Go back to the Marques and Men PageArnott

Daphne Arnott was born in London, in December 1926. Family associations with motorsport spurred on an enthusiasm to take part in competition and a prototype 500 was constructed in 1951 and a new company formed for the manufacture of the cars.

George Thornton was born in 1916 and educated in London. For seven years he managed the family motorcycle business and later, was employed by Carburettors Ltd. working on Arnott carburettors and superchargers until the war. For the duration, he worked for De Havilland Aircraft Co. and became the General Manager of Arnott Racing Cars.

The Arnott factory in Harlesden was best known for manufacture of superchargers. Their first 500 ran in the mechanics race at Brands Hatch in October 1951, driven by George himself taking fifth place. They produced 9 cars in all and achieved some success with drivers like Ivor Bueb (in a modified car), John Brise and Dennis Taylor.

Arnott profile Cadwell June 04.jpg (23758 bytes)

 

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The Arnott team. Dennis Taylor is in the cockpit and George Thornton is at the rear of the car. Photo courtesy of John Furlong.

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John Chisholm at Goodwood in 2008

As reviewed in Iota December 1951

Dennis Taylor at an unfamiliar looking Brands Hatch in July 1952. In the early years the circuit was anticlockwise and there was no Druids hairpin. Photo courtesy of John Furlong.

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Daphne and George enjoy Gerald Smith's double victory at Brands Hatch, September 1952. Photo courtesy Duncan Rabagliati

In the paddock at Goodwood, 2005

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Following Kieft and Cooper record breaking success in 1950 and '51, Arnott built a streamlined car, using Norton engines of 350cc and 500cc, to make record attempts at Montlhéry in August 1953. Gerald Smith was slated to drive but was injured so, after several postponements, they eventually ran in October with John Brise at the wheel.

In fact, the delay proved fortuitous as John Cooper had set new records on the 8th using the new Mk VIII streamlined car and many of these were promptly trumped by Piero Taruffi in Tarf II. The Arnott finally ran on 28th October setting 500cc records for 50, 100 and 200 km, 50, 100 and 200 miles and 1 and 3 hours with a fastest single lap of 122 mph. John Brise's 500km record still stands.

In July 1954, Arnott returned to Montlhéry to attack the 750cc records using a Norton 600cc. Sadly, a conrod break caused Gerald Smith to crash. The car was wrecked and Gerald sustained serious leg injuries.

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