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NOTICE OF DEATH - GORDON BRUCE (1947 - 2023)

We very much regret to inform Members that Gordon Bruce died on 22 December at the age of 76 after suffering heart failure. Gordon became an Associate Member of the BRDC in 2006 following a long and distinguished career in motor sport Public Relations.

After qualifying as a mechanical engineer, Gordon worked for a time in the production engineering department of Lotus Cars where amongst other things he designed the base of Colin Chapman’s boardroom table! In 1971 he joined the technical staff of Motor magazine and was soon appointed Road Test Editor with responsibility for all road and track tests. His first competitive events were hillclimbs in 1972 with an Austin-Healey 3000, by the Japanese equivalent of the Big Healey, a Datsun 240Z. He also hillclimbed a 500 cc Cooper-Norton with some success.

In 1974, Gordon’s association with the Blue Oval began when he arranged for the Ford Motor Company to lend him a car for the Escort Mexico Challenge in which he finished eighth after glandular fever caused him to miss four rounds of this very competitive series. In 1975, now with a Mk II Mexico, Gordon finished fifth, in the process becoming the first person in the world to win a race in a Mk II Escort. He was also a member of the winning team in the Tour of Britain with an Escort 1300 Sport.

A switch from contemporary to classic saloon cars in 1976 brought Gordon six wins from six races in the Classic Saloon Car Championship with a Jaguar 2.4 Mk 1, an achievement for which he was awarded the Rootes Gold Cup by the Guild of Motoring Writers. Gordon began the 1977 season in the British Saloon Car Championship with a Hermetite-backed Vauxhall Magnum, achieving a third in class at Oulton Park ahead of Gerry Marshall no less in a similar car although it must be said that Gerry had had to make a pit stop to replace a loose plug lead. The Vauxhall involvement had to come to an end after just three races when Gordon accepted an invitation to join Ford’s PR department. Over the next few years Gordon regularly contested the RAC Tourist Trophy round of the European Touring Car Championship with Holman ‘Les’ Blackburn in a Ford Capri although it was a return to the BSCC which was one of the major highlights of Gordon’s time in touring cars when, on August Bank Holiday 1979 at Brands Hatch, he finished third overall, behind only Brian Muir and Chris Craft and ahead of such luminaries as Colin Vandervell and Dave Brodie, all of them in Capris.

In 1982 Gordon left Ford’s employment to set up Gordon Bruce Associates but retained close connections with the Blue Oval while developing relationships with other household names in motor sport. He undertook PR for the launch of Richard Noble’s successful ThrustSCC world land speed record project, provided marketing support for Jordan Grand Prix and total PR responsibility for the Simtek Grand Prix team. From 1995 GBA had total PR responsibility for the Motorsport Industry Association and for the Formula Ford category on a global basis which included masterminding the change to the Zetec engine internationally. Gordon and his company also undertook PR for eight of the first 12 Silverstone Historic Festivals including design and production of the event programmes. There were driver marketing projects for amongst others Mark Webber and David Brabham and PR for BP’s truck racing team, the BF Goodrich Porsche race series, Safety Devices and pro bono PR for the Motorsport Safety Fund. And that is just some of the clients with which Gordon and his company were associated.

Despite the demands of his business, Gordon still found time to race, winning the 1983 Intermarque Championship with his AC Cobra. He very much revelled in the power of big Ford V8 engines and acquired a TVR Griffith to run alongside the Cobra. In a Historic Sports Car Club race at Snetterton in 1985 Gordon finished first with the Cobra and second in the same race with the TVR. Gordon ran a Ford Falcon in the European Historic Saloon Car Championship from 1993 to 1996 with success before finally hanging up his racing helmet. When asked to list his race record, Gordon did not fail to mention his last overall race win – in an Austin Allegro in a banger race!

In 2005 Gordon sold part of GBA to a competitor but continued to operate as a specialist boutique business providing support to marketing agencies and in-house PR departments. At its peak, in Gordon’s days at the helm, Gordon Bruce Associates was one of Europe’s leading automotive communications consultancies, offering a team of 20 top specialists which became the first choice of many of the world’s major manufacturers, suppliers and event organisers.

To Gordon’s wife Marilyn, son Alasdair and stepdaughter Becky, the BRDC offers its deepest condolences. Funeral details to follow.

The Club regrets to report on the death of Hugh Chamberlain, who was elected as a BRDC Member in 1988
The Club regrets to report on the death of Tony Sugden, who was elected as a BRDC Member in 2002.
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