Year of manufacture1957
Daphne Arnott, London (retained for factory racing team)
Terry Mansfield, England (acquired in 1983)
John Michael Pritchard, London (acquired from the above circa 1995)
Dr. Greg Johnson, Irvine, California (acquired from the above in 1999)
Current Owner (acquired from the above)
24 Hours of Le Mans, June 1957, Russell/Taylor, No. 39 (DNF)
Arizona Concours d’Elegance, January 2016
The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, August 2016
Colorado Grand, September 2016
Autosport, June 28, 1957, pictured and discussed on p. 820
John Ross, The Motor World, September 6, 1957, “The Arnotts”
The Motor, June 19, 1957, discussed in “Le Mans: The British Cars”
Sports Cars Illustrated, August 1957, “Lady Le Mans”
Andrew Morland, Classic & Sports Car, September 1990, “Never Say Die”
Daphne Arnott was born into a family with a deep-rooted passion for motor sports. Her grandfather ran the Werner Motorcycle Company and her father designed the Arnott supercharger. Daphne joined the family business in 1948 and soon established a special department, headed by George Thornton, to design and build F3 cars with 500 cc engines. In 1955, she assembled a team to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and designed a new sports car especially for the event, powered by a supercharged Coventry Climax engine. Unfortunately, the car crashed in practice, dashing the team’s hopes.
In 1957, Arnott decided to return to Le Mans with an all-new GT car. Designed by Thornton, it featured a complex tubular space-frame chassis with an advanced independent suspension system and inboard rear brakes. Like its predecessor, the Arnott GT was equipped with a Climax 1100 engine set well back in the frame for ideal weight distribution. The marvelous chassis was clothed in an exotic, streamlined body, designed and built in-house. Constructed from lightweight aluminum panels, the new coupe featured eyecatching gullwing-style doors, rear fender spats, and a full-length undertray.
Registered as “3 LMD,” the Arnott GT debuted at Le Mans in June 1957, where it was entrusted to English drivers Jim Russell and Dennis Taylor. The car performed well in practice and was timed at 116 mph down the Mulsanne Straight. Wearing No. 39, the Arnott ran well early in the race, but a dropped valve forced it to retire in the fifth hour. After the 1957 Le Mans, Daphne Arnott disbanded her racing team. The one-of-a-kind GT then sat in a corner of the firm’s London workshop for over a decade before being sold to a local dealer.
In the early 1980s, Terry Mansfield purchased the Arnott and spent the next seven years restoring it from the ground up. The next owner, John Michael Pritchard, registered the Arnott with FIVA in 1999. Later that year, he sold the car to Dr. Greg Johnson, a collector based in Irvine, California. Dr. Johnson had British car specialist Greg Perry return the Arnott to its original Le Mans livery and then exhibited it at the Arizona Concours d’Elegance and The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering. The current owner has continued to enjoy the Arnott, completing the Colorado Grand rally with it in 2016.
Eligible for numerous historic events, including the Le Mans Classic, this singular British sports car is offered with a supply of spare components and an impressive history file that includes the original UK logbook, period photographs, magazine articles, and correspondence, as well as FIA and FIVA documents.
Arguably the first woman to construct a race car, Daphne Arnott was ahead of her time. Here is a fantastic opportunity to acquire her ultimate creation, this wonderfully unique and event-eligible Le Mans veteran.