The John L 'Jumbo' Goddard Collection

The John L. 'Jumbo' Goddard Collection - is a Catalogue listing all items auctioned from Goddard's collection after his passing in 1984. The auction lasted two days and featured items ranging from a Bosun's whistle on a chain to Bugatti Type 35c and everything inbetween. Below is an extract from the foreword.

John (Jumbo) Goddard was born at Pease Pottage, Nr. Crawley, Sussex, England, on the 19th June 1907, the only son of a successful Barrister who himself drove a chain-driven Daimler in the early Hill climbs

    Young John Goddard was due to be apprenticed to Parry Thomas at Brooklands, after deciding not to enter Law himself, but Thomas’ fatal crash on Pendine Sands switched his career to Thornycroft Marine and an apprenticeship as a Marine Engineer, thus beginning his continuing interest in ‘steam’.

    He had already raced a three-wheeler Morgan at Brooklands and was part of the “Pip, Squeak and Wilfred’ team and won a Brooklands Gold Medal in his BlackburnAero for lapping at over 100 mph. In 1928 he was indulging his passion for the unusual by fitting a Zeppelin engine into a slipper stern river boat once owned by Count Zborowski.

    He gained the nickname of ‘Jumbo’ in 1932, when he was 25 years old and weighed 12½ stone. At a Lawn Party in England he was chatting to his host when Brooklands racer Captain J. E. P. Johnny Howey arrived and asked the name of the stranger. Jumbo enjoyed telling the story. ‘Howey said ‘Hmmmm . . . he much resembles a pantomime elephant from behind doesn’t he’. This was the start of a lifelong friendship between the two men and with Jumbo driving ‘Dr. Syn’ as engine driver on the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway for a year after Howey founded and built the line and several times afterwards.

    Jumbo sailed to Australia in a Square Rigger, the ill-fated Herzogin Cecilie, in 1934, and found his way round Australia and New Guinea the hard way. In 1939 he was back in Britain with the Royal Navy and spent all the War years working on engine and propellor development for Motor Torpedo Boats.

    After the War, there was gold dredging in New Guinea, diamond prospecting on the West Coast of Africa, prospecting for uranium in Australia’s Northern Territory in 1956, and in 1957 he signed on as an Ordinary Seaman, one of a crew of 28, on the 56 day Atlantic crossing aboard Mayflower II with Alan Villiers, from Plymouth Sound, England, to Plymouth, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

    . . . Jumbo had been there, seen it all . . . and done most of it.

    When Donald Campbell came to Australia with Bluebird for his attempt at the World Land Speed Record on Lake Eyre, he was there to see the record attempt, but not being able to just sit by and watch, he volunteered to drive one of the graders to help out. It was typical Jumbo

    In 1928 he bought a 3-litre Bentley in England for £350. This car he used as a basis for his twin-turbocharged 8 litre 164 mph record breaker some 22 years later. This was in 1972 in Ghent, Belgium, he attempted the World Vintage Land Speed Record at the age of 65. This he achieved setting an average speed of 158.2 mph with a one way run of 164.7 mph.

    The love of not only cars, but also boats and steam was also very great and he decided to build a replica of one of the turn of the century Admiralty’s 12 metre steam pinnaces. The hull of the replica was built of huon pine by Halvorsen & Gowland of Sydney, the upper structure being of teak. It was powered by an original triple expansion steam engine, Vintage 1910. He named the boat Gollywog which was thought unusual but the two Admiralty boats he related to and which had plied the Thames before the War, were named Gollywog and Daffodil and he felt Daffodil was not really his colour.!

    Also numbered amongst his grew loves were Pittwater and his yacht Sama, in which he sailed for so many years and raced very successfully with the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club. He also raced in the Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race Classic four times, as a crew member, with friends, aboard Morna.

    In his Australian car collection one of his most prized possessions was the world-famous D-type Jaguar, OKV 1, that Hamilton and Rolt raced to second place at Le Mans; other cars being kept in the care of his good friend Tom Wheatcroft at Donnington, England, for use on his visits to England.

    In 1973 he married Kathleen (Kate), herself a very keen enthusiast who shared his motoring sport and other interests to the full. All who visited their home, overlooking Pittwater, aptly called Hove To, will long Remember the collection of clocks, chronometers, firearms, steam artefacts, books and antiques, and even the full-size road registered Bugatti car in the house.

    An era has ended with the passing of this great sportsman but he will not be forgotten by all who knew him, and this Catalogue is dedicated to his memory.

The foreword to this catalogue has been compiled from letters and other information contributed by some of John’s many friends throughout the world. There are, of course, many other incidents and details which could have been included, but I feel this will give to those who did not have the privilege of knowing him, some idea of the remarkable man he was and his inbounding enthusiasm for life,

    My hope now is that whoever becomes the owner of any of the items in this Catalogue will derive as much pleasure and happiness from owning them as we did.

    Finally, there are many people I would like to thank for their understanding and sympathetic help in the preparation of this Catalogue and Sale. Their friendship and kindness will be long remembered.


Kathleen Goddard.

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© Elliott Hopkins