Don Truman

Don Truman

Donald Frederick Truman was born on 21st February 1922. He became a member of the 500 Club in 1947, driving a production Marwyn. He described that car as "probably the worst and most dangerous racing car ever built! Lord Strathcarron and I were the only ones with enough nerve or ignorance to drive them". Don had originally bought the car with Barbara Longmore (who would later become Mrs. Truman) and her brother Jack, though Don did almost all the driving. Inevitably, and perhaps fortuitously, the car was damaged extensively in a test ahead of the Prescott 1948 May meeting. Though it would appear several times in 1948, a process of redevelopment had commenced. Don did achieve a fourth at Brough in July, sixth at the Brighton Speed Trials in September, fourth at Goodwood on the 18th and third at the Weston Speed Trials in October.

Prescott, May '49 in the Bardon Special

By 1949, the dramatically altered car, renamed the Bardon Special, appeared. Don and Barbara seemed to be at almost every event that year, offering a  challenge to the Coopers, though often without ultimate success. Things started badly with DNFs at Brough, Goodwood and Silverstone. A little better at May Prescott, eighth, then sixth at Shelsley in June and eighth again at June Prescott. Prescott in July, brought a tenth, then fifth at Blandford on the 27th August, fourth at the Brighton Speed Trials. Back at Prescott in September, Don achieved a very respectable fourth against a full line up including a host of Coopers. Shelsley in September brought a fifth but that was followed by a DNF at Brough on 2nd October and only fourteenth at Weston. His enthusiasm led the Club to award him the "Good Loser Trophy" that year.

Don in the Bardon at Goodwood

Bardon Turner at Goodwood.jpg (77370 bytes)

For 1950, with assistance from Jack Turner, the Bardon reappeared as the Bardon-Turner, now sporting a more Cooper-like body. He failed to finish at the Goodwood Easter meeting, managed fourth at Prescott in June then third in the Non Production Car race at Brands Hatch and finally a win at Silverstone in July. At the Commander Yorke meeting, Don took a third in the Scratch race and second in the Non Production Car race followed by a forth at Prescott and a third at Brands in August. Again at Brands in September, Truman took second to Don Parker in the Non Production race followed by eighth at Shelsley.

Don sits patiently, Brands 16th April 1950, the inaugural event

Don stuck with the car through to 1951, failing at the Grand Prix in July and only achieving the occasional placing in the heats so he finally succumbed to a Cooper Mk VI for 1952. He continued to be reasonably successful, winning a heat first time out in the Cooper at Ibsley, winning at Silverstone in May, a respectable fourth in the 100 Mile Commander Yorke Trophy and taking the first 500 victory (again a heat) at Oulton Park on the 8th August 1953.

Don continued racing until 1959, also driving for Doretti, and racing a Cooper Jaguar in France for old 500 compatriot Bertie Bradnack. On retirement he joined the ranks of the marshals, and has been doing so ever since.

Don in his Mk VII at Beckets on his way to fourth place in the International Trophy Race.

Don had been elected into the BRDC in 1952, and would play a significant role on the board. He was also a board member of the BRSCC. Trackside, he variously acted as Chief Observer for the BRSCC at Brands Hatch, Club Steward at Silverstone and until 1999 Senior Clerk for the BRSCC at Mallory Park, only retiring when the MSA refused to renew his licence.


Don celebrated his 85th birthday at Mallory Park in April 2007 and the 500 Owners were invited to compete for the Don Truman Trophy. Here, Don presents the Trophy to John Turner.

Don Truman passed away in September 2011