RIP: Baron Emmanuel Toulo de Graffenried (1914-2007)

One of the oldest surviving grand prix racing drivers has left us for the Big Pit-Stop in the Sky. Baron Emmanuel "Toulo" de Graffenried – yes, he was an actual Swiss baron – has died at the ripe old age of 92.

De Graffenried raced before and after the Second World War, achieving notable success and victories in the earliest days of Formula One. In 1948, the Baron won the first British Grand Prix, crowning his numerous podium finishes at races from Monaco to Zandvoort and from Geneva to Interlagos, competing mostly in Alfa Romeo and Maserati racing cars. He stood in for Kirk Douglas in The Racers (1955), and retired from racing at 42 to focus on his garage in Lausanne where he sold Alfas, Ferraris and Rolls-Royces. In the 70's he was back in the paddock as longtime racing sponsor Marlboro's F1 ambassador, its parent company Philip Morris being based in Lausanne.

Toulo was born in Paris in 1914 and grew up in Switzerland, where the de Graffenried family was one of the most prominent families, tracing all the way back to circa 1270. With him dies a simpler, more majestic age of motor racing long since lost to the commercialization and regulation of grand prix racing.


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