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Ted Cutting, designer of Aston Martin's Le Mans-winning DBR1, dies aged 85

Aston Martin Carroll Shelby Roy Salvadori Le Mans 24 Hours 1959

Ted Cutting, the man behind Aston Martin's Le Mans-winning DBR1, has died at the age of 85.

After a spell in the Fleet Air Arm, Cutting joined Sydney Allard's small team in the 1940s. He once described the job as "very basic automobile engineering" and left to join Aston Martin in 1949.

Initially a draughtsman, he was quickly brought into the company's design team, working under chief engineer Professor Robert Eberan-Eberhorst, of pre-war Auto Union GP car fame, and later Willie Watson.

In 1955 Cutting became chief racing designer and was instrumentally involved in every Aston Martin racing car produced during the manufacturer's most active and successful period prior to modern times.

Although he was responsible for all the racing Astons until 1963, from the delayed and ultimately ill-fated DBR4/250 grand prix car to the Project 212, 214 and 215 GT cars of 1962-63, his greatest achievement was the DBR1/300.

The three-litre machine won the Nurburgring 1000Km three years in a row from 1957-59. In its final season as a works car, the DBR1 took the Le Mans 24 Hours in the hands of Roy Salvadori and Carroll Shelby, and Aston Martin became only the second marque to beat Ferrari to the World Sports Car Championship in 1959.

After the Project cars, Aston Martin ceased direct involvement in motor racing and Cutting joined Ford, where he worked for many years and completed his career.

In retirement, he lectured in motor engineering and retained a close interest in both Aston Martin and Ford. He appeared at the Aston Martin Owners Club's 50th anniversary celebrations of the Le Mans win in 2009.

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