Bruce Kessler was born in March 1936 in Seattle, the son of a clothing designer from Beverly Hills, California. At the age of just sixteen, he started racing his own Jaguar XK120 in the Sport Car Club of America events before moving to single seaters in a Cooper Mk IX sponsored by Warren Olson the Cooper distributor. Bruce won twice at Santa Barbara in March 1956, Bakersfield in May and the Seattle Seafair Race to win the 500cc Club of America Championship that year.
He graduated to a Scarab built by his friend Lance Reventlow. The Scarabs won the International Grand Prix at Riverside, California beating Phil Hill in a Ferrari and Kessler was invited to Europe to drive at Le Mans alongside Dan Gurney. Bruce entered one F1 Grand Prix at Monaco in 1958, driving one of Bernie Ecclestone's Connaughts but failed to qualify, although he posted the 21st fastest time of the 28 entrants. Bruce crashed the Scarab heavily at Pomona in 1959 and spent several days in a coma, ending his driving career.
Bruce in the Scarab
After he retired from motorsport and returned to California. Bruce directed many TV movies and a TV series. One of his first efforts was a short film on the Scarab race car called "The Sound of Speed".
Bruce Kessler retired to Florida and is now a keen yachtsman. He was presented with the Harry Morrow Award at Riverside in March 2009.