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Brabham BT18B

by Colin Fabri | Dec 29, 2020

Own this Piece of Racing History!

In 1960, Jack Brabham along with friend and race engineer, Ron Tauranac, created the Motor Racing Developments (MRD) company. The company developed race cars for racing teams worldwide becoming the largest supplier of open wheeled cars to race teams by the end of the 60’s. Jacks racing career was well established by that time with many Formula 1 wins in the factory Brabham cars. 

The Motor Racing company first developed a Formula one car that debuted in the 1962 German Grand Prix. This first Formula 1 chassis was designated the ‘BT3’ and painted with a turquoise livery, running under the newly formed team name of the ‘Brabham Racing Organisation’. In its debut year it came in 7th in the constructor’s championship. Prior to the Formula 1 build, Formula Junior cars were constructed as the BT1 (1 car produced) and BT2 (11 cars produced). The BT name represented the first initial for Brabham & Tauranac and every car produced bore this Prefix. For the 1963 Formula 1 season the BT3 was repainted with the Australian inspired Green and Gold colour scheme which became the default factory colour of the Brabham cars. Jack partnered with Dan Gurney for the next 6 years and with the significant achievement of becoming Constructors Champion in 1966 and 1967. By this time development on the Formula 1 chassis had continued from the first BT3 through to the BT26 larger capacity cars. These later cars were fitted with V8 engines sourced from Australian engineering firm Repco.

Brabham had also continued to develop and build open wheeler race cars for other formulas. During the 60’s Brabham built cars to compete in Formula 2, Formula 3, Formula Libre and Sports Racing categories. Whilst the company is highly regarded in the Formula 1 world, significantly more Formula 2 and 3 cars were built by MRD, sold and raced by other teams. 

The Brabham 18 series (18,18A & 18B) were only built during 1966 in both Formula 2 and Formula 3 specifications. The 18B car that is for sale is one of only 8 to be manufactured by Brabham in 1966. This example is powered by a 4 cylinder Lotus twin cam engine matched to a Hewland Mk5 gearbox. This particular example was never raced in 1966 and instead a test car used by both Jack Brabham, and other factory engineers, and bears his initials stamped into the chassis. 

The car was purchased and imported into Zimbabwe by Peter Parnell in late 1967 who was a regular competitor around the African racing circuits. The car has a documented history showing it competed in many races between 1967 and 1972, including a number of Rhodesian GP’s and enduro’s in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Peter Parnell won the 1968 and 1969 South African Formula 2 championship in the BT18B. Peter Parnell died in 1975 and the car was taken over by his partner Fred Goddard who converted it into a sportscar similar to a T210 Lola. The conversion was due to the limited Formula 2 cars, at the time, to be able to make a full grid and Sportscars were becoming more popular. Later the car was stored by Fred until purchased by the current owner’s father, Michael Falconer, in 1979. Michael, as a fellow race driver, had been aware of the car and eventually tracked it down, purchasing it and then importing it into Australia after immigrating himself in 1983.

During the early to mid 1990’s it underwent a complete nut and bolt restoration, and included a full engine rebuild. The aim of the restoration was to restore it to factory specifications for a Formula 2 car as it was when it first left the factory in 1966. The restoration included significant research through documents and photos as well as contact with the Brabham factory in the UK.

The car was resprayed in the original Green and Gold colours and the number 18 added to signify the car being an BT18B. After the restoration, the car was raced in and around Perth with 12 officially documented races during this time. The car is competitive and ran equally well in circuit events, regularity runs and hill climbs.

The current restored specification, as per the original, includes the Lotus Cosworth 4 cylinder inline Engine and Hewland transaxle. The Lotus engine has a cast iron block with an alloy cylinder head, a capacity of 1593 cc and dry sump lubrication. The power output of the engine is documented as 140 hp. The transaxle has 5 forward and 1 reverse gear. Braking is via cast iron 10 inch discs on both front and rear. The car weighs 380kg, fully equipped and fuelled. The chassis plate number states the car is a 1966 Formula 2 vehicle. The car is offered for sale with a full CAMS historic certification, racing history and photographs.

All Brabham cars are both special and different in their own way and exude history. The BT18B for sale here, was built at the pinnacle of the Brabham racing success. The car was on display for some time in the Motor Museum of WA, in the suburb of Brabham in Perth, where the owner met Sir Jack a number of times. 

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