Charles Headland

Charlie Headland

Charles David Headland was born in Boston, Lincolnshire in 1910, the son of a street cleaner. Charlie went on to make his fortune in the motor trade in Birmingham throughout the 1940’s and 50’s. From the very beginning, he had the constant support and backing of his wife, Ivy Headland who sadly died in 1964 at the young age of 54. Between them, they built a variety of businesses including property. Charlie became a prolific competitor, racing almost every weekend in the '51 to '54 period. He was extremely competitive, Charlie Cooper once said that Charlie Headland either won or he went off, a view backed up by contemporary reports in Iota. He was a man who had to win, becoming a top road race cyclist in the early 30’s.

Charlie gets it wrong in the Cooper Mk V at Gamston, July 1951.

Charlie started in a Marwyn-JAP in the later part of 1949 and, unsurprisingly, we have only a couple of DNFs, plus a roll in practice at Rhydymwyn, on record for this car which was quickly replaced by Spike Rhiando's Cooper Mk II for 1950. A respectable season followed with occasional podiums, including at Zandvoort in June, and a pair of seconds to Joe Fry at Lulsgate in April and Croft in September to Alan Rogers in his Cooper Mk IV,

Headland upgraded again at the end of the season to a new a Cooper Mk V and things started well with a win at Ards in April but the rest of the year proved mixed, FTD at Prescott and a win at Croft but plenty of DNFs including the prestigious Grand Prix and Commander Yorke meetings. By October 1951, he had acquired one of the first Kieft CK51's although it seems he kept the Cooper until the end of the year. The result was a win against top opposition at Castle Combe in October and at Peplow and fifth overall in the Autosport National Championship.

1952 proved a very mixed year for Charlie, some fine performances gave him the lead the Autosport National Championship during the early part of the year. He won at Ards in March '52, beat Don Parker at  Ibsley in April but things went badly wrong at Beveridge Park Kirkcaldy on the 26th.

He finished second to Don at Snetterton at the end of May then took two wins at Silverstone in June and a third in the 100 Mile race, unusually aboard a factory Arnott but the end of the year brought a series of non finishes. In all, we have twenty five appearances for the year.

Daphne Arnott appears to have tried to persuade Charlie away from his Kieft

For the early part of '53 he continued with the Kieft, finishing second to Ken Tyrrell at Kirkcaldy in April and second at Silverstone on the 16th May,  Peter Collins spoke of a race against Charlie as “one of the greatest Formula 3 races I ever had”. (source - Mon Ami Mate).

Headland in his Kieft, possibly Brands Hatch.

Leading Don Parker at Silverstone.

By mid '53, he had moved to a Martin, which he modified and is sometimes referred to as the Martin-Headland. The Martin brought him a win at Silverstone in June and a handicap win at Cadwell Park in September plus a second at Silverstone in October and numerous placings. At the Easter 1954 Brands Hatch meeting, he finished third in the Open Challenge Final to Lewis Evans and Tyrrell, a win at Kirkcaldy and three wins at Silverstone.

1955 began with a win at Oulton Park in April, still in the Martin, but went badly wrong at Silverstone on 7th May in the International 50 Mile Race. Charlie wasn't the lightest and to compensate, a lot of the car was drilled for lightness, including the brake pedal, which broke at Copse. The car overturned breaking both of his legs, putting him in hospital for six months. This event proved to be the end of Charlie’s racing career. After Ivy's death, Charlie sold off most of his business interests. He later remarried to Barbara and moved to Jersey.

With his Martin-Headland, Oulton Park 9th June '53. Photo Robert Bailey

Charlie's known results:


Blandford 27th August 1949, DNF

Silverstone 3rd September 1949, DNF

Cooper Mk II

Lulsgate 15th April 1950, 2nd

Beechwood Park, Markyate 14th May 1950, 3rd

Prescott Hill 20th May 1950, 9th

Blandford 29th May 1950, 2nd in heat

Zandvoort 11th June 1950, 3rd

Brands Hatch 25th June 1950, 3rd in open heat

Prescott Hill 16th July 1950, 6th

Gamston 19th August 1950, 3rd in handicap

Silverstone 2nd September 1950 Sunbac Meeting, DNF

Croft 9th September 1950, 2nd

Cooper Mk V

Newtonards 17th March 1951, 1st

Brands Hatch 21st April 1951, 2nd in open heat, 3rd in Brands Hatch Championship heat

Silverstone 5th May 1951 Daily Express International Trophy 4th

Brands Hatch 12th May 1951 Daily Telegraph International Trophy, 3rd in international heat

Prescott 19th May 1951, 2nd

Prescott 20th May 1951, 1st

Silverstone 26th May 1951, 2nd

Silverstone 14th July 1951 Grand Prix, DNF

Gamston 21st July 1951, 4th

Brands Hatch 6th August 1951 Daily Telegraph Trophy, 2nd in open heat

Boreham 11th August 1951, DNF in heat

Silverstone 18th August 1951 Commander Yorke Trophy, 1st in all-comers, 1st production cars, DNF in 100 mile race

Croft 8th September 1951, 1st

Brands Hatch 9th September 1951, DNF in open heat

Silverstone 22nd September 1951, 1st in heat, 2nd in final

Brands Hatch 23rd September 1951, DSQ in open heat, 2nd in Brands Hatch championship heat, DNF in final


Castle Combe 6th October 1951, 3rd in heat, 1st in final

Brough 7th October 1951, 3rd in scratch heat, 4th in handicap heat, 4th in handicap final

Winfield 13th October 1951, 4th (Cooper)

Brands Hatch 21st October 1951, 2nd in open heat, 10th in final, (Cooper), 2nd in Brands Hatch championship, (Kieft)

Peplow 21st October 1951, 1st


Ards 15th March 1952, 1st

Castle Combe 12th April 1952, DNF

Brands Hatch 14th April 1952, DNF in London heat

Ibsley 19th April 1952, 1st in heat, 1st in final

Beveridge Park, Kirkcaldy 26th April 1952, 1st in heat, DNF in final, DNF in Royal Scottish heat

Silverstone 10th May 1952 International Trophy, DNF

Brussels 11th May 1952, DNF in heat

Boreham 17th May 1952, DNF

Brands Hatch 18th May 1952, 1st in consolation race

Luxembourg Grand Prix 22nd May 1952, 4th in heat, 8th in final

Nürburgring 24th May 1952, 14th

Snetterton 31st May 1952, 4th in heat

Goodwood Whitsun 4th June 1952 International Trophy, DNF

Silverstone 14th June 1952, 1st in heat, 1st in final

Brands Hatch 22nd June 1952, 3rd in senior heat

Silverstone 28th June 1952, 1st in heat, 1st in final

Silverstone 19th July 1952 British Grand Prix, 6th

Boreham 2nd August 1952 Daily Mail International, DNF

Brands Hatch 4th August 1952, 4th in sprint heat, 2nd in international heat, 6th in final

Silverstone 23rd August 1952 Commander Yorke Trophy, 5th in senior race, 5th in heat, 3rd in 100 mile final (Arnott)

Silverstone 6th September 1952 SUNBAC, DNF

Silverstone 20th September 1952, 3rd

Brands Hatch 21st September 1952, DNF in senior final

Goodwood 27th September 1952, DNF

Castle Combe 4th October 1952, 3rd in heat, DNF in final


Brough 3rd April 1953, 2nd in scratch heat, DNF in final

Castle Combe 4th April 1953, 2nd in heat

Brands Hatch 7th April 1953 Easter Meeting, 5th in open heat

Ibsley 18th April 1953, 10th in heat, DNF in final

Beveridge Park, Kirkcaldy 25th April 1953, 1st in heat, DNS in final, 1st in heat, 2nd in final

Silverstone 9th May 1953 International Trophy Meeting, 6th

Silverstone 16th May 1953, 2nd

Brands Hatch 24th May 1953 Coronation Trophy, 4th in open heat, 3rd in senior heat, 5th in coronation trophy

Brands Hatch 14th June 1953, DNF in heat, DNS in senior race


Silverstone 27th June 1953, DNF in heat, 1st in final

Crystal Palace 11th July 1953, 1st in heat, DNF in final

Silverstone 18th July 1953 British Grand Prix, DNF

Snetterton 1st August 1953, 3rd

Brands Hatch 3rd August 1953 International Trophy Meeting, 2nd in sprint heat, DNF in final, 2nd in international heat, 4th in final

Oulton Park 8th August 1953 Inaugural Meeting, 2nd in heat, DNF in final

Charterhall 15th August 1953, 4th

Silverstone 22nd August 1953 Commander Yorke Trophy, DNF in 100 mile race (Kieft)

Silverstone 5th September 1953 SUNBAC, 2nd in heat, 3rd on aggregate

Cadwell Park 20th September 1953, DNF in scratch race, 1st in handicap race

Oulton Park 3rd October 1953, DNF in heat

Silverstone 10th October 1953, 2nd

Snetterton 17th October 1953, 5th in heat


Brough 17th April 1954, 2nd in heat, 2nd in final, 3rd in handicap heat

Brands Hatch 19th April 1954 Easter Monday, 2nd in open heat, 3rd in final, 5th in senior race

Beveridge Park, Kirkcaldy 24th April 1954, 1st in heat, 1st in final, 1st in heat, 1st in final

Brands Hatch 1st May 1954, DNF in senior race, DNF in Whitsun invitation

Ibsley 8th May 1954, 4th

Silverstone 15th May 1954 Daily Express Meeting, DNF

Silverstone 22nd May 1954, 1st

Silverstone 5th June 1954, 1st

Cadwell Park 7th June 1954, 1st in heat, 2nd in final, DNF in handicap

Oulton Park 12th June 1954, DNF

Brands Hatch 2nd August 1954 Daily Telegraph Meeting, 2nd in open heat, 1st in international heat

Oulton Park 7th August 1954 Gold Cup, 5th in 75 mile race

Silverstone 21st August 1954 Commander Yorke Trophy, 1st in 100 mile race, 2nd in Commander Yorke trophy

Brands Hatch 5th September 1954, 2nd in open heat

Silverstone 11th September 1954, DNF

Crystal Palace 18th September 1954 Redex Trophy, DNF in heat

Silverstone 9th October 1954, 1st


Oulton Park 30th April 1955, 1st

Silverstone 7th May 1955 Daily Express International 50 Mile Race, DNF