William Archibald 'Archie' Scott-Brown (1927-1958) was a Scottish racing driver who made a respectable career despite a big handicap – he had only one healthy hand. He raced the most in sports car racing, but also made one start in the Formula One World Championship at 1956 British Grand Prix. With more than 70 victories, he is the most successful disabled driver in the history of motorsport.
Archie died a day after an accident during a sports car race at Spa-Francorchamps in May 1958, while driving a Lister-Jaguar.
Disability didn't prevent Archie to start racing
Archie Scott-Brown was born in May 1927 in Paisley. As a result of rubella infectious disease during his mother's pregnancy, Archie was born with severe disablement to his legs and without a fist on his right hand. Numerous operations saved his life and he was able to walk.
To help him with his disability, Archie's father build him a small car and he developed impressive driving abilities. In 1951, he started to race with his own MG TD roadster, recording notable results in the following years, including many wins.
Despite his handicap, Archie Scott-Brown was a top-class racer
Controversial ban of racing in 1954
During 1953, Archie drew an attention of Brian Lister and started to race in Tojeiro race car. He continued to win races in national events all over the UK. In April 1954, after he won two races at Snetterton in a Lister BHL1, he lost a license because of his disability.
Fortunately, the president of the British Racing Drivers' Club Earl Howe helped him to get a license back. In June, Archie continued his career at the wheel of Lister cars. He competed in national events at British race tracks, building a reputation as one of the best sports car racers.
One of the rare occasions when he drove something else than Lister was at Goodwood 9 Hours in August 1955. He competed in a Connaught ALSR, sharing a car with Les Leston. They finished sixth overall and the first in S1.5 class.
Archie Scott-Brown at 1956 British Grand Prix
Formula 1 Championship debut in 1956
In March 1956, Scott-Brown went to the US to race at Sebring 12 Hours. His plan was to drive the #29 Austin-Healey 100S together with Lance Macklin. Unfortunately, mechanical problems prevented them to start the race.
Over the season, Archie continued to collect wins or podiums in Lister cars but also tried out a Connaught Type B F1 car. In May, he finished second in the non-championship BRDC International Trophy at Silverstone, behind Stirling Moss. Then, in July, Archie made a debut in Formula One World Championship.
He was driving the #19 Connaught Type B in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. He started tenth on the grid but retired after 16 laps with a broken transmission. Next month, he made one more appearance in a Connaught Type B, winning the Formula Libre race at Brands Hatch.
Archie Scott-Brown in a famous Knobbly
Victory at 1957 British Empire Trophy in a Lister-Jaguar
In April 1957, Archie clinched his second victory at British Empire Trophy. This time, he was driving the #54 Lister-Jaguar, popularly known as Knobbly. He defeated Roy Salvadori and Noel Cunningham-Reid in Aston Martins.
A month later, Archie joined Henry Taylor at Nurburgring 1000 Km, a part of the World Championship. They raced in a Jaguar D-Type, retiring after an accident.
Archie Scott-Brown pictured in 1958
Two victories at New Zealand
In 1958, Archie opened a season with two victories at New Zealand, both in a Lister-Jaguar. In January, he won the Lady Wigram Trophy at the Wigram Airfield Circuit. In February, he won Teretonga International race.
In March, Archie recorded one more attempt at Sebring 12 Hours. He and Walt Hansgen were sharing the #10 Lister-Jaguar, not finishing the race because of an accident.
Fatal accident at Spa Grand Prix
After returning to the UK, Archie recorded few starts in national races, including a third-place finish at British Empire Trophy and a victory at Aintree 200 meeting.
And then, in May, he went to Spa-Francorchamps to participate in the Spa Grand Prix. At the wheel of the #16 Lister-Jaguar, he battled for the victory against his old rival Masten Gregory, who was driving Ecurie Ecosse Lister-Jaguar. Archie crashed out on lap six and suffered deadly injuries, succumbing a day later in a hospital