Educated at the Edward VI School in Guildford, Alan Brown was an apprentice mechanic when World War II began in 1939. He served in the British Army during the conflict and had risen to the rank of Major by the time he was discharged.
Formula 3 winner
A civilian once more, Brown returned to work for his pre-war employers Dennis Brothers as a truck salesman. He used his earnings to buy a Formula 3 Cooper in 1950 and Brown helped form Ecurie Richmond a year later with fellow driver Eric Brandon and haulage contractor Jimmy Richmond. They ran a couple of Cooper-Nortons and both emerged as stars of the category. Brown won the 1951 Luxembourg Grand Prix at Findel in what was F3’s highest profile event.
Grand Prix driver
He then made his world championship debut in the 1952 Swiss GP and his Ecurie Richmond Cooper T20-Bristol finished fifth to score points. However, he was outshone by future world champion Mike Hawthorn that year. "The only time I beat him was when I married his girlfriend," Brown later remembered.
Brown drove a works Cooper in the 1953 Argentine GP but it was a tragic event due to the huge throng that lined the track. Giuseppe Farina crashed into the crowd killing nine spectators and a young boy also lost his life when hit by Brown. Both Farina and Brown were later exonerated of any blame.
The original test driver for Vanwall in 1954, he ran as high as fifth on its debut in that year’s International Trophy at Silverstone before an oil pipe fractured. He continued to race a Cooper-Bristol in British races before switching to a Connaught in 1955 and Jaguar D-type in 1956.
Life after motor racing
He quit racing at the end of the season but he continued in team management and Brown later bought Connaught. He was Ken Tyrrell’s early partner and ran Ford Galaxies in the British Touring Car Championship during the 1960s.
Brown retired to live in Marbella in Spain in 1990 but had returned to England by the time he died of a heart attack in 2004.