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Tributes for Malcolm Kinsey

Tributes for Malcolm Kinsey

ADRIAN BURFORD – ROADWORX COMMUNICATION (SAGMJ MEMBER)
There’s something about left-field people that I love and you don’t get much more idiosyncratic than Malcolm Kinsey, who passed away on January 20. He was 76 – a youthful 76.

The architect and co-author of the Kinsey Report (along with his wife of 40-plus years, Jill) Malcolm was the last guy who you would’ve expected to have his name associated with a report which was fundamentally about number-crunching and analytics. That’s where Jill came into the picture though, her methodical nature and Excel skills an important part of the process.

Rather, Malcolm’s contribution was a desire to reveal the true picture – it came from an insatiable curiosity, natural scepticism, and an inability to accept conventional wisdom. As a dyed-in-the-wool, hands-on car guy and shoestring-budget saloon car racer, he often visited dealerships and parts pricing became a passion of his. Importantly, his spares survey was based on what the dealers sold for, not what the OEM said they should price at. His numbers were always “crunched” in the same month of each year and based on prices provided by franchised car dealers in the greater-Durban area.

His eponymous, public domain report was first published in 1990, but there were many surveys undertaken for franchisors. This made several brands relook their pricing structures, especially those trying to get back into the local market. The industry trusted Malcolm – despite him presenting them with a warts-and-all picture.

We shared a passion for motorsport and cycling and we would often touch base during my annual timeshare week to KZN. Loan bikes and loan cars were always a possibility with Malcolm.

We’d sometimes ride together on those occasions, and if I recall correctly, his cycling shoes had odd-coloured laces, usually luminous green and pink. It was a Malcolm trademark. A sideline of his was the “Kinsey Cycle Store” and he was registered as retailer with many component importers, so that he and a select circle of mates could get expensive stuff for two-wheelers at reasonable prices. It gave him great satisfaction to game the system.

Driving with him was an experience, especially on first acquaintance, when he seemed to be barely in control. Once you got used to what can best be described as a rather languid style at the wheel it was less harrowing, but if you were a hitchhiker and Malcolm picked you up, you’d surely bale out at the first opportunity.

It always struck me that Malcolm was a great Dad: his three children – sons Tony and Tim and daughter Sandi – remained close to him into their adult life. They swam Midmar Miles with him, cycled with him and elder son Tim was starting to share a passion for active participation in motor racing.

Malcolm’s fearlessness and disregard for the rules made him a natural for a photographic career (I don’t know a lensman from his era who doesn’t exhibit those qualities), and one of the events with shaped him was a tragic train accident near Effingham in October 1965. It remains SA’s worst train accident in terms of fatalities and his images, to coin a modern phrase, went viral.

Subsequent motorsport pictures were vividly close-up, a reminder of the days when lenses were short and so too were the run-off areas.

Malcolm was quirky and unassuming – vanity and self-promotion were not concepts or traits that Malcolm embraced. I’m therefore especially pleased that he was made a Fellow of the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists in 2013 – he was happy to serve, without first pondering the question What’s In It For Me?

We didn’t have many in the last couple of years, but I’m going to miss those looooong telephone conversations - of which the first half was invariably bicycle-related.

Condolences from his Guild friends and industry associates go out to his family. The South African motoring (and cycling!) community is the poorer for his passing.

GORDON HALL (SAGMJ MEMBER)
Malcolm Kinsey: Where does one begin - West Street Willy and bane of the old Durban City Police after midnight, saloon car racer, fuel economy run specialist, re-interpreter of rules while remaining strictly within the bounds of what was written, rallyist, writer, cyclist, raconteur, long-standing Guild member, mentor to many, devoted husband, father and grandfather.

He was all these and more; he was a COTY jury member many times over, on the Guild committee since Adam was a boy in shorts and the Guild’s KZN representative for many more years than he chose to remember. He also handled KZN press fleets for most manufacturers at various times as well. His generosity, helpfulness and flexibility in that regard was legendary. He was perhaps most widely known for his Kinsey Reports, the spare parts surveys that became a frame of reference for the industry.

He suffered heart problems in recent years and suffered a serious fall from his bike more recently. He never fully recovered from that and a run-in with Covid was finally too much for even his indomitable spirit. He passed away as a result of complications related to that disease yesterday afternoon. He would have turned 77 tomorrow.” 

PRITESH RUTHUN – IOL MOTORING (SAGMJ MEMBER)
The South African automotive press and motoring industry has lost a titan.

I met Malcolm in 2005, my first launch back in KZN. He was the most welcoming and engaging individual. We talked about cars and specs and this and that, but mostly cars and specs. :-)

Over the past years, whenever I had the opportunity to see him at an event, he was always cheerful and willing to impart knowledge about cars I had questions about.

I will miss him and his thoroughness and attention to detail.

Rest well, and thank you for inspiring us to be better journalists, Malcolm...❤

SHERWIN MAISTRY– TUNED AUTOMOTIVE
2021 has claimed another absolute legend of a man.

If ever you were fortunate enough to have encountered Malcolm Kinsey, you would know that he epitomized what a true gentleman was. Honest and direct as they come, but the perennial prankster as Jill and all of us knew and loved. Easily one of the most influential people in my life, we could talk for hours about what I took for granted to be the most menial of things, but with Malcolm, he spoke with such passion and energy, about anything from bird watching, to aeroplanes to hypermiling, you couldn’t help but be enthralled. He was gifted with an incredible prowess behind the wheel, as well as the ability to tell a story like no other. A man of man words, but also a man that preferred being on the other side of the lens.

Despite his condition, he never ever let it get him down, choosing to rather make light of a difficult situation. Instead, he persisted with life, whether it being cycling or dodging Maximus’ damaging (yet playful) feet. Like my peers, I’ve learned so much from Malcolm; about the simplicity of life, a plethora of life lessons, and most importantly, how the happiness of family matters most. ⠀

I could probably write a novel about my memories with Mr. Kinsey, but I think what I will miss the most is that smile of his. ⠀

Ah… what a legend.

#RIPMalcolmKinsey

LYNN GALBRAITH – BALGAIR PUBLICATIONS (SAGMJ MEMBER)
Malcolm has been my friend, advisor and supporter over the last 25 years. I am so sad to hear of his passing.

Sincere condolences to Jill, his family, friends and the Guild Members.

Rest peacefully, Malcolm. Thank you for everything.

JULIAN LURIE (SAGMJ FELLOW)
Yesterday afternoon I got the shock of my life when I got an e-mail to advise me that Malcolm had passed away. I just couldn’t believe it.

Malcolm and I have been friends for over 50 amazing years, and over these years we always helped each ever and never had a bad word between us.

RIP Malcolm.

CHARLEEN CLARKE – CHARMONT MEDIA GLOBAL (SAGMJ FELLOW)
It was with a sense of utter devastation that I learnt of the passing of the late, great and utterly marvellous Malcolm Kinsey with whom I shared an incredible and much-appreciated friendship spanning over three decades. Malcolm’s contribution to our industry was immense. He will forever be remembered for his innovative and ground-breaking Kinsey Report, which has become essential reading in our industry. But I will remember him for his cheerful disposition, sense of humour, high code of ethics and – most of all – that wonderfully naughty twinkle in his eye. He was also one of the most honourable people I’ve ever encountered. I admired everything about him. Malcolm, you may be gone but you will never be forgotten.

WENDY KNOWLER – CONSUMER JOURNALIST (SAGMJ MEMBER)
I can’t imagine the world without Malcolm in it.

I met him as a rookie motoring journalist in 2001, and for the next 15 years, we’d exchange test cars and many, many words in the driveway of my home. If I told him i was traveling, he’d offer to leave a car for me at the airport. Always so kind.

As a consumer journalist, I recognised the immense value of his Kinsey Report and the incredible slog that he and his beloved Jill put into compiling it every year, and loved giving it a big splash in the papers and on radio.

His passion, work ethic and integrity were second to none, and I admired and loved him fiercely.

Goodbye, Malcolm. You were such a good man and I’m going to miss you so much.

TRIBUTES VIA SOCIAL MEDIA

RUBIN VAN NIEKERK – PRESIDENT SAGMJ
I would like to contribute as Malcolm was one of the few people with whom I could bounce geeky statistical ideas as he loved stats as much as I.

CARL WEPENER – CHAIRMAN OF THE SAGMJ
A great member, a gentleman and a true lover of motoring. I will miss you Malcolm you have given me a lot of guidance.

DIRK GALLOWITZ – VICE-CHAIRMAN OF THE SAGMJ
What sad news! I had the privilege to talk to him just before Christmas wishing him well and a happy festive season. At that stage he assured me that his health was good, "just getting tired quickly" he said.

I will fondly remember our time spend together and the fascinating stories he told me about his racing heydays with Toyota and the Roy Hesketh Circuit he loved so much.

Will surely miss you Malcolm. RIP my friend. You earned it.

STEPHEN SMITH - FORMER SUBEDITOR AND JOURNALIST AT LEISURE WHEELS, FORMER JOURNALIST AUTOTRADER DIESELCAR MAGAZINE (SAGMJ MEMBER)
This is such sad news. He was a gentleman in every sense of the word, albeit a quirky and unique one with an offbeat sense of humour. He shall be missed down here in KZN.

MEGAN MACDONALD - SUZUKI
RIP you lovely, lovely human! Condolences and love to the entire family. Xxx

KIRBY ASSAM
Condolences to his family and friends. Rest easy Malcolm.

STEVE MEARNS – MULLER DEVELOPMENTS
Oh no! Farwell Mr Colourful Shoelaes – and even more colourful sense of humour. Terribly san news. My deepest condolences to Malcolm’s family.

MILES DOWNARD (SAGMJ MEMBER)
I've known Malcolm literally my whole life. My earliest memories being a bi-weekly get together for my father, Malcolm and their friends to watch the Grand Prix, while us kids played outside. He's the reason I knew motor journalism was a thing and played a key part in my becoming a guild member, being the man who nominated me. An absolute gentleman and true enthusiast.

GAVIN FOSTER – PHOTOJOURNALIST (SAGMJ MEMBER)
A good friend and a true gentleman, Malcolm was always first in the queue to help. And boy, could he offer alternative thinking. A great friend and a truly gentle gentleman.

GERARD RISSIK – EXIT MAGAZING (SAGMJ MEMBER)
So sad to hear this. He was a lovely human and I enjoyed every interaction I had with him.

BERNARD HELLBERG JR. – TCB MEDIA (SAGMJ MEMBER)
Devastating news for the motoring fraternity. I had the pleasure of learning much of what I know from Malcolm. What a mensch!

CLAIRE MCFIE
Oh my word, Malcolm with his cycling enthusiasm, the best shoelaces & gentle cheeky character. You will be sorely missed. Big shock.

DENIS DROPPA – TISO BLACKSTAR MEDIA (SAGMJ MEMBER)
Very sad. I will miss Malcolm and his colourful shoelaces.

PATRICK O’LEARY MANAGING EDITOR/PUBLISHER AT FLEETWATCH (SAGMJ MEMBER)
Wow. Horrible news. A gentleman who had so much to give. A legend. RIP good friend and sincere condolences to family and friends.

RUPERT ELDON CULWICK
Oh my goodness. How sad to hear this. From my start in motor sport back in the Sixties. Condolences to family and friends.

ANDREW WALKER
Rest Peacefully Malcolm. Rainbow shoelaces forever!

DANIEL CALBACHO – MOTORING EDITOR NEOFUNDI.COM, MANAGING DIRECTOR AT RED MARKETING
He was a lovely soul. Heaven just got another Angel.

MICHELLE NAUDE – PURPLE FIREFISH MARKETING
Sad indeed. He was such a good guy. part of the institution!

BOBBY CHEETHAM (SAGMJ FELLOW)
What a shock. RIP Malcolm Condolences to the family.

RICHARD SLOMAN – GROUP SALES MANAGER AT GUMTREE AUTO
What a sad post. Such a great man...

ANDREW LEOPOLD
A genuine, kind guy who knew a lot about his craft. Thanks Malcom, a steady rock in the industry.

MARISKA BESTER – FLEET MANAGER AT DEON JOUBERT RACING
Thinking of his family and friends.

MEG HOUGHTON
One of the characters of the industry. With his wacky sense of humour and odd choice of shoelaces. RIP Malcolm.

MEGAN MACDONALD – SUZUKI
RIP you lovely, lovely human! Condolences and love to the entire family.

MILES DOWNARD (SAGMJ MEMBER)
I've known Malcolm literally my whole life. My earliest memories being a bi-weekly get together for my father, Malcolm and their friends to watch the Grand Prix, while us kids played outside. He's the reason I knew motor journalism was a thing and played a key part in my becoming a guild member, being the man who nominated me. An absolute gentleman and true enthusiast.

AUTOMOBILE ASSOCIATION OF SOUTH AFRICA – PRESS RELEASE
The Automobile Association (AA) is shocked and saddened by the news of the death of Malcolm Kinsey. Malcolm passed away in KwaZulu-Natal yesterday.

Since the late eighties, Malcolm has produced the Kinsey Report on parts prices of vehicles available in South Africa. In 2019 Automobile Association began its partnership with Malcolm and began producing the AA-Kinsey Report.

“Malcolm was an institution in the motoring industry. His annual report was an authoritative and respected publication. He was passionate about the report and was meticulous in putting it together ensuring all the detail could be verified and cross-checked. He was always open to talk about his findings, was humble in accepting accolades, and was, above all, genuinely concerned about giving consumers useful information. He will be missed by the entire motoring industry, and especially those who were privileged to have worked with him. We are devastated by the news,” says Mr Willem Groenewald, AA CEO.

The AA extends its condolences to Malcolm’s family, friends, and industry colleagues.