Eric Brandon

18/7/1920 - 8/8/1982

Eric Brandon

Eric Brandon was born in East Ham, London, England. He was a childhood friend and neighbour of John Cooper. In 1946, just after the war, they decided to race in the new 500cc formula and got together to build two specials. Eric and John built the cars together and, when John's was finished first, they shared this until Eric's was finished. Brandon was not a works Cooper driver as is often reported.

Eric had an electrical goods wholesale business in London, Halsey Electric and it was Eric's contacts through the business that allowed them to obtain the magnetos for their JAP engines.

Brandon and Cooper raced these specials in hillclimbs and sprints and in 1947 Brandon won the first ever 500cc race in Britain, held at Gransden Lodge airfield.

In 1950 the series became Formula 3 and in 1951 Brandon and Alan Brown teamed up with Jimmy Richmond, who provided a truck, and set up Ecurie Richmond, running two new Cooper-Nortons for Brandon and Brown. The team took 16 major victories plus 41 other heats wins and podium finishes. Eric Brandon, by this time regarded as one of the top F3 driver, won the newly introduced Autosport British 500cc Drivers' Championship and Alan Brown won both the Half-Litre Club's Championship and the Light Car Cup.

Ecurie Richmond also ran front-engined Cooper-Bristol cars to the Formula 2 rules in Grands Prix between 1952 and 1954. Their debut was at the six-lap Lavant Cup which was won by Mike Hawthorn with Alan Brown second and  Brandon third scoring a Cooper-Bristol 1-2-3.

Ecurie Richmond enjoyed a good run of success in 1952. The Richmond cars were painted pale metallic green, Brandon's had a red noseband while Brown's was pale blue.

The team then set off with the Cooper-Bristols and the 500s on a European tour. At their first Grand Prix, the Swiss GP at the Bremgarten Circuit, Alan Brown finished fifth and scored Cooper's first-ever World Championship points, Eric came home eigth despite an off-road excursion, seven laps adrift of Piero Taruffi in his Ferrari.

Despite the early promise the cars were not very quick. In the Italian GP at the end of 1952 he finished 15th, 12 laps down on Alberto Ascari in his Ferrari.

He concentrated on F3 in 1953, where he was always a front-runner. He did enter a few non-championship Grand Prix scoring his best finish at the III Gran Premio di Siracusa in the Cooper-Bristol T20 when he came home in 4th.

He made one more World Championship appearance at the British GP in 1954 where he retired with engine problems.

Brandon later funded the construction of the Halseylec-Climax sportscar, which he raced in 1955 and early 1956.

He then drifted away from motor racing and took up an interest in hydroplane racing.


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