Tony Crook — Driver


"The Other Cars of Brian Lister" (August issue) greatly brought back memories to me, a racegoer for over 30 years. However magnificent a driver Archie Scott-Brown was, it is not correct to say that in 1954 . "The Lister-Bristol driven by Archie Scott-Brown was the only challenge to Roy Salvadori driving Sid Greene's 2-litre Maserati". He may have been the only challenge to Salvadori, but Salvadori and Scott-Brown seldom, if ever, beat Tony Crook (Cooper-Bristol). During conversation I heard between Farina, Ascari (both world champions.), Rodney Walkerley (Motor's Sports Editor for many years) and Tony Vandervell, they put Crook, with Moss and Hawthorn, amongst the fastest handful of drivers of the period. I still have numerous race reports of the era. For instance, of Brands Hatch: "Scott-Brown, now in the Bristol-engined Lister, had hard work to do in the 2-litre race. He was in the second row with Crook (Cooper-Bristol) in pole position. Until half distance the Lister sat on the Cooper-Bristol's tail. On the eighth lap Scott-Brown spun at Druid's Hill. He did not lose second place but did seem to lose heart. Crook went happily on his way with an ever widening gap between the two — 9 sec — 10 — 12 — 15 — 17 — 20 seconds, until, with a cheery wave, Crook crossed the finishing line 28 seconds to the good". Then, of a Snetterton meeting: "Tony Crook (Cooper-Bristol) and Roy Salvadori (Maserati) each took two bites at the cherry, in the 2-litre and 3-litre races. On each occasion Crook beat the Italian car, first by two seconds, then by one." Typical of race reports of 1954. A pity Crook is written about more as a successful (Bristol) car manufacturer, than as the brilliant and spectacular driver of the 1950s.

A. Brown