American Grand Prix drivers have been a relatively rare breed over the years, and winners even more scarce. Hollywood born Ritchie Ginther arguably the most overlooked of that select club as he rose to prominence around the same time that Phil Hill was becoming the first American born World Champion.
Ginther made his F1 debut at the 1960 Monaco GP driving for Ferrari who he stayed with through 1961. In 1962 he switched to the British based BRM team to race alongside Graham Hill the highlight of which was a second place in the 1963 World Championship. His reputation as a solid “team player” and excellent test and development driver earned him an invitation to join the works Honda F1 team for 1965 for whom he scored his one and only GP win at Mexico City. (as seen in this Honda promotional film)
He appeared in an unaccredited role in the 1966 movie “Grand Prix” as John Hogarth a driver in the Japanese funded “Yamura” team. He also acted as one of the technical racing advisors for the movie.
While making an attempt to qualify for the 1967 Indy 500, Ginther decided he’d had enough and walked away from racing. Sadly he died of a heart attack while on vacation with his family in France on September 20th 1989 at 59 years of age.