2014, although you’ll still find me trackside. Please introduce yourself and say hello.

Currently, I’ve gone back to my first love and bought yet another Jaguar XK120. She’s a real beauty, a special equipment roadster (XK120M) and I have had a very enjoyable time equipping her with some mod cons, such as front wheel disc brakes, a 5-speed gearbox and competition seats. Check out the articles section of the website to follow our Jaguar adventures.

I’ve been very lucky to have experienced the very best circuits in both North America and Europe on which to race, and some of the best vintage/historic racing cars to enjoy as well.

This is a wonderful life!

Kindest Regards,

John Starkey

About John Starkey
I started racing in an Elva-BMW in British Hillclimbs a long time ago; After spending all my parents’ and my friends’ money on this lark (which I thoroughly enjoyed), I settled down to marriage and two kids until age 30. An XK120 Jaguar just begged to be bought and so I promptly equipped this with a roll-over bar and damn read more...
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JOHN STARKEY CARS
Gryfon, Inc.
7045 Hibiscus Ave. S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33707-2813
USA
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