The Story of
Growing up in a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts and being a Formula 1 fan was not so easy in the 1960’s.
There were no Formula 1 races within 350 miles of where Graham Clark spent his youth, yet he was an avid fan of the sport. He shared his first name with one of his hero drivers and his family name with his other hero driver—Graham Hill and Jim Clark were both Formula 1 champions.
He would rush to the local drug store after school when he knew the motor racing magazines would be delivered so he could learn how his favorite drivers fared at their most recent Grand Prix. In those days Formula 1 was not televised in the USA and the local newspapers did not report the news of international motorsports.
Graham was a talented musician and began playing the trumpet when he was 7 years old. His father was a professional trumpet player and Graham’s teacher. With his father’s encouragement, Graham began playing in bands with his father when he was 10 years old; music was his future’s dream profession.
After seeing the film “Grand Prix” however, he began thinking of taking another path. With earnings from playing in bands, Graham bought his first car at age 16—an MGA. That car became his world as he explored the roads on Cape Cod, Newport, RI and other scenic roads of New England.
During the Vietnam war it was expected that boys would enlist in the military after high school rather than risk being drafted later. Graham and six of his friends enlisted in the army.
The army has a way of maturing young people, and as a result Graham felt he would be better suited to a career in music than racing cars. Upon his discharge, he began his schooling at the Berklee College of Music.
For young people living in Boston in the 1970’s it was an incredible experience. Known as the Athens of the New World, the city has numerous universities contributing to predominantly young people throughout the city.
Graham thrived in this exciting environment where life was fun and spirits were high. After a few years as a professional musician, Graham craved a new challenge and turned to the world of fashion as his future vocation. He took a job with a men’s clothing company and enjoyed meteoric success. Now with a steady income and a regular schedule he felt it was time to move up from his four cylinder MGA to something with a bit more performance.
He remembered seeing a car at the Boston Auto Show when he was still in school that really got his attention. It was called a TVR Grantura and it was beautiful. After doing proper research, he found a TVR dealer in Warwick, RI and decided to go there at his first opportunity. It was love at first sight and a vivid red 1972 TVR Vixen became his new ride.
A few weeks later with autumn approaching he was determined to take this cool car for a driving adventure. Not knowing exactly where to go, he went to his favorite café on Beacon Hill for breakfast.
While reading the Boston Globe and listening to America’s “Horse with no Name” playing on the radio, he spotted an ad in the paper … The United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen would be that weekend and that is where Graham Clark decided he would be on October 7, 1973.
That race weekend had an extraordinary effect on young Graham. He commented to a friend that he would begin racing cars soon and some day would race a car like the one Graham Hill raced that weekend at Watkins Glen, the Embassy Shadow DN1.
It didn’t take long before Graham began racing a Formula Vee in the Sports Car Club of America while his band was establishing itself as one of the best jazz bands in the Boston area.
At the same time his fashion career was on fire. In only a few short years he became a buyer for one of the finest men’s specialty stores in the country. He sold the Formula Vee and moved up to a Formula Ford, where he won a couple of regional championships.
A few years later he moved up to Formula Atlantic and won a championship there as well. At this point he was splitting his leisure time between racing cars, piloting his yacht and traveling around the world.
Life was good and progressively getting better when he decided to join the ranks of vintage racing with a Formula 5000. This car was a monster and lacked the subtlety of cars he had been racing. He decided to sell it and get a historic car that would be exactly what he would enjoy for the remainder of his racing years.
The broker who Graham assigned the task of selling his Formula 5000 asked Graham what car would make him happy. Without hesitating Graham recalled the magnificent car that Graham Hill raced at Watkins Glen on October 7, 1973.
He told the broker that he would want to race a Formula 1 from 1973 to 1976. The broker told Graham he heard a rumor that Graham Hill’s Embassy Shadow from 1973 was for sale. Graham nearly fell off his chair and told the broker he had to have that car and to find out if it was for sale.
It did not take long for the broker’s return call. “Yes, the car is for sale, but people are sniffing around," encouraging Graham to act fast.
Graham bought the car and ironically when the bill of sale came, the date on the document was October 7, 1993. 20 years to the very day which altered the path leading to Graham Clark’s future.
Graham Clark continues to race cars, sail his yacht, play his trumpet, and maintain a modest collection of British sports cars from the 1950’s and 60’s—including the 1972 TVR Vixen he bought new. He still travels to exotic locations around the world, but his latest passion is a new apparel line designed for motorsports enthusiasts.
“Circuit by InRoads America” is the name of this new collection and it encompasses great style with historic and contemporary motor sport images embroidered or printed on classic garments.
If you love racing and want to share the glory of the sport check out “Circuit by InRoads America.”