Brabham BT9 car-by-car histories
Brabham's model for the new 1000cc Formula 3, the Brabham BT9, was based closely on the Formula Junior BT6 from 1963. Although not hugely successful, the BT9 paved the way for Brabham domination of F3 through the rest of the 1960s.
Formula Junior ended after 1963 and two new formulae replaced it: Formula 2 for unrestricted 1-litre engines and Formula 3 for production 1-litre engines. F3 was expected to be a low-cost formula for club racing so Brabham produced an evolution of the 1963 BT6 Formula Junior while building a new short-chassis design for F2. The BT9 could not compete with Jackie Stewart's Cooper T72 but Derek Bennett, Rodney Bloor, John Cardwell and Hans-Dieter Dechent all won races. Most of Brabham's wins across Europe came from the older BT6s of Silvio Moser, Curt Lincoln and Picko Troberg, while Roger Mac won a host of British club races in his even older BT2.
With a huge influx of BT15s and BT16s as well as second-hand ex-F2 BT10s in 1965, the BT9s were quickly pushed to one side. At least two went to the US and were successful in Formula C while another was converted to Formula Ford.
Few BT9s are known to exist today, the belief among Brabham experts being that several have been converted to BT6 specification to run in historic Formula Junior events.
If you can add anything to our understanding of these cars, please contact Allen Brown (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Although identified by some sources as the car of "Donald Fletcher" at the F2 Pergusa GP on 9 Aug 1964, F3-1-64 is now believed to be the F3 car raced in 1964 by Rodney Bloor, boss of Sports Motors (Manchester). From Bloor to Mike Gill (Alston, Cumberland) in August 1964, entered by Felton Racing for the remaining few races of 1964. Presumably the "BT15" Gill raced in 1965. Then to Frank Lythgoe Racing and entered for David Rees in a few races at the end of 1966 after Rees left Goodwin Racing. Then to Alan Minshaw for 1967 and later converted to Formula Ford as the "Blackjack". Advertised in August 1968 but subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Rodney Bloor, Bill Morgans, Donald Fletcher, Mike Gill, Dave Rees and Alan Minshaw. First race: Snetterton, 14 Mar 1964. Total of 24 recorded races.
Bought by Robert Ashcroft Racing and entered for Chevron's Derek Bennett in F3 races in 1964. Curiously, the car does not appear to have raced before late June. Sold by Ashcroft to Howard Heerey of Midland Garage (who would later be a regular Chevron customer) and raced occasionally in 1965 but Heerey had reliability problems, especially with the Jack Knight Hillman Imp gearbox. Sold by Heerey to Mike Bartle for 1966 and entered for races that season without often appearing. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Derek Bennett and Howard Heerey. First race: Monza, 28 Jun 1964. Total of 11 recorded races.
Although the Brabham BT9 was designed for the new Formula 3, Mike Knight ordered F3-3-64 in Formula Junior specification as the category remained popular worldwide. Completed in April 1964 and shipped out to Japan for the JAF GP, which Knight won. Also raced at Dunboyne and Phoenix Park in Ireland that summer and in at least one race at Snetterton. Sold to Arsenio 'Dodjie' Laurel late 1964 and fitted with a Ford twin-cam for Asian racing. Later to Rodney Seow (Singapore) by 1968, Mike Truter (Singapore) and then Brian Wilson (Australia) around 1983. To Gary Simkin, restored back to its original Formula Junior specification and finished about 1990. To Allan Woolf (NZ) 1992 and raced extensively in New Zealand historic racing. Retained by Woolf March 2013.
Driven by: Michael Knight and Rodney Seow. First race: Suzuka, 3 May 1964. Total of 5 recorded races.
Bought by the Italian tuning operation led by Domenico Giannini and built up with a Giannini-tuned 1-litre Fiat engine for use in Formula 2. Raced alongside an earlier Brabham BT6 in 1964 by Gaetano Starrabba and Massimo Natili. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Gaetano Starrabba and Massimo Natili. First race: Pau, 5 Apr 1964. Total of 5 recorded races.
This car has previously been identified as the Sports Motors (Manchester) car of Rodney Bloor in F3 in 1964 but that is now believed to have been F3-1-64. This means that F3-5-64 is likely to have been the car entered by Chris Goodwin Racing for John Cardwell in 1964. Sold to Mike Barnett (Sandbach, Cheshire) at the end of the season and raced by Barnett through 1965. Barnett continued to race a F3 Brabham until August 1966 but from September 1965 onwards his car was frequently identified as a BT16 and we do not know at this point whether this was the BT9 upgraded or a different car. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: John Cardwell and Mike Barnett. First race: Oulton Park, 21 Mar 1964. Total of 19 recorded races.
Identified by the Formula 1 Register as the car raced by Patrick Dal Bo in 1964 and by Jean Sage briefly at the end of 1965. Then sold back to England via Stephen Conlan and owned by David Wragg (Leeds) in early 1966 then to Malcolm Smith (Clitheroe, Lancashire) later that year. Sold by Smith via Fred Opert to the US, where dealer Pierre Phillips imported it into Portland, OR. He sold it to Win Casey, also of Portland, who raced it in ICSCC and SCCA FC in 1967 with a MAE engine. Then to another Portland driver, Neil Hansen, for NorPac FC in 1968 when it was described as a BT14. It was later owned by Chuck Grauel (Kansas City, KS) and raced in MWDiv Formula C in 1970 and 1971, then via midget racer Frank Dickerson (Wichita, KS), John Stokes and others to Jerry Strickfaden (Los Alamos, NM) 1987, during which time it was regarded as a BT15. Researched by Jerry Strickfaden and identified as a BT9. To Wayne Mitchell 1988. To Robs Lamplough (Hungerford, Berkshire) 2011. Retained by Lamplough August 2013.
Driven by: Patrick Dal Bo, Jean Sage, Win Casey, Neil Hansen, Chuck Grauel and Frank Dickerson. First race: Montlhéry, 26 Apr 1964. Total of 30 recorded races.
The early history of Brabham BT9 F3-7-64 is currently unknown. Until 2013, it was believed to have been the car raced by Walter Habegger in F3 in 1964 and 1965 but photographs have now shown that Habegger's F3 car was a BT10. The first certain owner of F3-7-64 was Richard Gerin (Vienna, Austria) who had an Austrian Wagenpass issued for the car in July 1966. He sold it to Gerhard Krammer (Sollenau, Austria) and Krammer raced it in Austrian hill climb events in 1967 when it was fitted with a 1.6-litre - Ford twin cam engine and entered by ASC-Schartner Bombe, a brand of lemonade. For 1968, Krammer upgraded to the ex-Natalie Goodwin Brabham BT18 and the history of the BT9 is then unknown until it was sold by Fritz Zottl to Burkhard List (Bad Erlach, Austria). List did nothing with the car and it was eventually passed to dealer Christophe Pund of Le Galerie des Damiers (Cassel, France). Pund sold the car to Bruce Mansell (Chatswood, NSW, Australia) in 2007. Retained by Mansell September 2015.
Driven by: Richard Gerin and Gerhard Krammer. First race: Dobratsch, 5 Jun 1966. Total of 2 recorded races.
Bought by Hermann Dorner (Ludwigshafen) and raced as part of Scuderia Lufthansa in German F3 in 1964. Sold to expat American Fred Goeske (Worms, Germany) for 1965 and then taken back to the US for Formula C in 1966. After a race at Castle Rock Raceway in the fall of 1966, Goeske sold it to local racer Jack Eiteljorg (Castle Rock, CO) and he used it in FC first with a F3-spec MAE engine and then with a SCA. Eiteljorg easily won MidWest Div FC in 1966 in this car and advertised it with both its usual Cosworth engine and with an ex-F2 SCA engine in February 1967. From Eiteljorg, F3-8-64 passed to Hank Kasahara and then to Maxey Ray (Lakewood, CO) around 1969, at which point it was converted to Formula Ford specification by John Barker. Ray raced the car in SCCA Formula Ford in 1971. It was sold to 'Ramsaur' in 1972 and then to Bob Parnham in April 1973. Parnham stored the car until December 2007 when it was sold to Mark Shillingburg (Evergreen, CO). Retained by Shillingburg November 2015.
Driven by: Hermann Dorner, Fred Goeske, Jack Eiteljorg and Maxey Ray. First race: Avus, 28 Jun 1964. Total of 13 recorded races.
Swiss driver Jean Blanc (although sometimes listed as Jean-Pierre Blanc of France) appeared at the 1964 Monaco Grand Prix F3 race with a Brabham-Ford which has been identified as a BT9, chassis F3-9-64. His only other listed appearance in a Brabham in 1964 was at Reims two months later where he crashed but a photograph from that event shows his car as a Lotus 27. Blanc then appeared in a Cooper T72 for three further French F3 races that season. Nothing more is known of this car.
Driven by: Jean Blanc. First race: Reims, 5 Jul 1964. Only one recorded race.
The first owner of F3-10-64 is unknown but it is likely to be either the car raced by Adrian Chambers from August 1964 to the end of 1965 or the Radio Caroline car raced by Piers Courage twice in the autumn of 1964 and by Derek Romano in more minor events into 1965, or Manfred Mohr's car seen at the very end of the season. F3-10-64 was identified by Jöran Hedberg as the Brabham raced by Ulf Boman in Sweden from 1967 to 1969. In 1998, Brooks auctioned F3-10-64 as part of the collection of Greger Petersen (Halmstad, Sweden), stating that it had been Frank Williams' F3 car but it did not sell. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Ulf Boman. First race: 28 Apr 1968. Total of 4 recorded races.
The history of F3-11-64 has not yet been identified. It could be the car raced by Adrian Chambers from August 1964 to the end of 1965, the Radio Caroline car raced by Piers Courage twice in the autumn of 1964 and by Derek Romano in more minor events into 1965, or Manfred Mohr's car seen at the very end of the season.
The history of F3-12-64 has not yet been identified. It could be the car raced by Adrian Chambers from August 1964 to the end of 1965, the Radio Caroline car raced by Piers Courage twice in the autumn of 1964 and by Derek Romano in more minor events into 1965, or Manfred Mohr's car seen at the very end of the season.
The history of F3-13-64 has not yet been identified. It could be the car raced by Adrian Chambers from August 1964 to the end of 1965, the Radio Caroline car raced by Piers Courage twice in the autumn of 1964 and by Derek Romano in more minor events into 1965, or Manfred Mohr's car seen at the very end of the season.
The mystery cars
The identities of five BT9s are currently unknown, but they will be F3-7-64, F3-10-64, F3-11-64, F3-12-64 and F3-13-64.
'the David Prophet car'
David Prophet (West Bromwich, Staffordshire) raced a Brabham-Ford on a few occasions in 1964 and it is not clear whether this was his 1963 Brabham BT6 rebuilt or a new BT9. However, in October 1964, Prophet advertised a F3 Brabham that was "raced three times, car only run about six times due to other racing commitments". As his BT6 had been raced 20 or so times in 1963, this can only mean that he had acquired a new F3 car for 1964. Unknown after it was advertised in October 1964.
Driven by: David Prophet. First race: Aintree, 18 Apr 1964. Total of 4 recorded races.
'the Hans-Dieter Dechent car'
Hans-Dieter Dechent (St. Ingbert, near Saarbrücken, Germany), who would later become achieve fame as team principal of the Martini Racing Team, raced in Formula 3 in 1964 under the Scuderia Lufthansa banner. He and Hermann Dorner raced a pair of Brabham BT9s and Dechent's appeared first, at Mainz-Finthen 14 Jun 1964. Some sources show Dechent retaining the BT9 for 1965 but photographs show that he had a new BT15. The BT9 may have gone to Wolf-Dieter Mantzel (Ingolstadt), who raced such a car with one of his self-tuned DKW engines in 1965. The chassis number of Dechent's car has not been identified and suggestions that it was F3-12-64 are entirely speculative. As the other Scuderia Lufthansa is now known to have been F3-8-64, more likely numbers for Dechent's would be F3-7-64 and F3-9-64.
Driven by: Hans-Dieter Dechent. First race: Mainz-Finthen, 14 Jun 1964. Total of 6 recorded races.
'the Adrian Chambers car'
Adrian Chambers (Peacehaven, Sussex) bought a new Brabham BT9 in mid-1964 and raced it through to the end of 1965. Chambers had previously raced a Lotus Elite in 1963 and then a Lotus Elan before moving into F3. His problems getting racing car parts across Europe prompted him to create SCA Freight Ltd which was a frequent sponsor of racing cars in the 1970s. Nothing more is known about the Brabham.
Driven by: Adrian Chambers and Harry Stiller. First race: Snetterton, 3 Aug 1964. Total of 13 recorded races.
'the Radio Caroline car'
Radio Caroline was the first of the pirate radio stations that attempted to compete with the BBC, the only company licenced to broadcast in the UK. It started in March 1964, broadcasting from a ship in the North Sea, and its publicity drive included a Brabham Formula 3 car. Exactly what the car was doing all year isn't clear as its only known races were at Zandvoort at the end of August and at Crystal Palace a week later, both times piloted by Piers Courage. On all other occasions, through to May 1965, it was entered for "Derek Romano", a pseudonym of Derek Kavanagh, but did not arrive. Whether it was even a BT9 is not entirely certain.
Driven by: Piers Courage. First race: Zandvoort, 30 Aug 1964. Total of 2 recorded races.
'the Manfred Mohr car'
German racing driver Manfred Mohr moved into Formula 3 quite late in 1964, racing a Brabham BT9 at Albi in mid-September and then at the Nürburgring and at Innsbruck before the end of the year. He bought a new BT15 for the 1965 season and the nearly-new BT9 was sold to Willy Franz (Zürich, Switzerland) and used primarily in Swiss Championship events in 1965 and 1966. Its history after the end of 1966 is unclear but it is likely to be the BT9 raced by fellow Swiss Arthur Bueb in national races in 1967 and 1968.
Driven by: Manfred Mohr and Willy Franz. First race: Albi, 13 Sep 1964. Total of 16 recorded races.
The 1965 cars
Most of the BT9s can be accounted for in 1965, F3-1-64 going to Mike Gill, F3-2-64 probably to Howard Heerey, F3-3-64 already with 'Dodjie' Laurel, F3-4-64 staying with the Giannini team in Italy, F3-5-64 already with Mike Barnett, F3-6-64 on its way back to England via Stephen Conlan and F3-8-64 going to Fred Goeske. Of the unidentified cars, Adrian Chambers keeps his for another season, the Radio Caroline car appeared on entry lists early in 1965, and Manfred Mohr's car goes to Willy Franz. That only leaves David Prophet's little-used car, last seen when advertised in October 1964, Hans-Dieter Dechent's car, which may have gone to Wolf-Dieter Mantzel, and the largely-unknown Jean Blanc car.
Several unexplained BT9s appear in 1965 but none are very well understood at present. As well as Mantzel's DKW-powered car, Tony 'Bubbles' Horsley had a car that was reputedly built from bits, Ray Hills had a car that we only know from a photograph and Leif Persson had a car that he may have been hiring from Jim Russell Racing Driver School. Later in the season, Karl Foitek appeared with a "Gregor Special" which photographs show was a BT9.
'the Bubbles Horsley car'
Tony 'Bubbles' Horsley had been racing an old Ausper in F3 in 1964 in a team with another future F1 boss, Frank Williams. Horsley built up a Brabham of some variety for 1965 but exactly what it was made from is unclear. It may have used parts from the unidentified ex-Formula Junior Brabham that Williams had raced in 1964 until wrapping around a tree at the Nürburgring in September. It is debatable whether this car should be listed as a BT9 but it fits here better than anywhere else until more is learnt.
Driven by: Tony Horsley. First appearance: Imola, 11 Apr 1965.
'the Ray Hills car'
At Brands Hatch 6 Jun 1965, M.H. Hill entered a Brabham at #8 for Ray Hills, who general drove a Lotus 31 that season. The entry of a Brabham could be disregarded except for a picture in the archives of Ted Walker (Ferret Fotographic) of a #8 Brabham at that event that demonstrates key features of a BT9, notably the long chassis and high radius rod mounting point. At no other point in 1965 is Hills noted in a Brabham. This car is, for the moment, a complete mystery.
Driven by: Ray Hills. First race: Brands Hatch, 6 Jun 1965. Only one recorded race.
'the 1965 Tino Brambilla car'
Tino Brambilla raced an unidentified Brabham at Caserta and Monza in June 1965, returning to his usual Wainer after those races. He again raced an unidentified Brabham at the start of 1966, before moving to a newer 1965 car in May. It would appear that his first Brabham must have been a 1964 model, so either a BT9 or BT10, of which BT9 would seem the most likely. It is possible that this was Adrian Chambers' BT9, which disappears when Chambers takes over Harry Stiller's Lotus 32 at just the same time that Brambilla's Brabham first appears. When Brambilla later took over his newer car, Luigi Malanca started to race a 1964 Brabham and, given the small number of Brabhams in Italy at that time, it is a distinct possibility Malanca was taking over Brambilla's car.
Driven by: Ernesto "Tino" Brambilla. First race: Caserta, 20 Jun 1965. Total of 3 recorded races.
'the "Gregor Special"'
Karl Foitek (Zürich, Switzerland) moved into the single seater class of his national championship in a car entered as a "Gregor Special" and fitted with a 1558cc Ford twin cam. Automobile Revue called it a F3 Brabham and photographs show the distinctive features of a 1964 Brabham BT9. However, the origins of the BT9 are not yet known. A very similar-looking car, also fitted with a twin cam, was bought in Switzerland in 1965 by Georges Michaux (France) and raced by him in French hillclimbs for several years. At one point it was crashed and repaired by Jo Follis. Michaux kept the car until around 1971. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Karl Foitek. First race: St Ursanne-Les Rangiers, 22 Aug 1965. Total of 2 recorded races.
'the Wolf-Dieter Mantzel car'
Wolf-Dieter Mantzel (Ingolstadt, Germany) had raced a ex-Formula Junior Lola in 1964 using one of his own DKW-based 1-litre engines. Mantzel returned in 1965 with the engine mounted in a newer Brabham BT9 chassis. He appeared only rarely that season in national German events, preferring to drive his DKW Junior touring car. With Audi's takeover of DKW, Mantzel transferred his attention to Abarth 1000s in 1966. Geography would suggest that this Brabham was the ex-Dechent car. Nothing more known.
Driven by: Wolf-Dieter Mantzel. First race: Mainz-Finthen, 11 Jul 1965. Total of 2 recorded races.
The later cars
Two further mystery BT9s appeared in 1966, one in England driven by Norman Foulds and another with Jan Heggov in Denmark.
'the Luigi Malanca car'
Luigi Malanca raced an unidentified Brabham in Italy in 1966. It appears to have been a 1964 car, so most likely a BT9, and may have been the car raced in 1965 and early 1966 by Tino Brambilla. It is possible that this was Adrian Chambers' BT9, which disappears when Chambers takes over Harry Stiller's Lotus 32 at just the same time that Tino Brambilla's Brabham first appears.
Driven by: Luigi Malanca. First race: Monza, 13 Mar 1966. Total of 3 recorded races.
'the Jan Heggov car'
Jan Heggov (Denmark) raced a F3 Brabham-Ford in 1966, his car having been described as a BT15 by some sources. However, when Börje Björkqvist (Sweden) raced this same car in 1967, it was described by Motoring News as the ex-Heggov 1964 Brabham, implying a BT9, not a BT15. Note that Ulf Boman also had a BT9 in 1967 but he and Björkqvist overlapped so it cannot have been the same car. It is likely that one of these two is the BT9 driven briefly by Leif Persson in August and September 1965. The later history of the Heggov/Björkqvist car is unknown.
Driven by: Jan Heggov and Börje Björkqvist. First race: Roskilde, 8 May 1966. Total of 13 recorded races.
'the Norman Foulds car'
Norman Foulds appears on a number of F3 and libre entry lists in 1966 with a Brabham-Ford but his actual appearances were quite rare. The car has been described as a 1963 BT6 but photographs of Foulds at Mallory Park in December 1966 clearly show the car was a BT9. Motor Racing magazine announced in May 1967 that David Bridges would be entering a BT9 for Foulds in F3 in 1967 so the possibility remains that Foulds had raced an earlier Brabham in 1966 and had been using Bridges' BT9 at that Mallory Park race.
Driven by: Norman Foulds. First appearance: Oulton Park, 4 Jun 1966.
'the David Bridges car'
David Bridges entered a Brabham BT9 for Norman Foulds in Formula 3 in 1967. Whether it was the same car Foulds had driven in 1966 is not clear; the assumption at present is that it was not. Foulds drove the Brabham in British events, mainly at Oulton Park and Mallory Park, until a race at Mallory Park in early July 1967 where he was involved in an accident with Geddes Yeates. The Bridges team also had a BT21, recently redundant after Malcolm Smith's retirement, so Foulds moved across to the BT21. The fate of the BT9 is unknown but it may have been a write-off.
Driven by: Norman Foulds. First race: Snetterton, 5 Mar 1967. Total of 12 recorded races.
'the Arthur Bueb car'
Arthur Bueb (Hinterkappelen, Switzerland) raced a Brabham in minor events in Switzerland and Austria in 1967 and 1968 using both 997cc (F3) and 1100cc engines but more usually in the 1100cc Rennwagen class of Swiss national racing. A photograph of the car at Innsbruck in May 1967 shows it to have been a Brabham BT9 so it is likely to have been the ex-Manfred Mohr/Willy Franz car last seen racing in the 1100cc Rennwagen class at the end of 1966.
Driven by: Arthur Bueb. First race: Ollon-Villars (R7), 27 Aug 1967. Total of 4 recorded races.
Brabham BT9s in the US
We know F3-6-64 went to the US in late 1966 or early 1967, and that F3-8-64 had gone there a year earlier, but there is evidence that at least one and probably two other BT9s had reached the US by mid-1968. Fred Opert sent out regular stock lists and surviving copies often mentions 1964 Formula 3 Brabhams. On 7 December 1966, he had a 1964 F3 in stock with 8"/6" wheels and a Cosworth MAE, which he called the best pushrod car in the US. This might have been Eiteljorg's F3-8-64 but Eiteljorg advertised the car himself three months later and as we know it stayed in Colorado, it makes it unlikely Opert had it in New Jersey. It is also too early to be F3-6-64.
A later stock list, dated 26 June 1968, mentions two BT9s: one black car set up for a 1600cc Formula B Ford twin cam, and one maroon car set up for a Cosworth MAE. The black car had brand new Dunlop tyres and may have been a new import but the maroon car had Firestone Indys and may have already raced in the US. Both cars had 8 and 7-inch mags. Again, these do not fit what we know of the movements of F3-6-64 and F3-8-64, so this suggest a total of four BT9s were in the US by mid-1968, possibly more.
Tom Ellis (Boulder, CO) has a Brabham BT9 in 2018, which came from Robert Hoemke in Texas. Hoemke bought it from "someone in the Midwest in ’99 or 2000", but that's all that is known at present.
In addition to the above, an unknown Brabham BT9 was driven by Leif Persson.
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