Bob Said (1932-2002), whose real name was Boris, was an American racing driver of Syrian origin who was active mostly during the 1950s.
He was the first American to win a race in Europe after the World War II, the Rouen Grand Prix in 1953. Said recorded one start in the Formula 1 World Championship, in the 1959 US Grand Prix at Sebring Raceway.
He was one of the rare sportsmen who participated in racing events and Olympic Games. He was a member of the US Bobsleigh team two times, in 1968 in Grenoble and in 1972 in Sapporo.
Quit university to pursue a career in motorsport
Born in May 1932 in New York City, Boris 'Bob' Said quit Princeton University to pursue a career in motorsport. He started to race in 1951, participating in circuit races and hill climbs. His first race cars were MG TD and Jaguar XK120.
In 1952, he continued to race in the US with different cars. Then, in March 1953, he made a debut at Sebring 12 Hours, driving a Frazer Nash Mille Miglia to 14th-place finish.
First American to win in Europe after the World War II
In 1953, Said also begun to race in an Osca MT4 1350. After gaining some success in the US, he won the Rouen Grand Prix in France in June, becoming the first American to win a road race in Europe after the World War II.
Later that year, he failed to finish at Reims 12 Hours and Caen Grand Prix in an Osca. One more win followed in Anerley Trophy at Chrystal Palace circuit.
In 1955, Bob Said was driving a Ferrari 375 to new speed record at Daytona Beach
Weird crash at 1955 Sebring 12 Hours
In March 1954, Said came to Sebring with Osca MT4 1450, sharing a car with George Moffett. They finished 25th. Later that year, he started to race in a Ferrari 500 Mondial. Together with Masten Gregory, he finished ninth overall and second in class at Tourist Trophy at Dundrod Circuit, a part of the World Sportscar Championship.
In March 1955, Bob Said and Masten Gregory competed at Sebring 12 Hours in the #27 Ferrari 750 Monza. They were fighting for a podium when Said collided with an ambulance and retired from the race.
Out of racing due to financial problems
He was out of racing in 1956 due to financial problems and returned in December 1957, driving a Ferrari 500 TR in sports car events. In February 1958, he finished 15th at Gran Premio de Cuba in a Ferrari 500 TR. A month later, he and Miguel Rivera retired at Sebring 12 Hours in a Ferrari.
Later that year, Said was driving Sadler-Chevrolet in the USAC Road Racing Championship but without notable results.
Bob Said was driving the #18 Connaught C at 1959 US Grand Prix
1959 - 50th place at Daytona 500, a short ride in the US Grand Prix
In 1959, his first race was the Daytona 500 in the NASCAR Grand National series. Driving Buck Baker's #89 Chevrolet, he was classified 50th after completing 42 laps. In April, he returned to Daytona to race in 1000-km sports car race, finishing in the second place together with Art Bunker in a Porsche 718 RSK.
Over the year he participated in national events and then, in December, he decided to make an attempt in Formula 1. The US Grand Prix took place that year at Sebring International Raceway. Said hired Paul Emery's Connaught Type C-Alta and qualified 13th for the race. But, the race lasted shortly as he spun off in Turn 1.
Bob Said as a pilot of the USA Bobsleigh Olympic team
Making millions in the property business, having fun in bobsleigh
The season 1959 was the last in car racing for Bob Said. He focused on property business and became a millionaire in few years. In 1966, he made one more attempt at Sebring 12 Hours with Tom Payne's team, driving a Shelby Cobra to 15th-place finish.
In the same time, Said found a new sport, entering bobsleigh competitions. In 1968, he was representing the USA in the Winter Olympic Games in France. Four years later, he was again a member of the US bobsleigh team in Sapporo.
Said later became the award-winning movie producer, winning an Emmy for the NBC television documentary Mystery of the Sphynx in 1993.