Blog: Dave LeggettJeff Daniels

Dave Leggett | 27 February 2008

A rather dark cloud has descended on today with the news that Jeff Daniels, a longtime automotive industry journalist and technical report writer, has died. He was 68 and had not long ago written a report on future fuels (among others) for us. Retiring to the golf course was not for Jeff (he once told me: 'retiring is like waiting to die'). He'd had health problems before, but he seemed to have weathered that storm and was apparently back to his old self. 

I met up with him late last year in London and he was in fine fettle, attacking lunch in a Turkish restaurant with his usual enthusiasm and stressing that he was keen to stay busy - he was brimming with ideas. And he was an absolute mine of useful information and knowledge stretching back decades. I'll remember him as a down to earth bloke and always friendly, great company. Nothing was too much trouble to help someone out. Utterly professional, he would always go the extra mile if necessary. Believe me, he was an exceptional character who really knew his stuff but was never pompous with it. 

And he is the only motoring journalist I have ever come across who walked out on a product launch at the airport because he didn't like the rude tone of the security jobsworth when asked to take his shoes off for the X-ray machine. Most of us just put up with it. He was 'old school' (in a good way, old-fashioned values like courtesy counted). Typical Jeff, he thought he'd let down the profession in that rash act. He couldn't have been more wrong. He'll be much missed by many and our thoughts are with his family.

The Guild of Motoring Writers issued this release today:

The Guild of Motoring Writers is sad to report the death of well known member Jeff Daniels.

Jeff, 68, a larger-than-life character who was working until very recently, won many awards for his writing, and his technical knowledge was outstanding. During his career he worked at Car and Autocar before turning his hand to PR at Datsun and Citroen. He returned to writing as a freelance contributing to Automotive Engineer, European Automotive Design and Evo. Jeff also wrote a number of technical and historical books.

As well as being a long-serving Guild member, Jeff was a member and former chairman of the Fleet Street Motoring Group.

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