Last weekend I was talking to Cooper 500 racer David Whiteside, who now has some pretty convincing evidence that his 1953 Cooper Mk VII is in fact the Eric Brandon car. Through educated guesses, chance, and no small help from Ted Walker's photo collection, we have a pretty good story for the car. But there's one odd fact that might either be a bizarre coincidence, or the key piece of the jigsaw.
The Brandon car was unique, with a chassis similar to the Beart-Cooper Mk VIIIa, and several other special features - all appear on David's car. David has spoken to Ginger Devlin, who provided details of the car's construction and the reason for those features. Ginger says the car was constructed at the Cooper factory by him and Douggie Johnson, Eric's own mechanic.
Now in 1954 we see one DO Johnson begin racing in the British Formula III championship. It appears likely that he continued to race the same car through to 1956, and in 1955 we have one comfirmation that DO Johnson owned a Mk VII, and one of Ted's photo's confirming this to be David's car. Another reference suggests it could be DOA Johnson.
So obviously DO Johnson is Douggie Johnson, right? Sounds plausible, except Ginger also said that the only time Douggie sat in a racing car was to set the steering wheel at the factory. If anyone's going to know, it''s surely Ginger. But conversely, it seems unlikely that two people with such similar names could be involved with the same chassis at the same time.
Does anyone know more about Douggie? Are Douggie and DO one and the same? Did Douggie ever race? Or indeed, do we know anything about him as a mechanic for Eric? Any ideas?