David Bruce-Brown  United States

  • Full name David Loney Bruce-Brown
  • Birth date August 13, 1887
  • Birthplace New York City, United States
  • Date of death October 1, 1912 (25 years 49 days)
  • Place of death Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
driver portrait

Born to wealthy parents, David Bruce-Brown had already wrecked his mother's car when, as an 18-year-old, he bluffed his way into a drive at Daytona and his natural talent was immediately evident as he won the race. His horrified mother briefly threatened legal action to prevent him racing, but was reluctantly won over by his performances.

He won the American Grand Prize in 1910 and again in 1911, and finished third in the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911. In 1912 he captivated European audiences in the ACF Grand Prix in Dieppe, leading the first day and only being deprived of a win when he struck a dog and ruptured his fuel tank.

In October 1912 the dream ended when a tyre burst on his Fiat as he practised for the American Grand Prize at Milwaukee, sending the car into a ditch. Bruce-Brown and his mechanic were hurled into a nearby field and killed. It was said other drivers wept when they heard the news. It was later revealed he had been warned his tyres were dangerously worn before he headed out.

"Bruce-Brown was typically American in his style of driving," The Motor noted. "A driver determined to get the most of it from beginning to end. But coupled with this wild dash was a consummate skill in the handling of his car, which is given to few men to possess … the extraordinary combination of wild fury and calm reasoning shown in every movement of the American driver."

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