AN AUTOMOBILE PIONEER PASSES

philip at gathering_2They say all good things must come to an end, but it is hard sometimes to accept when it is someone you know. At the age of 85, Philip Powell passed away last Friday, January 23 at Saanich Peninsula Hospital, after what I’m sure he would acknowledge was a life well-lived.

Philip had long been a car guy and was associated with cars throughout his life, whether it was working for various brands directly or as part of his work at ad agencies around the world. He pioneered automobile journalism by doing the first radio broadcast of a race at Mosport, had a regular radio car talk show, and worked at Volkswagen and Porsche, when they first came to Canada. So it was only natural that he was involved in starting the first Porsche club in Ontario before there was a PCA, and in 1957 was part of the group that started the Penticton Hill climb, now Knox Mountain. He would reminisce fondly of his racing days and his first Porsche 356 coupe.

Philip lived and breathed cars, followed auctions, attended local car shows, and as fellow writer and friend Tony Whitney said, “he was a wonderful guy, with a remarkable history and a damned good writer, with an encyclopedic knowledge of automobiles.”

Philip also had a great interest in trains and planes and fulfilled a lifelong dream by getting his pilot’s license when a lot of us would be contemplating retirement. He never felt too old to try something new.

A couple of years ago, Philip became a regular contributor to TCT and through his articles certainly introduced me to a lot of great cars from the past. He was always looking to the future as well though and had a big interest in alternate fuel cars. For the past year, he had a vision for a Sidney car week – a week of car shows and related activities. This was the subject of his last article. Maybe, it will be a reality in the future.

He will be remembered by all those who knew him as someone who lived life to the fullest right up to the end.

And now, the checkered flag is waved. Rest in peace my friend.

Having only known Philip for a few years, I’m sure there are others who knew him much better than me. If you have a story about Philip, we would love to hear it and will be sure to pass them on to his family.

2 replies
  1. chris
    chris says:

    I have known Philip for many years. We chatted often in the coffee shops and on his walks throughout the Sidney waterfront. Philip was a person well versed in all things automotive and I enjoyed our conversations. He was impassioned in his efforts in writing and promoting auto shows and seminars.

    As a car enthusiast, I was delighted when Philip included me in an article about Carroll Shelby in 2012. I was one of two friends who owned Shelby Mustangs. We finally went for a spirited spin in my Shelby this past summer which was a thrill for both of us.

    Philip was a soft spoken man and passionate about his automobiles. I will miss our car talks in Sidney my friend.
    chris

    Reply

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