One of the foremost figures behind Britain’s love of the scooter, successful small volume car producer, CanAm sportscar builder and one time Formula One entrant, Peter Agg died on March 2 aged 82 after losing his battle with cancer.
Born on April 11 1929 in Wandsworth, London, Agg initially worked in the family wine business before making the switch to importing Lambretta scooters in 1950. So successful was this that, along with rival Vespa, the two Italian manufacturers ruled the country’s roads. Subsequently, Lambretta Concessionaires began importing Suzuki motorcycles in 1962 as Two Four Accessories, and ultimately even Vespas. Three years earlier Agg had acquired ailing Trojan Limited in order to expand scooter distribution by using its Croydon, Surrey-based factory and facilities, and when in 1962 he acquired the rights to produce Heinkel bubble cars in Britain, the venerable car manufacturer’s name reappeared with the renamed Trojan 200 bubble car.
When the original Elva Cars was forced into liquidation in 1961, Lambretta-Trojan Group took over Elva production for the reformed company prior to taking over the entire business in 1964. Thereafter, Lambretta-Trojan produced the Courier Mark II before developing and producing the car in Mark III and IV guises until selling further road car production to concentrate on Elva sports-racing cars. The latter led to a contract with fledgling race constructor McLaren, Trojan building under licence some 200 customer versions of its highly successful Group 7 sports-racers, beginning with the 1964 McLaren-Elva-Oldsmobile Mark 1 (M1A) and culminating in the 1972 McLaren-Chevrolet M8FP, as well as Formula 5000 and Formula 2/3/B single-seaters; after McLaren itself took over production from 1973 Trojan continued to service customer McLarens.
Credited with playing an instrumental role in McLaren’s early international race successes, Agg’s company went on to build its own McLaren-based F5000 car before creating its only F1 car, the Trojan T103-Cosworth, with which Agg became a Grand Prix entrant and Tim Schenken contested eight GPs in 1974, their best result a 10th place.
Ever full of drive, the entrepreneurial Agg also acquired bankrupt Suzuki GB and established the works-backed British Suzuki racing team, sponsored by oil company Heron of which he was chairman, and gave Barry Sheene his first factory ride and the 1976 and 1977 World Championship titles. In later years Peter Agg indulged his lifelong passion for motoring by accumulating an eclectic collection of over 100 historic and classic machines, as well as motorcycles, housed in his museum in Effingham Park, Sussex. He leaves a son, well known historic racer Charlie, and daughter Louise.