Tributes to Paul Mitchell

UK racer Paul Mitchell died suddenly in June 2013. Paul's close friend Colin Humphries writes:

Paul was a serious racer back in the 1990s competing in the 11.90 Street classes. He owned and co ran an American car auto garage called GS Autos. His passing will have a huge impact on the scene here. We'd like to extend our condolences to his family, his wife Heather and children Anthony and Hannah.

We have received the following tributes to Paul. To send your own tribute, E-Mail

The most recently-received tributes are at the top of the page.

A huge thank you to all those who wrote tributes on for my husband.

These are early days for me and all our family and friends and I think I can speak for us all to say we are still shocked and devastated. But, as you can probably imagine, I was not really surprised by any of those beautiful tributes.

I knew the man I married was someone very special indeed - I was lucky he chose me to love, and to share closely the last nine years of his life. We were not simply husband and wife but best mates and the ones we utterly trusted. I can't even think ahead to life without him so I'm dealing with life as it is, moment by moment, as Paul taught me. He also taught me not to take life too seriously.

Thanks so much for reminding me of stories Paul told me about his early years of drag racing, with Jan and Hannah and Anthony - and for reminding us all of great times and what an amazing human being we all knew. The kind of bloke people aspire to be. I was lucky to spend these last almost nine years with him.

It was also a wonderful turn-out for Paul's funeral. There were even complaints about the cars revving up as a mark of respect. Paul would have loved that. Thank You if you came.

I'm chuffed that Paul's son Anthony will carry on racing. Of course!

-- Heather Mitchell

Thanks for making me laugh all those times at school Mitch! A real nice, genuine bloke. We will miss you.

-- Dave Nugent

A good friend for me and a genuine bloke which is rare these days. I will misshaving a laughwith him.

-- Tony Stallard


Firstly apart from Tony who would race a Buick ?

A friend once told me as you go through life you will be lucky to have made enough good mates to count on one hand. I believe Paul bucked that trend as when he met people throughout his life they would warm to his unique personality and quirky sense of humour. Through his life he has probably made more good mates than anybody here today. So let's put it to the test, hands up here who considers Paul to be a good mate of theirs? There that's what I am talking about. That's a few more than five then .

Paul had a special way of dealing with customers at the workshop by not always doing what they wanted or in the timescale they wanted, but doing the job the way he knew best and in the timescale he knew best which always included at least five cups of tea and plenty of biscuits. But the proof of the pudding was always when they came back for more work as they knew Paul was bloody good at what he did.

I got to know Paul through drag racing, over twenty years ago Paul invited me and my wife to a November meeting at the Pod where he was racing the Buick. We turned up late at night only to be met with a scene which can only be described as the back streets of Beirut, there were open fires everywhere, people drinking beer, smoke drifting around the place, engines being revved up with no exhausts, I thought pukka this is the place for me! My wife wasn't so excited, especially when she saw the Santa Pod toilets. We had a great weekend with Paul introducing us to the joys of drag racing and if you get a chance look on Eurodragster at the tributes to Paul and you will see that most of the comments are about the great parties we all had and how everyone ended up in the Street Car pits into the early hours even the odd Funny Car driver.

Some of you may know I was here Friday for my father-in-law and I helped carry his coffin, I found out that the Funeral Director was also conducting Paul's funeral today and I told him that four of us wanted to carry Paul, he replied Mr Mitchell was rather a big unit and we might struggle with four so we did it with six. That's how I would like to remember Paul he was a big man, a big character a big personality and he was a big unit. I believe another word for big is great, he was a great man andwe will all miss him.

-- Gary Petley's tribute read out at Paul's funeral

So sad to hear the news of Paul's passing. I will never forget the night of Charlie Draper's clutch explosion, we were all downbeat, Paul just started surfboarding on the campfire! Lifting everyone's spirit in such a worrying time.

-- Chris Luck

Great bloke, good memories, sad times.

-- Paul Mander

When we first started racing, Paul and his family were the first people we met as we pitted next to them . We had such a good time that we pitted next to them every time. That's the type of person he was. He will be sadly missed, thoughts are with his family and friends.

-- Jumpin' Black Flash family and crew

Paul was one of the good guys. Jim and Charlie Draper introduced me to Paul in the late 1980s. He always made me welcome and we had great laughs at the track, parties and Friday nights at the pub in Gidea Park with Charlie also when I lived in Essex. RIP Paul, my thoughts are with all of Paul's family.

-- Lee Child

Sad, sad news. RIP Paul.

-- Matthew Wright

What sad news, did not know Paul well but he always seemed like one of the good guys. And by allthe tributes he certainly was. God bless Paul and Rest In Peace. Condolences to all his Family.

-- Ken Robbins

Rick and I were deeply saddened to hear of Pauls passing away. We remember him racing his lovely big white Buick in the good old days. We bought from him the very first transmission we ever built, which finally marked the end of the grief we had in the mid nineties witha less than knowledgeable builder. He was supportive of our efforts and a very good laugh. Our deepest condolences to his family.

-- Carla and Rick McCann

Hey Smokey Mitch, who am I going to phone now when I need help and advice? Rest in peace my mate. Hope they have V8s wherever you are! I will never forget you.

-- Russ at Customville

What a shocker this news was, my whole family have known Paul since our school years, in fact he only lived five doors away from us but it took till the mid 80s for us to strike up a great friendship. We had some great parties with Paul and family and in all our early days ofracing at the Pod we would meet up round a bonfire drinking beer and talking into the early hours. Great guy and our thoughts are with all of his family.

-- Jim, Charlie, Dave and Gladys Draper

Paul was a friend for thirty years and has probably worked on all of our members' cars in the Damn Yankees American Car Club at some time or another. I was only down the yard on the Monday talking to Paul and Pete at GS.Autos and then bang on Thursday he was gone. Makes you realise how precious life is. Paul will be greatly missed. We always had a good laugh together especially all those weekends at Santa Pod and at Blake Hall. Won't be many of us old car guys left at this rate. We will all miss him.

-- Gary Hall

It's with a very sad heart that I write this. Paul was the centre of all American and drag racing here in Essex back in the 90s. It was Paul who convinced me to buy my Dodge Dart and together with Rob Loaring of ICE designed the 440 ci, a one-off special to run nines with no gas. Rob designed it, Paul built it and it certainly did that. Grumpy's Dodge would never have happened if it wasn't for Paul. He was well-known in the area running GS Autos behind Customville, many a late night on a Wednesday doing race car stuff then off to the burger bar. Happy days indeed with a great bunch of friends and when we were all at the track it was as a big family. My thoughts are with his family, his wife Heather, Anthony (Sid) and Hannah. RIP Paul.

-- Paul Watson

Nice bloke will be sadly missed.

-- Brian Huxley

We were so saddened to hear another one of the good guys has left us too soon. It was a pleasure to have known Paul. We will always have the happy memories from the Damn Yankees get-togethers, especially the Blake Hall days. Our love and sympathy to Hannah and Anthony and to Heather. Thoughts also to all of Paul's closest friends. Paul will be remembered fondly and missed by so many.

-- Jeff and Belinda Bull

I would like to extend my condolences to Paul's family and friends, he will be greatly missed by all. Exactly one week to the day before his passing I had Paul give my truck a quick look at, after many brews and a catch up chat we got on to "Why is it that all the nice guys seem to go first and the world's worst live on?". I need not say any more. With deepest sympathies.

-- Alan Elliott and family

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