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Sammy Davis
Nationality United Kingdom British
24 Hours of Le Mans career
Participating years 19251928, 1930, 1933
Teams Sunbeam
Bentley Motors Ltd.
Aston Martin Ltd.
Best finish 1st (1927)
Class wins 2 (1925, 1927)

Sydney Charles Houghton "Sammy" Davis (9 January 1887, London - 9 January 1981) was a British racing motorist, journalist and clubman.

While best known as Sports Editor of The Autocar, writing under the pen-name Casque (French for helmet), Sammy Davis also competed in many forms of motor racing in the 1920s. He won many awards in the popular trials competitions of the day. In 1925 Davis finished second at Le Mans with co-driver Jean Chassagne in a Sunbeam 3-litre, covering 1,343.2 miles in the 24 hours, [1] some 45 miles behind the winner. [2] On May 7, 1927 Davis finished second in the Essex Car Club Six Hour race at Brooklands on an Alvis. [3]

Davis became a member of the famous Bentley Boys of the late 1920s. He won the 24 Hours of Le Mans outright in 1927. Partnered with Dr. Benjafield, they covered 1,472.527 miles in the twenty-four hours at an average speed of 61.354 m.p.h. [4] Motor Sport reported: "The victory, in spite of its accident of the crippled 3-litre Bentley driven by J.D. Benjafield and S.C.H. Davis, will always remain an epic, and even if the competition was not as keen as in the past, it is great thing to have won a race with a car which was damaged in the early part of the event." [5] In 1928 he finished ninth overall at Le Mans on an Alvis. [6]

In 1929 Davis finished second overall, and class winner, in the Brooklands Double Twelve on a 4,398 c.c. Bentley. [7] He finished second again in 1930 on a 5,597 c.c. Bentley. [8] On October 4, 1930 Davis was partnered with the Earl of March in an Austin Seven and they won the B.R.D.C. 500-mile race at Brooklands outright. [9] He had a spectacular accident in an Invicta S-type at Brooklands in 1931. [10] In 1933 he finished ninth at Le Mans in an Aston Martin.

On April 15, 1937 Sammy Davis drove a road-equipped Frazer-Nash-B.M.W. round Brooklands, covering more than 100 miles in an hour, at an average speed of 102.22 m.p.h. [11]

He was one of the founders of the Veteran Car Club of Great Britain in 1930, and the first Vice-President of the Aston Martin Owners Club in 1935 and designed the Aston Martin "wings" badge. After the war, he did much to promote the revival of motorsport in Britain, both as Vice-President of the Vintage Sports-Car Club and as President of the new 500 Club (later the Half Litre Car Club). He was a committee member of the BRDC. [12]

Sammy lived his later years in Guildford, never losing his boyish enthusiasm for life. He was a great storyteller and made a modest living writing articles and painting oils. He was an excellent driver and even as his years advanced he trained police drivers at Hendon. He owned a white Bug-eyed Sprite, and an 1897 Léon Bollée tricar, called "Beelzebub," that he took on the annual London to Brighton Veteran Car Run. [13] He had completed the London-Brighton course in 1930 in the Léon Bollée in a time of 3hrs 20mins 0secs at an average speed of 17.17 m.p.h. [14] He died in a fire in his home, likely caused by his ever-present smouldering pipe.

His son Colin Davis also became a driver.


Books (incomplete list)

  • Davis, S.C.H. (1949). Racing Motorist. His Adventures at Wheel in War & Peace. London: Iliffe and Sons Ltd.  
  • Davis, S.C.H. (1951). Rallies and Trials. London: Iliffe and Sons Ltd.  
  • Davis, S.C.H. (1951). Controlling a Racing-Car Team. London: G. T. Foulis & Co. Ltd.  
  • Davis, S.C.H. (1952). Car Driving as an Art: A Guide for Learners and Advanced Drivers. London: Iliffe and Sons Ltd.  
  • Davis, S.C.H. (1953). The John Cobb Story. London: G. T. Foulis & Co. Ltd.  
  • Davis, S.C.H. (1967). CARS CARS CARS CARS. London: Paul Hamlyn Ltd.  


  1. ^ Motor Sport, March 1927, Page 267.
  2. ^ Motor Sport, August 1925, Page 68.
  3. ^ Motor Sport, June 1927, Page 360.
  4. ^ The Le Mans Story, Georges Fraichard, 1956, The Sportmans Book Club, Page 25.
  5. ^ Motor Sport, January-February 1928, Page 190.
  6. ^ Motor Sport, July 1928, Page 298.
  7. ^ Motor Sport, June 1929, Page 63.
  8. ^ Motor Sport, June 1930, Page 39.
  9. ^ Motor Sport, March 1947, Page 60.
  10. ^ Motor Sport, May 1931, Page 334.
  11. ^ Motor Sport, May 1937, Page 223.
  12. ^ Motor Sport, September 1945, Page 247.
  13. ^ Note: Car sold to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum in 1967.
  14. ^ Motor Sport, January 1931, Page 129.


  • Boddy, W. 1999. The Trials of Sammy Davis. Motor Sport. LXXV/8 (August 1999), 50-55.
  • "S. C. H. "Sammy" Davis". The 500 Owners Association. Retrieved 2007-08-06.  
  • Eric Dymock, Writing a page of history, The Guardian, January 13, 1981, Page 21.
  • Elizabeth Nagle, Veterans of the road, Arco Publishers, 1955.

External links

  • Profile on Historic Racing: [1]
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Robert Bloch
André Rossignol
Winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans
1927 with:
Dr. Dudley Benjafield
Succeeded by
Woolf Barnato
Bernard Rubin


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