Monday 18th May 1914
Born on this day, Emmanuel de Graffenried, Swiss motor racing driver who participated in 23 World Championship Grands Prix, debuting on 13 May 1950, and scored a total of nine championship points. Baron Emmanuel ‘Toulo’ de Graffenried was born in Paris, France though he was Swiss. He started racing before the Second World War in his native Switzerland, with both a 3-litre Alfa Romeo and a Type 6C Maserati. In 1937, “Toulo” finished 4th Grand Prix de Picardy.
After the war he got togther with former Mercedes driver Christian Kautz to form Team Autosport, racing a new four-cylinder 1.5 litre Maserati in Voiturette racing mostly at the Bremgarten circuit in Berne. He finished fifth in the Prix de Geneva in 1946 and third at Lausanne in 1947. Then in 1948 he finished second to Farina in the Grand Prix de Nations in Geneva and third in the Monaco GP behind Farina and Chiron. However when Kautz was killed in the Grand Prix de l’Europe at Bremgarten that year, the team broke up. de Graffenried then raced one of Enrico Platé’s San Remo-type 4CLT/48 Maserati alongside Prince Bira, winning the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 1949. In 1950 before the championship season began he finished second in the Richmond Trophy. At the British Grand Prix, the first ever round of the World Championship, the Alfa Romeos were in dominant form and Emmanuel’s 4CLT-48 was no match. His best result in the World Championship that year was sixth in both the Swiss and Italian Grand Prix.
In 1951 he raced an Alfa Romeo 158 three times including the Swiss Grand Prix where he finished fifth. With the new Formula 2 rules in force for 1952, he returned to racing Maserati with Enrico Platé. he picked up third places at Cadours and Aix-les-Bains in non-championship races and a 4th in the Belgium Grand Prix at Spa, his est World Championship finish.In 1953 he drove a Maserati A6GCM, winning the Syracuse GP, the Eifelrennen F2 race and the Lavant Cup at Goodwood. He then installed a 2.5-litre engine in the car and raced it briefly in 1954. He also raced a Maserati sports car which he took to South America early in the season, winning the Circuit of Gavea race at Rio and the São Paulo GP.He raced little after this, having a few sports car outings in Ferraris and Maseratis before making a final Grand Prix appearance at Monza in 1956.
In 1955 he acted as a double for Kirk Douglas in the action scenes during the making of the film The Racers written by fellow Swiss racing driver Hans Reusch. de Graffenried continued to run his successful Alfa Romeo dealership that he opened in 1950. Later taking on Rolls-Royce and Ferrari.In 1962 he was the co-founder of the Club International des Anciens Pilotes de Grand Prix F1 and starting in the easly 1970s he attended races as an ambassador for the Lausanne-based Philip Morris tobacco company. Emmanuel de Graffenried took to the wheel again in 1998 to celebrate the 50th aniversary of Silverstone.