Henri Baigent, 1910-1971

Master Modeller, Precision Engineer, Artist and Inventor

Left to right: Lotus Ford, Repco-Brabham, Moss's Cooper and Lotus, and Delahaye with Henri in workshop

as they appeared in Sunday Telegraph Supplement article

His Life and Cars

including the truth about how he invented and patented model-car slot-racing and rail-racing



Note: It may seem unreal but this treatise only covers about a fifth of Henri's work. Much of it was not documented while the modelling business was undergoing its early development, his work-rate was prodigious but never-the-less he was fastidious to the extreme at all times.


above left; the all-silver 1907 Rolls Royce chassis ordered by Sir Stirling Moss

above right, the Full-size 1934 James Young Roech Talbot 105 Coupe rebuilt during early 1970s by Henri. This photograph was taken after the car was bought by Beaulieu Motor Museum.

Note from the author:

When I started assembling the photos, cuttings and magazine articles about Henri for my family, I really did not realise how much there was to do or how long it would take, or how many models Henri had built. It has taken three years of my spare time, including the research needed to eradicate mistakes, and to get the facts as right as was possible. I am indebted to those who have helped me in my task, including my sister Muriel who kept a considerable part of the 'evidence' to pass on to her two sons. I apologise to trans-Atlantic readers for the use of some non-American spellings. I have changed units to help sometimes, but the international scene is in a mess with all the imperial and metric units at the time of writing. I have also inserted jargon names equivalents where I can. I would be pleased if any of our American friends would keep me up-to-date. Of course the Internet has provided an opportunity for us to share information between those with special interests, so a web-site seemed to be the obvious way to broadcast the story of this considerably talented artist with all the necessary images, as, 'they speak a thousand words'. I also apologise to those who originally provided some of the text and photographs, I will try to contact as many as possible and obtain their permission where they are still living. I was Henri's only son, my name is Raymond, usually called Ray, feel free to e-mail me if you have justifiable complaints about anything used in telling the story. I was taught by Henri that perfection is not achievable by man alone, but excellence should be pursued by all, and I am still striving for that and usually have fallen short of the target.

 I have checked the suitability of some web-browsers including MS Internet Explorer 6 and/or 7, Mozilla, and the Firefox series, the main ones in use, but any troubles you experience should be sorted out if you let me know. In time, I hope to cover other browsers. For most of the text I have used a font that is easy to read, but you might like to alter your browser-settings to suit yourselves, and I have used Windows standard hyper-link colours almost everywhere on the site. Don't forget, in IE7 one can use the enlarger function down in the lower-right of panel.

 I am deeply grateful to my two sons, Colin and Stephen, for their encouragement, who thought the whole project would be rubbish, bless them! They did not know about Henri as they were too young when he died, but they know now just how talented their grandfather was. I hope this will give them the opportunity to see one or two of Henri's exceptional models in real life.

Lastly, and not least, many thanks to my dear lady wife, who has been so patient whilst I have been progressing this large project.

If you have enjoyed reading this story, perhaps you would consider a contribution to The Oxford Transplant Fund, (see www.oxfordtransplant.co.uk )as Henri would have been pleased with that. His work has given much pleasure to a great number of people, and I would not have been able to produce this treatise if it had not been for the expertise and care of the Unit at Oxford. You could send me a cheque payable to the Fund or send a payment to my email address at Paypal r.baigent AT waitrose.com . I will then accumulate and pass it on to the Fund and add a generous contribution myself. Please be generous, as I have told the companies that allowed me to publish the copyright components that I would use it to raise funds for the Unit at Oxford, and I would like to honour my word. If you are a Sir Stirling Moss fan, and who isn't, then you would be interested to know that this is one of his main charities, see www.stirlingmoss.com. Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber has donated all his profits from his TV specials to the Fund, I am told. Now, we can't compete with him, but we could unlock those wallets and let out the moths! I have had an enormous response to this site, and I am happy that it has been received so well, thank you all for your kind comments.

18th March 2009: I have added many pictures and texts from other modellers that have beavered away to help expand this story. I am extremely grateful to all of them. I have to thank the many e-mailers that have welcomed my work and have been so generous in their comments. I am glad the hobby is still being enjoyed. I still have some more editing to do but it does take quite a lot of time.