Archie Bryde

Archie Bryde

16/3/1919 - 25/4/2008

Archie Bryde started racing in 1939. Between 1948 and 1951 he raced a Jaguar XK 120 and a 500cc F3 Cooper 500cc. In 1952 he acquired the prototype Cooper Bristol and though he drove quite well he turned the car over to Mike Hawthorn and Reg Parnell. He eventually sold the car to one Bernie Ecclestone.

<font face="Tahoma" size="2">Archie Bryde's interst in motor sport began in 1939 when he was 6th in the Saloon Car Class of the RAC Rally (Jaguar) and also contested the Lewes Speed Trials in an SS100. He also ran in the practice session of a race at Brooklands in 1939, (Alta, ENV Gearbox).

From 1948-51 he raced a Jaguar XK 120 at various venues including amongst others; Goodwood, Brands Hatch, Silverstone etc. He also raced a Cooper 500cc in the UK in 1951.

In 1952 Archie raced an Allard J2X (Chrysler) at Monaco, Reims, Boreham and other tracks in the UK. Also in this year Ward Thomas took Archie's Cooper 500 to victory in the GP des Frontieres at Namur. Furthermore Archie acquired the prototype Cooper Bristol (basically powered by a war reparations BMW engine) which had its debut at Goodwood in the hands of Juan Manuel Fangio. This car was driven by Archie at Silverstone twince in the Daily Express Trophy, the Ulster Trophy at Dundrod, Brands, Goodwood, Charterhall, Boreham, Castle Combe etc etc, and in the GP de France at Comminges where the car was not fast enough to beat the Scuderia Ferrari and Renault Gordini teams.

More importantly, as Archie recognised that while he was not a bad driver, there were faster drivers, he put Mike Hawthorn in the car at Dundrod. He also had Hawthorn in the car at the  Grand Prix de France at Reims, finishing 7th, and the French Grand Prix at Rouen, where he retired. Hawthorn also drove the Cooper Bristol in the Ulster Trophy. Reg Parnell also drove the car, winning at Boreham and finishing 7th in the British GP at Silverstone.

The Cooper Bristol was by now getting a bit tired and started to suffer retirements due to various failures including fires, one in the straight at Silverstone during the Daily Express Trophy where Archie had been following Louis Chiron, whose tank was leaking. Only minor burns ensued.

This extraordinarily versatile and tough car was sold to one Bernie Ecclestone, and thus did Archie end his racing career as a driver. The motor sport saga did not end here, as Archie, whose company was the Aston Martin Lagonda importer for Italy, did a deal with John Wyer the CEO of Aston Martin, whereby Archie's Swiss company Autonautica and Aston shared the production and costs of 24 Aston Martin Zagato cars, the first being for Jean Kerguen for Le Mans. Being in Milan, Archie was able to play a major part in the build of this series of Astons, some of which are still to be seen on the road and in historic races.


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