George Nicholas “Nick” Georgano
1932 – October 22, 2017
Nick Georgano passed away in Guernsey where he had moved to in retirement. He authored or edited an astonishing array of books, over 60 titles published in the UK and the USA apart from many translations, ranging from modest Shire volumes to The Complete Encyclopaedia of Motorcars first published in 1968 and its ultimate successor The Beaulieu Encyclopaedia of the Automobile.
Nick was born in 1932 and allegedly attempted his first motoring encyclopaedia, a list of trucks, at the age of 7. His first published title was the update of Doyle’s The World’s Automobiles in about 1958. After graduation from Oxford in 1956, Nick for a while followed the teaching profession, but from 1976 to 1981 he was librarian at the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu.
In 1969, Nick was a founder member (number 32) of the Society of Automotive Historians in the USA, and on 16 February 1980 he was one of the founders and first secretary of the UK chapter which became the SAHB where he was recognized as honorary member. He served for many years as a trustee of the Michael Sedgwick Memorial Trust and was a member of the advisory council of the National Motor Museum. He was some time a member of the VCC dating committee. He twice won the Guild of Motoring Writers’ Montagu award, for The Complete Encyclopaedia of Motorcars, and in 1995 for Britain’s Motor Industry The First Hundred Years (of which Nick Baldwin, Jonathan Wood, and Anders Clausager, were privileged to be his co-authors). He was the first winner of the SAH Cugnot award in 1972 with A History of Sports Cars and won it twice again, in 1980 for The Complete Encyclopedia of Commercial Vehicles, and in 1993 for The American Automobile – A Centenary 1893-1993. In 2001, The Beaulieu Encyclopaedia got a Cugnot award of distinction. Nick received many other honours and awards.
Nick was a courteous and charming man, rather private and perhaps somewhat retiring, but he could display a sly sense of humour. The depth and breadth of his knowledge of automotive history was astounding, and he was enormously respected by his professional colleagues. He was always ready with help and advice. He will be much missed by all of us in SAH and SAHB, and by his many other friends and colleagues. We honour his memory.
Contributed by Anders Ditlev Clausager with minor editing by Louis F. Fourie