Peter Bryant, best known in motor racing circles as the creator of the Titanium-chassied Ti22 Can-Am car, died of a heart attack at his home in Las Vegas, Nevada, March 31, 2009, four days short of his 72nd birthday. He had just spent the previous weekend participating in the Legends of Riverside Film Festival.
Growing up in war-torn England, Bryant fell in love with cars and expanded that affection into racing upon attending a meeting at Goodwood in 1953 where he first witnessed the exploits of his heroes, Mike Hawthorn, Stirling Moss, Roy Salvadori, and Reg Parnell. Seven years later, Parnell gave Bryant his first shot as a Formula One mechanic with his Yeoman Credit-sponsored team that fielded Coopers for Salvadori and John Surtees, the latter doing his first year in cars.
In 1963, Masten Gregory introduced Peter to Mickey Thompson who hired him to work on his audacious Indianapolis effort, where Bryant would get his first exposure to the space-age metal Titanium. As we know, that project ended badly, but because Thompson had sponsored Bryant’s immigration he kept finding him work until Peter hooked up with Carroll Shelby’s Cobra works.
Eventually, he gravitated to the Can-Am where he found his calling and truly made his mark. Despite his own origins, Peter always took pride in building one of the few successful American Can-Am cars. The Ti22 was not his only Can-Am success, however, as his subsequent design work with Don Nichols’s Shadow Can-Am team helped turn those cars into legitimate contenders.
In more recent years he busied himself with design consultancy both within and without the automotive sector—including drawing the Shelby Series 1—and wrote his engaging autobiography, Can-Am Challenger. He had most recently been working on a re-creation of the Ti22, while also finding time to help various vintage racers get the most from their historic machinery.
Bryant is survived by his wife Lois, 4 children, 10 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren. To them and all his friends in the sport, Vintage Racecar extends its sincerest condolences.