Cyril William Kieft was born in Swansea on September 27 1911, a proud Welshman in spite of his Dutch surname. After his education at Wellington, where he excelled at shooting, he followed his father, Albert, into the steel industry, training under him at Richard Thomas & Baldwin. At 22 he was appointed assistant plant manager at the Redbourne works near Scunthorpe. In 1937 they restarted the Haybridge steel works in Shropshire producing steel sections for the war effort. Cyril joined the Home Guard where, with his love for all things mechanical, he served as an officer in the bomb disposal unit. In 1943 he moved to become managing director of Wolverhampton steel works and he purchased a drop forging company and pressing company. The forge company was based in Derry Street, Wolverhampton, which after the war was to be home to Kieft Cars. In 1946, aware of the impending nationalisation of the steel industry and “not wishing to become a civil servant”, Kieft set up a manufacturing company in Bridgend, South Wales.
The new car only only made a limited programme of events during '51, partly due to its late arrival but also because Moss was very much in demand by this time. It was, however, quick and Moss took a number of high profile victories, sufficient for Charlie Headland to acquire a car before the end of the year. Don Parker's car appeared in 1952 to run a full season and demonstrate its real potential, winning the Formula Three Championship in 1952 and '53. In 1952 the car was exhibited at Earls Court, in recognition of its success. Throughout this time Kieft was still running his engineering business, relocating it from Bridgend to Wolverhampton. He also set up the Welsh Motor Racing Club and a race circuit at Fairwood Common, just outside Swansea.
In 1961 he also bought a motor cruiser, in which he enjoyed cruising around Britain and the Mediterranean and became an active member of the Royal Motor Yacht Club. It was while on his cruiser that his interest in motor racing was rekindled when, while berthed on the Seine, he was joined on his boat by a near neighbour from Wolverhampton, Richard Atwood, who at that time was driving for BRM. Jack Brabham and Denny Hulme were also of the company, and they soon got Kieft into the habit of watching grand prix races on television wherever he was on his travels. Almost from the day he had sold Kieft Cars he had been contacted by enthusiasts and owners for information on his cars. He was always happy to oblige, and on a number of occasions he attended events organised by the 500 Owners Association. Perhaps his proudest moment came in September 2002, at Silverstone, when he finally saw the completed Kieft Formula One car from 1954. After the death of his wife, Megan, Cyril moved to Spain, where he set about having a house built to his own design. He died on May 10, 2004, aged 92. Also see an appreciation of Cyril Kieft by Tony Cotton.