Mike Hawthorn was born on April 10th 1929, in Mexborough, Yorkshire. In 1931 the family moved to Farnham, Surrey, where Mike’s father Leslie went into partnership with motorcycle racer C.W. ” Paddy” Johnstone and set up the Tourist Trophy Garage, selling and tuning motorcycles and cars. When Mike was nine years old he attended Barfield Preparatory School in Runfold, just outside Farnham. He was a cheerful pupil, but only an average scholar as he placed a greater emphasis on sport and athletics than his schoolwork. Mike passed his common entrance exams and in 1942 went to Ardingly College, an expensive public school near Haywards Heath in Sussex. It was here, due to his thick shock of blond, almost white hair that he gained the nickname of “Snowball”. Having wasted most of his time on non-academic pursuits he left school in the summer of 1946 to further pursue his love of cars and motorcycles.
Late in 1946, Mike began a four year apprenticeship at Dennis Bros. of Guildford, which he didn’t much care for, for this stopped or at least restricted the time he could spend having fun with cars and bikes, and his gang of friends known as the “Members”.
Mike Hawthorn made his competition debut on 2nd September at the Brighton Speed Trials and by the end of his first season he had several wins under his belt, together with the Brooklands Memorial Trophy; quite a year. Hawthorns main successes came at the beginning of the ’52 season. Hawthorn was not known at this point by the majority of motor racing fans, but the Goodwood Meeting soon changed that! For after the race day all talk was about the blond-haired young driver who won his first two races and came second in the Formula One Race. Mike was driving the Cooper-Bristol Special Brew for the first time, and he caused quite a stir, for suddenly he was England’s great hope – a racing driver who could out drive established champions.
Mike continued with success after success. By the end of the 1952 season he had so impressed Enzo Ferrari that it was announced that in the 1953 season Mike would drive a Ferrari . The 1953 season started in average fashion for Mike – he was after all one of Ferrari’s junior drivers and the established Italian drivers were offered the best cars – so Mike was given the leftovers. However, the French Grand Prix changed everyone’s views. Hawthorn won his first Grand Prix, beating Fangio by one second, and from here started his real journey into motor racing history. Mike Hawthorn became one of Britain’s most famous racing drivers during his short career, which included wins at the Le Mans 24 hour race and at Sebring, both in the Jaguar D-Type. He crowned his career in 1958 by becoming Britains first Formula One World Champion. Tragically, he was killed in an accident on normal roads, just months after his retirement.
The “Farnham Flyer”, as he was known locally, was truly one of Britain’s great drivers, and his name and spirit live on through the original Tourist Trophy Garage, now renamed Hawthorn’s in his honour.
In 1994 the spirit was reborn. With a passion for performance and luxury cars and a strong interest in motor sport we opened the doors as franchised TVR dealers and set about racing in the TVR Tuscan challenge.
By 2005 we had moved away from TVR to focus on the Sports and Luxury market from our Station Hill showroom whilst maintaining a keen interest in various motor sport activities including GT racing, Fun Cup and sponsorship of local racing driver Miss Jessica Hawkins.
January 2018 marked a very special return to our heritage site, The Old Tourist Trophy Workshops. Home to Mike Hawthorn and his father Leslie's business during the 1950's where they sold and maintained Jaguar, Ferrari and Maserati cars.
From here we aim to continue building our relationship with the local community as well as welcoming people from further afield to enjoy the Hawthorns experience.