Archie Scott Brown

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William Archibald Scott Brown, known as Archie,[1] (13 May 1927 – 19 May 1958) was a British Formula One and sports car racing driver from Scotland who had a prodigious racing ability despite only having one hand. He became known as motorsport's first disabled hero and battled considerable adversity (including having his licence revoked) to participate in, and win, the most prestigious races of his day [2]. After being discovered and championed by Brian Lister, he enjoyed great success racing Lister Cars, winning the British Empire Trophy in 1957[3]. In his short career, he scored a total of 71 race victories, 15 of which came from international competition. He participated in one Formula One World Championship Grand Prix on 14 July 1956, scoring no championship points. He also attempted to qualify for the Italian Grand Prix in the same year, but was excluded due to his lack of the required International Licence, his disability precluding the granting of such a licence at the time.

Archie was famous for racing the Lister Knobbly. Sir Stirling Moss also raced the car and is pictured here with the present owner of Lister Cars, Lawrence Whittaker.
Archie Scott Brown (1927-1958)
Team Lister Cars
Total Wins 71
International Wins 15
Career Highlight 1st Place British Empire Trophy 1957

Overcoming Disability to Compete

Archie Scott Brown (although often shown as Scott-Brown, the name is not hyphenated) was born in Paisley on 13th of May 1927. As a result of German Measles during his mother's pregnancy, Archie was born with severe disablement to his legs (with his feet twisted almost backwards) and without his right hand. Tremendous determination, 22 operations over a two year period, and months spent in plaster meant that Archie was able to walk, although he never grew over 5'0" tall[3].

After Archie won two races at Snetterton on 3rd of April 1954, Sid Green of Gilby Engineering noticed that Archie had an unformed right hand and brought this to the attention of the race stewards. Archie was forthwith banned from motor racing, a devastating blow to the up-and-coming racing driver. It brought his burgeoning career to a sudden halt and his future looked bleak. However, he had a stroke of luck that would return him to motor racing. Earl Howe, the president of the British Racing Drivers' Club had previously seen Archie driving and had made a note to find out who this gifted driver was. When he made contact with Archie and discovered that he had subsequently been banned from racing, he supported Archie's appeal to the RAC. Dr Benjafield and Gregor Grant, the then editor of Autosport also supported Archie's appeal. By June 1954, Archie had his licence back [3]

Archie Scott Brown
Born (1927-05-13)13 May 1927
Paisley, Renfrewshire
Died 19 May 1958(1958-05-19) (aged 31)
Heusy, Belgium
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality United Kingdom British
Active years 1956
Teams Connaught
Entries 1
First entry 1956 British Grand Prix
Last entry 1956 British Grand Prix

Early Life

He took up motor sport early in life after his father built him a small car to aid his mobility. His first competitive race was in 1951, in his own MG roadster, bought using a small legacy. As his reputation grew, his name became closely linked with that of Brian Lister, initially driving Lister's Tojeiro special, and later in sports racing cars built by Lister himself, and bearing his name. Archie enjoyed much success driving Lister-Jaguars – the famous Knobblys. Known for his courageous driving style, he was often to be seen in corners getting his Lister very sideways indeed. Asked about the possibility of the Lister's brakes failing completely, he responded that he would "carry on without them, old boy". Over the few years he was in the sport, he developed a fierce but good-natured rivalry with rising American driving talent Masten Gregory.

Death

Archie Scott Brown was mortally injured on 18 May 1958 during an accident in a sports car race at Spa-Francorchamps, driving a Lister Knobbly and duelling for the lead with Gregory. Battling hard with Masten Gregory driving the Ecurie Ecosse Lister Jaguar, they swapped the lead between them inches apart. The competition was so fierce that Archie dented his car's nose on the rear of the Ecosse car on lap three. With Archie leading on lap six, they arrived at Blanchimont, then in the Clubhouse bend (where Richard Seaman died in 1939), to find the track slick with rain; the right hand front wheel of the Lister hit a road sign, snapping the track rod and causing a disastrous accident. He died in hospital (Heusy) the following day, less than a week after his 31st birthday.

Complete Formula One World Championship results

(key)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 WDC Points
1956 Connaught Engineering Connaught B Type Alta Straight-4 ARG MON 500 BEL FRA GBR
Ret
GER ITA NC 0

Further reading

  • Skilleter, Paul (2010) Lister-Jaguar: Brian Lister and the cars from Cambridge. Barton on Sea: PJ Publishing. ISBN 9780955010231
  • Edwards, Robert (1995). Archie and the Listers: The Heroic Story of Archie Scott Brown and the Racing Marque He Made Famous. Haynes Publishing. ISBN 978-1-85260-469-1. 

External links

  • An appreciation at justmobility.com
  • Autocourse career synopsis

Reference

  1. ^ "Archie Scott-Brown". 
  2. ^ "Doug Nye: Archie Scott Brown – Motorsport's first disabled hero?". www.goodwood.com. Retrieved 2017-11-08. 
  3. ^ a b c Paul., Skilleter, (2010). Lister-Jaguar : Brian Lister and the cars from Cambridge. Barton on Sea: PJ Publishing. ISBN 9780955010231. OCLC 751729170. 
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