We lose friends as we go through life. We miss all of them. But there are certain people that leave a hole in your heart when they are gone. Nicky Wright was very special to me and my Mother, Donna. He became part of our family. Nicky was one of a kind. So since he is part of my Shelby story, I want him to be part of this web page so I can share who Nicky was with you.
How I met Nicky Wright is interesting. Nicky was an Englishman and a professional photographer. Nicky shot pictures and wrote words for books. He was really into cars so much of his work was automobile related. Around the summer of 1984-85, Nicky walked into the the monthly meeting for my car club, the Old Fort Mustangs in Fort Wayne In area. Seems Nicky had just finished up a book on the Auburn Cord and Duesenbergs and was at the ACD Museum in Auburn, IN.
He asked the people at the ACD Museum if they know how he could find Mustangs for his next project book. As fate would have it Billy Pogue, the current President of our club, lived right across the street from the ACD Museum. Nicky walked across the street and knocked on Billy’s door. Billy invited Nicky to attend our next meeting. Nicky told us that his next book project was to shoot a book on Ford Mustangs. Well, we had 250+ Mustangs in our club. So we agreed to give him access to any or all the Mustangs. He spent the rest of that summer making the car owners’ crazy taking their cars all over the countryside so he could shoot pictures.
The book that resulted was a pretty basic and real inexpensive book. The club voted to buy boxes of them to sell as a fund raiser. We sold 100’s of those books. Nicky’s publisher was so impressed that his new book sold that successfully especially so quickly that they gave him a new project. We purchased the books by the box full. I bought at least ten of them myself. Hey, my car was in the book. I gave them as gifts to friends and family. So did everyone else.
One day Nicky and I were talking and I asked him how long he had been taking pictures. He said he started while he was barely out of high school. Then he told me he shot the cover of the very first Rolling Stones album. Honestly, Nicky told me lots of things that I had trouble believing and this was one of those statements. So I said something like “sure.” So he lead me to his car and off we went to a local record store. Nicky went to the Rolling Stone albums, found the very first Stones album and held up the back of it. Sure enough, there on the credits was printed “Cover Picture by Nicholas Wright.” I’ll be damned.
I did a recent search for info on Nicky setting up this page. I happened on to a link to a book about Jimi Hendrix, The Day I Was There, where Nicholas Wright was mentioned as the manager of The Fleur de Lys by band member Gordon Haskell. Gordon said Nicholas Wright was the photographer for the Animals. I did a search for Gordon and found his music web page. There was a form to send a note which I did. Gordon was kind enough to respond to me and sure enough in 1967 Nicky Wright had arranged for Gordon and his band to stay at the Animals Flat at Cranley Gardens, South Kensington. The Animals were on tour in the US. Gordon tells about another musician that was also staying at that flat, Jimi Hendrix. I was curious who Gordon was so I listened to his album The Return to Harry’s Bar. Excellent, easy to listen to. Look it up.
The winter Nicky died, he headed back to England to make peace with his mother and have a reunion with the Stones. He had a cold when he left. I tried to talk him into taking me with him. But he had to do this alone. He had not talked to his Mother for many years. He had a falling out with her over tossing out his boxes of pictures he had left with her. I was told that he made peace with his mother, met the Stones, then ended up with pneumonia in the hospital and died. Broke my heart. There was no one like Nicky. I miss you Nicky, a lot. He passed away in England on January 17, 2000.
Side Note: So when he shot pictures of our cars, he took many pictures of most of the cars. Maybe one or two were used in that book. I have at least seven car books that have pictures of my car in it.
My wife had me at a large bookstore some years ago. I was wondering around looking at the books. In the On Sale section I saw a stack of Mustang books. Naturally I picked one up and paged through it. In the Shelby section were a couple of pictures of my Shelby. I recognized where the pictures were shot. I was the one Nicky was making crazy at that time. My wife found me when she was ready to go. I had an arm full of those books. She wanted to see what I had found. I flipped to the pages with my car on it and showed it to her. She said that looks just like your car. I said “it is my car”. Yeah, right. No, really, it is my car. I flipped to the credits page and showed her, there was my name with the page number of my car’s pictures. I am sure this surprise did not compute to my wife. How can that car be in a book at this bookstore? It was a good trick on my part.