A WOMAN who for decades was responsible for the global transportation of some of the world’s most valuable cars has died aged 60.
Gill Loveland, of Blackfield, had been a director of Marchwood-based Polygon International Vehicle Transportation run by her husband Wayne (65).
From the very early day of the Goodwood Festival of Speed and later Goodwood Revival too, she helped Wayne in arranging the transportation of race cars and vehicles from around the world, including Australia and the United States, for the events and Brooks and Bonhams auctions at Goodwood.
Paying tribute, the Duke of Richmond, who founded and oversees both events that have drawn millions of spectators, said: “Gill played a very important part at Goodwood from the very beginning.
“Always working quietly and effectively, supporting Wayne behind the scenes, we will very much miss her enthusiasm and kind nature.”
In 2013 Wayne and Gill arranged the transport including safeguarding for the ex-Juan Manuel Fangio 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196R ‘Silver Arrow’ Formula 1 car that sold for a then auction world record of £19.6m at Bonhams Festival of Speed sale. They are pictured with the car.
A year later another world record car in their care, a 1962-63 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta from the Maranello Rosso Museum in Italy, sold for a new world record £36m at Bonhams 2014 Pebble Beach sale in the United States.
Wayne and Gill had officially retired late last year with the sale of Polygon to CARS – Classic Automotive Relocation Services – but with Wayne still managing vehicle shipping for Goodwood and continuing as a consultant to CARS.
This meant the couple could concentrate on their own historic race team with Gill’s company Tiger Motor Sport.
Over the years – between delivering cars to Goodwood and despatching them after the event – they had become popular regulars at the Festival of Speed Forest Rally Stage with their Fiat, one year receiving the Shekhar Mehta Award for the spirit of rallying at the event from the Kenyan rally veteran.
For their retirement Gill and Wayne had bought a motor caravan to see some European events and do some proper touring after the many years of business travel demands. But then Gill fell ill, and passed away soon after their 15th wedding anniversary.
Wayne recalled it was in 1987 he had entered the specialist vehicle transport business, and working with Robert Brooks – then head of vehicle sales at Christies but later to become chairman of Bonhams – with the hasty building of a covered lorry.
He said: “Father had owned the Polygon Garage opposite the Mayflower in Southampton, and I operated recovery trucks, but Robert needed a covered truck to carry a Bugatti Royale so we hurriedly built it for the Bugatti that was to sell for a then world record £5.5m.”
Robert then set up his own auction house and Wayne started his new transport specialism, later to be joined by Gill as a part-time Saturday helper.
Gill, who had grown up in Surrey and moved to Southampton with her father working for the Ordnance Survey, had a childhood reputation as a tomboy, with antics involving home-made karts and cycles made by her brother Ken, who followed his father into the OS while sister Alison was at secondary school.
Leaving school at 16, and marrying, she had daughter Carly at 21 and then son Michael, becoming a single parent on divorce after 14 years and her strong work ethos saw Michael go on to obtain a law degree.
It was while Carly and Michael were still teenagers and visiting their father on a Saturday that Gill was introduced to Polygon Transport and helped out every Saturday, leading to her part-time role which became full-time after Wayne divorced and the business relocated, with Gill running the office.
Carly recalled that a social relationship developed after she invited Wayne to join her family for her 18th birthday party.
She said: “Gill soon found out that exotic invites to travel to Europe with Wayne would always involve a lorry or 4×4 and trailer, also including collection or delivery of a classic car or cars to private addresses, exhibitions and race meets.
“Gill soon got fully involved in the business, helping Wayne expand the company and making many lifelong friends along the way, as well as becoming a crucial part of a duo team, not bad for a woman who told Wayne she had never stayed in a hotel.
“Her confidence grew rapidly, not afraid of voicing her views and bringing out her dry sense of humour. She stayed in hotels throughout Europe, Switzerland, Africa, the Caribbean and America and was not afraid to complain if all was not as expected.”
Gill also leaves grandchildren Robert Christopher and Arthur, with William – named by Gill – still en route.