Bob Said

Boris Said, known as Bob, was an extraordinary character. The son of a Syrian father and a Russian mother, he grew up in comfortable circumstances in Greenwich, Connecticut, and enjoyed the best education money could buy at Deerfield Academy and Princeton. While at Princeton he discovered car racing. After doing well in local events he decided that he would head for Europe and quit Princeton after a year.

In the summer of 1953 he won a sports car race at Rouen, becoming the first American to win a European race in the post-war era. He switched from OSCA to Ferrari in 1954 and scored some good results, finishing second in Bari. At the start of 1955 he was back in the United States racing a Ferrari until an accident in Nassau in the Bahamas ended his career while he looked for more money. He made some money in a mining company in Montana and returned to racing in the Bahamas at the end of 1957, winning his class with a Ferrari in Nassau.

In 1959 Said drove in the first United States Grand Prix at Sebring having rented a two-year old Connaught from Paul Emery but went off on the first lap while trying to outbrake some of the big name stars. That was it in terms of Formula 1 but Said went on racing until 1962 by which time he had gone into the property business.

He borrowed money to buy land in Westchester County and made a fortune. By then his interest had switched to bobsleigh racing and in the years that followed he represented the United States at the Winter Olympics in 1968 in Grenoble and in 1972 at Sapporo in Japan. He remained involved in the bobsleigh world into the 1980s but was also active in show jumping. By the 1990s he was involved in film production and won an Emmy for a documentary called Mystery of the Sphinx, a show hosted by Charlton Heston.

His son Boris Said III went into racing in the late 1980s and was TransAm champion in 2002. Since then he has enjoyed a limited career as a road racer in NASCAR events, including a win in the Craftsman Truck Series.

Said was busy expanding his film business when he was struck down by cancer. He died in 2002.