On this day in auto history - November 8th

Fri 8th Nov 2019

It was on this day in 1976 that Gottfried von Cramm - one of the great pre-war tennis champions -  was tragically killed in a car accident on a desert road near the Egyptian capital of Cairo.

Returning to the airport after a business trip, the 67-year-old baron was a passenger in a car hit by swerving military truck which was attempting to turn into a gas station. Von Cramm’s driver was killed instantly whilst he himself died in an ambulance whilst on his way to hospital.

A former World number one and two-time French Open winner, Von Cramm was well-known in Britain having finished a runner-up at Wimbledon on three successive occasions during the 1930’s, losing twice in high-profile fashion to home favourite Fred Perry.

Von Cramm was also widely-admired for his refusal to identify with German Nazism at a time when Adolf Hitler was openly trying to exploit him as a symbol of Aryan supremacy. That show of defiance saw him jailed by by the Nazi’s in 1938 but he was released in time to serve as a machine gunner during World War II.