Daphne Arnott was born into a mechanical world in 1926, her Grandfather appears to have been captain and secretary of the Bath Road Club and ‘in control of’ MMC built Werner Motorcylces and her father was responsible for the Arnott Superchargers sold through Carburetors Ltd in North West London.
Daphne spent many childhood hours spectating at Brooklands and in her early teens she became competent mechanic. During the ’39-’45 war she was employed by the Hawker Aircraft company.
In 1948 Daphne joined the family business Carburetors Ltd and by 1951 she had created a department within it to design and manufacture 500 cc / 45.5 cui Formula 3 cars with assistance from the works manager George Thornton.
After Bob Brown of Bromley won first time out in the Arnott, Daphne built 8 copies, one of which became a streamliner in which John Brise set 500km average speed record of 108mph at Montlhery in 1953 which still stands.
For 1955 Daphne came up with the 1100 Sports model seen here, complete with wishbone independent suspension, which was entered into the Le Mans 24 hours.
It is a measure of the esteem in which she was held that her Arnott, one Lotus and one Kieft were each given a new Coventry Climax motor with which to compete in the 24 hour classic.
Jim Russell, of racing school fame and Peter Taylor were the drivers but they crashed during practice after which Daphene had an Arnott supercharger fitted and used the car as her daily driver for 20 years.
A second attempt was made at Le Mans with another Coventry Climax powered Arnott Sports in 1957, this time Jim Russell and Peter Taylor qualified but retired with ignition problems after completing 46 laps and that seems to be the end of the Arnott story as a manufacturer.
In all 25 Arnott Sports are thought to have been built with fibre glass bodies. The current owner bought today’s featured vehicle from Daphne Arnott after it had spent some time disintegrating in a barn in 1998.
In 2003 this Arnott Sports still fitted with it’s original Coventry Climax motor #FWA400/3.6264, Arnott supercharger, MG TC gearbox and ENV back axle was given a £30,000 plus overhall by Sigma Engineering in Dorset.
When I saw this remarkable testimony to the grit and courage of a little remembered British entrepreneur Daphne Arnott at Goodwood Revival last year it was being offered for sale, if you are interested I have contact details for the owner. Usual disclaimers apply.
Thanks for joining me on this “Racer and Runabout” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !