OldRacingCars.com

Brabham BT18B (Formule libre) car-by-car histories

Dr John Hood's Formula B Brabham BT18 with Ford twin cam engine at Montgomery in 1967. Copyright David Seibert 2006. Used with permission.

Dr John Hood's Formula B Brabham BT18 with Ford twin cam engine at Montgomery in 1967. Copyright David Seibert 2006. Used with permission.

The Brabham BT18 was a multi-formula car built for Formula 2 and Formula 3, but was also available fitted with a Ford twin cam engine. The twin cam cars were used in Formule Libre, hillclimbs, and 1500cc/1600cc racing around the world. The histories shown here relate only to those Ford twin cam cars.

In 1965, MRD had produced three separate models that shared a chassis frame: the Brabham BT16 for Formula 2, the Brabham BT15 for Formula 3, and the Brabham BT14 which was fitted with the popular 1600cc Ford twin cam engine for Formule Libre. The BT14 had sold in significant numbers, so a twin cam application was also made available on the new 1966 BT18, a model number that was used for MRD's F2, F3 and libre cars. The BT18 was very similar to its predecessors, with only a few tubes differing in the chassis, but can be distinguished by its taller rear uprights, which allowed the lower radius arm to be mounted lower on the chassis. The BT18, as well as the 1966 version of the BT15, also differed from older Brabhams in having a vent in the nose section. It appears that eight BT18s were built in the 1600cc configuration and that they were designated the BT18B, but Mike Lawrence's excellent 'Brabham Ralt Honda' book on Ron Tauranac says these eight cars were sold to Japan with Ford Kent engines. It may be that some wires have crossed here, and that the Japanese order used 1965 BT16 or BT15/66 chassis, while the BT18Bs were the twin cam variants of the BT18.

As well as its popularity for libre racing in Britain, the Ford twin cam was the dominant engine in the 1600cc class of British hillclimbs, SCCA Formula B in the USA, national racing in Southeast Asia and also the 'National formula' in New Zealand, where it was limited to 1500cc. John Bridges, David Preston and Clive Baker all bought twin cam BT18s for British Formula libre, Mike Hawley and Peter Lawson bought two for hillclimbs, US importer Fred Opert bought one or two for his customers Don Morin and Stew McMillen, and one was also sold to Lee Han Seng in Malaysia.

If you can add to our understanding of these cars, or have photographs that we can use, please email Allen at allen@oldracingcars.com.

Chassis
History
Current owner
Brabham BT18
F2-2-66
(1600cc twin cam)

New to John Bridges and fitted with a 1600cc Ford twin cam engine for Formule Libre. It was raced by Bridges and on occasions by Brian Redman, but almost always in Oulton Park libre races. It was usually described simply as a Brabham twin cam but on the rare occasions a type number was given in Autosport, it was called a BT14 or a BT16. However, Duncan Rabagliati observed the chassis plate as F2-2-66, so why Bridges entered it as an older car is unclear. Retained by Bridges for 1967, when it was finally entered as a BT18. At the end of the season it was sold to Frank Williams, and for 1968, it moved to Peter Parnell (Bulawayo, Rhodesia), still with its twin cam engine, and used in the 1600cc class of the South African championship. Part way through the 1968 season, Parnell changed the engine to a F2 Cosworth FVA, but returned to the twin cam for the final race of the season. The Brabham was then fitted with a Climax engine and raced by John Amm in 1969. It remained in Rhodesian club racing for some time and at one stage was fitted with Lola sports car bodywork. After Parnell was killed by guerrillas near Binga, Rhodesia, in April 1975, Parnell's widow gave the car to Fred Goddard, who sold the rolling chassis to Mike Falconer (Bulawayo). Falconer emigrated to Perth, Western Australia in 1983, taking the Brabham with him. He restored the car and raced it in historic events in Western Australia from 1997 to 2004, after which it was displayed in the Caversham Motor Museum for many years. It was advertised for sale in October 2020.

Driven by: John Bridges, Brian Redman, Peter Parnell and John Amm. First race: Snetterton, 13 Mar 1966. Total of 49 recorded races.

Michael Falconer (Australia) 2020
Brabham BT18
F2-5-66
(1600cc twin cam)

David Preston ran a Brabham with a 1.6-litre Ford twin-cam engine in libre racing throughout 1966. The car was generally described as a BT14 but that may just be because comentators were used to the twincam Brabham being a BT14. His season was punctuated by a serious accident at Silverstone on 25 Jun and he was not seen again for eight weeks. Andrew Fletcher then raced a Brabham BT18 in F2 and in libre in 1967, the car being identified by Motoring News as one that had been raced in libre during 1966. Then, in January 1969, when Fletcher traded up to a Chevron B8, his BT18 was described as being ex-Preston. The subsequent history of the Brabham is unknown.

Driven by: David Preston, Andrew Fletcher and Jimmy Veitch. First race: Silverstone, 11 Apr 1966. Total of 30 recorded races.

Unknown
Brabham BT18
F2-8-66
(1600cc twin cam)

New to Mike Hawley (Solihull, Warwickshire) and run in the RAC British Hill Climb championship in 1966, taking a very impressive overall win at Shelsley Walsh in August. Sold to Peter Fenwick in late September or early October and used by him in minor hillclimbs at the end of that season and in 1967 and 1968. The car faded from view until the beginning of 1971, when Tom Elton ran it in sprints and hillclimbs, now fitted with a Vegantune twin cam. His son Spencer Elton took over the car later in the year and preferred it to his own BT21C, taking an overall win in the British Sprint championship round at Thruxton in August. Retained by the Eltons for 1972 and fitted with a 1100cc Cosworth BDA engine for the small racing car category. Tom raced the car in 1972, 1973 and 1974, and was still running it in the 1100cc class in 1976. Subsequent history unknown. Tom's son Spencer Elton (Trowbridge, Wiltshire) still owned the car in April 1990.

Driven by: Mike Hawley, Peter Fenwick, Tom Elton and Spencer Elton. First race: Loton Park, 3 Apr 1966. Total of 29 recorded races.

Unknown
Brabham BT18
F2-12-66
(1600cc twin cam)

New to Peter Lawson (Knaresborough, North Yorkshire) and fitted with a 1600cc Ford twin cam for hillclimbs. First raced towards the end of the 1966 season and then in the RAC championship in 1967, finishing second at Harewood both seasons. To Peter Blankstone (Wolverhampton) for hillclimbs again in 1968 and then to Spencer Elton (Westbury, Wiltshire) for libre racing in 1969. To Rod Pickering (Leicester) and entered by B.P.G. Engineering Co. Ltd for him to race in rounds of the 1970 British Oxygen Co Formula Libre championship. Then to dealer Bobby Howlings (Congleton, Cheshire) and used in one libre race at the end of 1970 before sold to Geoff Lambert (Burnley, Lancashire) for club libre in 1971. Crashed in testing but rebuilt and raced in libre events before being crashed by Lambert again at Ingliston and written off. Geoff's son John reckons the wreck returned to Howlings in part-exchange for the ex-Creasey Brabham BT14. The Formula One Register identify this as the 1-litre BT18 raced by Bob Laughton (Steyning, Sussex) in Monoposto in 1973. According to Chris Townsend, it was then raced by Robin Meade in Monoposto in 1974. After Meade, papers with the car in 2005 indicate that it was then owned by David Wilson. Its next known owner was Paul Spires (Thames Ditton), who raced it in HSCC in the HSCC Pre '71 Single Seater Championship in 1986 and 1987. Whether this was the same person as the Paul Shires who ran a 1600cc BT18 at Wiscombe Park in 1982 is unclear. Michael Rigby (Vancouver, BC, Canada) imported the car to Canada in 1989 or 1990. It was bought by Joe Gordon (Seattle, WA) in 2002 and restored for him by Horizon Racing. He raced the car in historic racing for nearly 20 years.

Driven by: Peter Lawson, Peter Blankstone, Spencer Elton, Rod Pickering, Bobby Howlings, Geoff Lambert and Bob Laughton. First race: Harewood (R13), 11 Sep 1966. Total of 56 recorded races.

Joe Gordon (USA) 2022
Brabham BT18
F2-16-66
(1600cc twin cam)

Donald J. Morin (Attleboro, MA) raced a Brabham BT18 in Formula B in 1966, one of the first Brabhams to be sold new to the US since the Formula Junior cars of 1962 and 1963. According to Denis Lupton's notes, this may have been chassis F2-16-66. Morin dominated NEDiv Formula B in this car, scoring a maximum 54 points, and also won the SCCA Run-Offs in November. He retained the car for early 1967, racing it in the pro race at Bridgehampton 20 May 1967 but then Morin moved up to a Can-Am McLaren M1C and the car disappeared from the scene. Mr Morin died in May 2012. Two years later, in 1969, Fred Opert advertised a Brabham BT18 described as "ex Don Morin national champion" but no clues were given to what it had been doing since. The subsequent history of the Brabham is unknown.

Driven by: Don Morin. First race: Thompson Raceway, 1 May 1966. Total of 9 recorded races.

Unknown
Brabham BT18
F2-40-66(II)
(1600cc twin cam)
Lee Han Seng in his Brabham BT18 with Ford twin cam engine. Copyright Choong H Fu 2024. Used with permission.

Lee Han Seng in his Brabham BT18 with Ford twin cam engine. Copyright Choong H Fu 2024. Used with permission.

John Macey in his Brabham BT18 at the HSRCA Sydney Classic in June 2022. Copyright Geoff Russell 2024. Used with permission.

John Macey in his Brabham BT18 at the HSRCA Sydney Classic in June 2022. Copyright Geoff Russell 2024. Used with permission.

One of two Brabham BT18s to wear the identity F2-40-66, this car was sold new by MRD to Lee Han Seng in Malaysia in July 1966, fitted with a Ford twin cam engine. His first race in the car was when he won the Fifth Tunku Abdul Rahman Circuit Races at Sungei Renggam in September 1966, the last Formula Libre street race held in Selangor before the new Batu Tiga Circuit was opened. He then won again at the Old Upper Thomson Road Sprint in September but retired from the Macau Grand Prix in November. In 1967, he won the Dunlop Gap Hill Climb, Boon Lay Sprint and Old Upper Thomson Road Sprint. In September he finished second to Rodney Seow in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Trophy at Batu Tiga and then beat Seow to win the Johore Grand Prix a week later. He raced a couple of times in 1968 but withdrew from racing that year and advertised the car. He returned in 1971, but by this time the BT18 was no longer competitive. It was stored after its retirement and was sold to George Derry in Australia in 1988. Derry restored it and raced it in historic events; it was also driven by Peter Macrow, Mark Potter and Ian Wells during this time. It was sold to Peter Larner in 1998 and raced by his son Jamie up to 2007 when it was sold to Max Lane. (History by Denis Lupton.) Raced by Lane at Oran Park in June 2008. By April 2011, it had been sold by Lane to John Macey (New South Wales, Australia). Raced by Macey in historic racing from 2012 to 2015, and from 2018 onwards. Raced by Macey at the Sydney Clasic in June 2023.

Driven by: Lee Han Seng. First race: Sungei Renggam, 4 Sep 1966. Total of 10 recorded races.

John Macey (Australia) 2023
Brabham BT18
F2-44-66
(1600cc twin cam)
Richard Thwaites in the Brabham BT18-Buick at Prescott in May 1970. Copyright Ted Walker 2012. Used with permission.

Richard Thwaites in the Brabham BT18-Buick at Prescott in May 1970. Copyright Ted Walker 2012. Used with permission.

John Green's Brabham BT18-Buick at Chateau Impney in 2016. Copyright John Brown 2024. Used with permission.

John Green's Brabham BT18-Buick at Chateau Impney in 2016. Copyright John Brown 2024. Used with permission.

New to Clive Baker near the end of the 1966 season, after Baker had given up on the Stockbridge Racing Cooper T83 in May. Built with a Ford twin cam engine for libre racing and first reported winning a libre race very comfortably at Castle Combe at the end of August. The nearly-new car was sold to Bryan Eccles (Solihull, Warwickshire) for 1967 and fitted with a 3.5-litre Oldsmobile V8 engine for hillclimbing. Eccles won a number of events, including the Shelsley Walsh championship hillclimb in August. To Chris Cox for 1968 and used in libre racing. Then to Tony Charnell for 1969 but not seen. It returned to hillclimbing in 1970 when owned by Richard Thwaites (Dewsbury, West Yorkshire) and then in 1971 with Dave Hartley who also used the Brabham-Buick in sprints. Hartley continued to run the car regularly in the British Sprint Championship until 1975. He took class wins in Longton & District MC's Isle of Man hillclimb in 1977 and 1978. Next seen when advertised by Jim Johnston in January 1988. According to a later advertisement for the car (then called F2-42-66), it was owned after Johnstone by Peter Speakman (also the owner of F2-22-66), and was then bought back by Jim Eccles in the early 2000s. It was later sold to Simon Durling, who had it fully rebuilt and used it in the Pre-1971 racing car class. After an accident, it was sold to John Green as a project and extensively rebuilt again. Adam Sykes advertised the car in early 2023, and in May 2023 announced that it had been sold. Sold by Adam Sykes & Co on John Green's behalf to Steve WIlkinson in 2023.

Driven by: Clive Baker, Bryan Eccles, Chris Cox, Richard Thwaites, Dave Hartley, Ron Hartley and Tony Bradwell. First race: Castle Combe, 29 Aug 1966. Total of 67 recorded races.

Steve WIlkinson (UK) 2023
Brabham BT18
F2-48-66
(1600cc twin cam)

The early history of this car is unknown but its chassis number, recorded in paperwork still owned by Ron Brown, suggests it would have been built very late in 1966, probably after the end of the regular SCCA season. Its first known race was at Mont-Tremblant 17 Sep 1967 where it was driven by well-known west coast racing car dealer Pierre Phillips (Portland, OR). In the summer of 1968, Ron Brown (Portland, OR) bought a Brabham BT18 from Phillips and is sure this would have been his Mont-Tremblant car. Brown shared the drive with Gerry Bruihl (Sausalito, CA) in 1968 and 1969 and ran the car from Bruihl's Competition Motors, a sports car repair shop in NW Portland. In 1970, Brown shared the drive with Russ Harness (also Portland, OR) but then sold the Brabham to John Ransom (also Portland, OR) who Ron believes sold it to someone in Vancouver.

Driven by: Pierre Phillips, Ron Brown, Gerry Bruihl, Russ Harness and John F Ransom. First race: Mont-Tremblant (R4), 17 Sep 1967. Total of 11 recorded races.

Unknown

Unidentified 1600cc Brabham BT18s in 1966

MRD records say that eight Brabham BT18Bs were built for Formule libre, indicating that these were the car built with 1600cc Ford twin cam engines. We know of eight such cars: John Bridges F2-2-66, David Preston's F2-5-66, Mike Hawley's F2-8-66, Peter Lawson's F2-12-66 and Clive Baker's F2-44-66, all built for libre racing or hillclimbing in England; Don Morin's F2-16-66 in SCCA Formula B, Lee Han Seng's F2-40-66(II) in Southeast Asian racing; and one unresolved car, chassis number F2-48-66, that was in SCCA Formula B in late 1967 and had probably been there through the preceding year.

There were a further three Brabham BT18s that raced during 1966 with Ford twin cam engines for which chassis numbers are not known: the two cars shipped to New Zealand at the end of 1966, Graeme Lawrence's 'AM144' and Roly Levis's 'AM168', and the car raced in SCCA Formula B by Stew McMillen. If MRD records are accurate, then all eight cars are accounted for, and we can then be confident that McMillen's car was the unresolved F2-48-66, and that the two New Zealand car were either second-hand F3 cars or were built from parts.

Chassis
History
Current owner
Brabham BT18
'the Stew McMillen car'
(1600cc twin cam)
(1966-mid-1967)

Stew McMillen moved from a Lotus 27/32 to a Brabham in 1966. He recalls picking up the car in New York and his first outing was at Bridgehampton where he finished second. McMillen easily retained his CenDiv FB title but did not appear in any Pro races. After the 1966 Run-Offs, McMillen moved into FA and the Brabham was sold to Alan Gottlieb (McKeesport, PA) who used it in North East Div FB in 1967 and at the May 1967 Bridgehampton Pro race where it was described as a "1966" car. From this it can be deduced that it was a BT18. Gottlieb ended the NEDiv season with just nine points, presumably those picked up for his FB class win at VIR in April which means nothing is known of this car after May 1967.

Driven by: Stew McMillen and Alan Gottlieb. First race: Thompson Raceway (R11), 4 Sep 1966. Total of 5 recorded races.

Unknown

The New Zealand Brabham BT18s

Two Brabham BT18s arrived in New Zealand in late 1966 but neither has ever been associated with a chassis number. Both have been known through their lives by their AM numbers, AM144 and AM168.

Chassis
History
Current owner
Brabham BT18
'AM144'
(1500cc twin cam)
Stan Peterson in his Brabham BT18 ‘AM144’ at Laguna Seca in 2009. Copyright Stan Peterson 2009. Used with permission.

Stan Peterson in his Brabham BT18 ‘AM144’ at Laguna Seca in 2009. Copyright Stan Peterson 2009. Used with permission.

New to Graeme Lawrence (Hamilton, New Zealand) and shipped to New Zealand where it was registered on 14 October 1966 by local authorities as chassis number "F2.FL.66". The car's Brabham chassis number is unknown, but it has frame number AM144 and has been known by that number for most of its life. Raced by Lawrence in the 1966/67 and 1967/68 seasons. Sold in February 1968 to John Nicholson and raced by him in the 1968/69 New Zealand 1.5-litre Championship and in the 1969 Tasman series. Nicholson arranged to sell it to Dexter Dunlop later in 1969, in time for the 1970 Tasman series, but the sale fell through. It was sold to Colin Roberts in April 1971, and raced by him as a Formula Ford. Its next owners were Brian Watson in October 1975, then Denis Ganley in May 1981. In November 1984 it was bought by David Curry (Rotorua, NZ) and Ken White, but the partnership was soon dissolved and the car was retained by Curry. In February 1992, Curry sold the car to Stan Peterson (Prundale, CA), who took it to the US in early 1993. The car remained with Peterson until his death, after which it was sold via Mike Pierce to Stephen Hill (Los Gatos, CA) in 2014. He race-prepared the car but didn't not race it, before selling it to Jim Phillips (Pebble Beach, CA) in September 2021.

Driven by: Graeme Lawrence and John Nicholson. First race: Pukekohe (R1), 5 Nov 1966. Total of 21 recorded races.

Jim Phillips (USA) 2021
Brabham BT18
'AM168'
(1500cc twin cam)

New Zealander Roly Levis had a new Brabham BT18 with 1500cc Ford twin cam engine ready for the New Zealand Gold Star race at Renwick in mid-November 1966. He raced it though the 1966/67 season, before selling it to Tony Shaw for 1967/68. Levis continued to race the car in Shaw's ownership throughout that season. It was then sold to Allan McCully for the 1968/69 season. It reappeared in 1973 with Russ Noble, who raced it in Gold Star events in 1973/74. It was then acquired by Murray Baker, rebuilt with a Chevrolet V8 and renamed 'Elk'. It raced in this configuration in 1974/75. It was later owned by Tom Donavan and Richard Trewsdale. Some time before 1984, it was bought from Trewsdale by David Currie and Ken White, and was immaculately restored by Currie to Levis's specification. In in April 1986, it was sold to Charlie Conway, who used it in historic racing in New Zealand. Rodin Wootton took over the drive in 1992, until Conway sold the car to Bruce Wootton (Auckland, NZ) in 1997. Still owned by Bruce Wootton in November 2009. Raced by Rodin Wootton at the NZ Festival of Motor Racing in 2015.

Driven by: Roly Levis, Allan McCully, Russ Noble and Murray Baker. First race: Renwick (R2), 12 Nov 1966. Total of 25 recorded races.

Bruce Wootton (New Zealand) 2015

1600cc Brabham BT18s in 1967

In 1967, the five English BT18Bs stayed in the UK: F2-2-66 was retained by John Bridges for another season of libre, F2-5-66 moved from David Preston to Andrew Fletcher in Scotland, F2-8-66 moved from Mike Hawley to Peter Fenwick for hillclimbs, F2-12-66 was retained by Peter Lawson for hillclimbs, and F2-44-66 went from Clive Baker to Bryan Eccles for hillclimbs. Lee Han Seng retained F2-40-66(II) for a second season in Malaysia, but the two SCCA Formula B cars change hands during this year, Don Morin's F2-16-66 being sold some time after the Bridgehampton Pro race on 20 May, and F2-48-66 being acquired by Pierre Phillips some time before the Mont-Tremblant race on 17 September. The other part of the jigsaw is Stew McMillan's mystery car, which seems likely to have been F2-48-66, and which went to Alan Gottlieb for 1967, but disappeared after Bridgehampton in May.

One mystery BT18 appeared in Formula B in 1967, the car of John Hood, which he raced from Fernandina Beach in April 1967 right through to the Runoffs in late November. This cannot be Morin's or McMillan's, as it overlaps with both, and for good measure cannot have been F2-48-66 as Hood's car overlaps with Pierre Phillips driving F2-48-66. That forces us to conclude that there were three BT18s in Formula B in 1967, suggesting either Hood's car or F2-48-66 began life as a F3 car.

Chassis
History
Current owner
Brabham BT18
'the John Hood car'
(1600cc twin cam)
(1967-1968)
Dr John Hood's Formula B Brabham BT18 with Ford twin cam engine at Montgomery in 1967. Copyright David Seibert 2006. Used with permission.

Dr John Hood's Formula B Brabham BT18 with Ford twin cam engine at Montgomery in 1967. Copyright David Seibert 2006. Used with permission.

Dr John Hood Jr (Orlando, FL) raced a blue Brabham BT18 in Southeast Division SCCA Nationals in 1967, winning at Fernandina Beach, Savannah International Raceway, Courtland, Montgomery, Osceola Field and Palm Beach, as well as the Paul Whiteman Trophy Races at Daytona, an SCCA Regional. He qualified for the Runoffs but retired. Hood's results in 1968 are largely unknown, but he was mentioned in press previews of the races at Fernandina Beach in April and Daytona in August, when he was said to be driving a Brabham in 'Class B'. It is therefore reasonable to assume he kept the BT18 for the whole of that season. Hood acquired a Formula A Lola T140 for 1969, probably the ex-John Gunn car. The subsequent history of the Brabham is unknown.

Driven by: John Hood. First race: Fernandina Beach (R2), 15 Apr 1967. Total of 10 recorded races.

Unknown

1600cc Brabham BT18s in 1968

Of the five BT18Bs that had originally been sold to English customers, John Bridges' F2-2-66 was sold to Peter Parnell in Rhodesia, F2-5-66 remained with Andrew Fletcher in Scotland for libre, F2-8-66 was retained by Peter Fenwick for hillclimbs, Peter Lawson's F2-12-66 moved to Peter Blankstone for hillclimbs, and Bryan Eccles' F2-44-66 moved to Chris Cox for hillclimbs. Lee Han Seng again retained F2-40-66(II) to race in Malaysia.

Of the three BT18s in SCCA Formula B in 1967, Alan Gottlieb's ex-Stew McMillan car disappeared in May 1967, John Hood retained his car for Southeast Division Formula B, and F2-48-66 was acquired from Pierre Phillips by Ron Brown. So the ex-Gottlieb BT18 should be somewhere in FB in 1968, probably at SCCA National level, but it has not yet been identified. Maybe it had been converted to Formula C specification, in which case the Chuck Schroedel BT18 with Cosworth SCC engine is a possibility.

1600cc Brabham BT18s in 1969

Of the five BT18Bs that had originally been sold to English customers, Peter Parnell retained his ex-John Bridges F2-2-66 in Rhodesia, Andrew Fletcher's F2-5-66 disappeared after 1968, F2-8-66 was retained by Peter Fenwick, Peter Blankstone's ex-Peter Lawson F2-12-66 was sold to Spencer Elton, and Chris Cox's ex-Bryan Eccles F2-44-66 moved to Tony Charnell in Scotland. Lee Han Seng still had F2-40-66(II) in Malaysia but it was unused in 1969.

Of the three BT18s in SCCA Formula B in 1967 and 1968, Alan Gottlieb's ex-Stew McMillan car in the Northeast disappeared in May 1967, John Hood's Formula B car in Florida disappeared after 1968, and F2-48-66 had been sold by Ron Brown to Gerry Bruihl in the Northwest. The ex-Don Morin BT18 also reappears in a Fred Opert advert in 1969, with no indication of what it had been doing in 1967 and 1968. It so nearly fits as having been John Hood's car during that period, but not quite. We would therefore expect to find two or three unidentified BT18s running in SCCA Formula B in 1969 and indeed we find three: the cars of Peter Nye in Michigan, David Rines in Missouri and Evan Noyes also in Michigan.

Chassis
History
Current owner
Brabham BT18
'the Peter Nye car'
(Formula B)
(1969-1970)

Peter Nye (Ann Arbor, MI) bought a Brabham BT18 rolling chassis from Fred Opert for the 1969 season. Opert fitted a used Vegantune twin cam engine to it for Formula B, but the engine kept bending valves and Nye rarely finished a race. After returning the Vegantune to Opert, he bought an HRE engine from Gus Hutchinson for the 1970 season but did not have much more success. Nye does not recall whether he sold that car privately, but may have traded it to Joe Grimaldi's Race Shop for his next car, a Brabham BT29. Subsequent history unknown.

Driven by: Peter W Nye. First race: Marlboro Motor Speedway (R1), 13 Apr 1969. Total of 7 recorded races.

Unknown
Brabham BT18
'the Dave Rines car'
(Formula B)
(1969 only)

R. David Rines (St Louis, MO) raced a "F2 Brabham" in Formula B in 1969. Rines raced this car consistently in the 1969 Pro series until engine failure at Thompson in September, after which he entered his Brabham-Climax at Sebring. Rines' advert for the car in October 1969 described it as a BT18 with Vegantune engine. Rines had previously driven a Brabham BT7-Climax in Formula A and we're very keen to locate him to ask about this car.

Driven by: Dave Rines. First race: Continental Divide (R3), 8 Jun 1969. Total of 2 recorded races.

Unknown
Brabham BT18
'the Evan Noyes car'
(Formula B)
(1969 only)

Evan Noyes Jr drove a #75 Brabham BT18 in Central Division and Midwest Division SCCA Nationals in 1969. His home town was given as Indianapolis, IN during 1969, then Carmel, IN in early 1970, then Cedarville, Michigan later in 1970. His car was usually just called a Brabham, but the results sheet for the National at Blackhawk Farms in July identified it as a BT18, and several press releases also said it was a BT18. Noyes ran a Brabham BT29 as part of Fred Opert Racing in 1970, so the BT18 may have been traded to Opert. Subsequent history unknown.

Driven by: Evan Noyes. First race: Wisconsin State Fair Park (R4), 29 Jun 1969. Total of 5 recorded races.

Unknown
Brabham BT18
'the Tab Philip car'
(1600cc twin cam)
(1969-1970)

Tab Philip (Dundee, Scotland) appeared in a Brabham BT18 with twin cam engine at the Doune hillclimb in September 1969 and in a libre race at Croft the following March. The identity of this car is unknown but it is likely to have been F2-5-66 which was last seen with Andrew Fletcher in Scottish hillclimbs at the end of 1968. Another BT18 was in Scotland at that time., Tony Charnell's F2-44-66, but that car had a Buick engine installed both before and immediately after Philip's appearances so is very unlikely.

Driven by: Tab Philip. First race: Doune, 21 Sep 1969. Total of 3 recorded races.

Unknown

1600cc Brabham BT18s in 1970

We can still track four of the five BT18Bs that had originally been sold to English customers, Peter Parnell still had the ex-John Bridges F2-2-66 in Rhodesia, Andrew Fletcher's F2-5-66 had disappeared after 1968 but may have been with Tad Philp in 1969, F2-8-66 was still with Peter Fenwick, the ex-Peter Lawson F2-12-66 was sold to Rod Pickering, and the ex-Bryan Eccles F2-44-66 was acquired by Richard Thwaites for hillclimbing. Lee Han Seng still owned F2-40-66(II) in Malaysia. So only one of these cars is missing for 1970, the ex-Preston/Fletcher F2-5-66, and it is possible it was sold via Fred Opert to the US for Formula B.

During 1969, the number of BT18s in SCCA Formula B had grown to four: Gerry Bruihl had F2-48-66 in the Pacific Northwest and three unidentified BT18s popped up in the Midwest. For 1970, Bruihl's F2-48-66 moved to Russ Harness and Peter Nye retained his car in Michigan, but David Rines' car in Missouri and Evan Noyes' car in Michigan both disappear. As well as Harness and Nye, four other Formula B BT18s appear in 1970: with Jim Ellingson in Wyoming, Bob Schutt in Missouri, Thomas Abbott in Michigan and Dick Leppla in Ohio. Two of these are likely to be the Rines and Noyes cars, with geography suggesting that Schutt bought Rines' and Abbott bought Noyes', but the other two are likely to be either F3/FC BT18s that had been re-engined, or possibly the ex-Preston/Fletcher F2-5-66 if it had been imported from Scotland. An older BT16, BT14 or even BT10 is another possibility, but there are no obvious contenders for this; the known cars were either in Formula C specification or can be accounted for during 1970. More plausible perhaps is a re-engined ex-F3/FC BT15, and Leppla's car could have been the FC BT15 he raced in 1968.

Chassis
History
Current owner
Brabham BT18
'the Jim Ellingson car'
(Formula B)
(1970-1976)

Jim Ellingson (Laramie, WY/Greeley, CO) entered a blue/white/red Brabham BT18/BT21 in several Formula B races in 1970, usually entered as #95 or #25, but does not appear to have arrived for any of them. He did make an appearance in an SCCA National at Fort Sumner in October 1971, scoring four points in MidWest Division Formula B. In 1976, five years later, Ellingson advertised a "BT18-21" with BRM phase IV engine and Hewland Mk 5 gearbox that he said was "seldom raced". Nothing more known.

Driven by: Jim Ellingson. First race: Fort Sumner, 10 Oct 1971. Only one recorded race.

Unknown
Brabham BT18
'the Bob Schutt car'
(Formula B)
(1970-1971)

Bob Schutt (Kirkwood, Missouri) raced an orange #25 Brabham BT18 in Midwest Division Formula B in 1970 and 1971. Nothing more known.

Driven by: Bob Schutt. First race: Mid-America Raceway, 24 May 1970. Total of 8 recorded races.

Unknown
Brabham BT18
'the Thomas Abbott car'
(Formula B)
(1970-1971)

Thomas Abbott (Detroit, Michigan) raced a Formula B Brabham BT18 in an SCCA Regional at Waterford Hills in July 1970, winning his class. This is presumably the same Thomas Abbott who appeared in the Players FB race at Mosport Park in September 1971. He scored two points in Central Division Formula B in 1970 representing Detroit Region, but did not score in 1971. Nothing more known.

Driven by: Thomas Abbott. First race: Waterford Hills, 19 Jul 1970. Total of 2 recorded races.

Unknown
Brabham BT18
'the Dick Leppla car'
(Formula B)
(1970 only)

Dick Leppla (Gates Mills, Ohio) raced a red #90 Brabham BT18 in a Pro Formula B race at Mid-Ohio in September 1970 and in an SCCA Regional at Nelson Ledges a week later. Leppla had previously driven a "BT15" in Formula C in 1968 and had then entered a "BT16" for Dave Dours (Hudson, Ohio) in Formula B in late 1969, so it is possible that this "BT18" was his earlier car updated. Both Gates Milles and Hudson are on the outskirts of Cleveland. Nothing more known.

Driven by: Dick Leppla. First race: Mid-Ohio (R12), 27 Sep 1970. Total of 2 recorded races.

Unknown

1600cc Brabham BT18s from 1971 onwards

As BT18s fade further from the front line, we have probably gone as far as we usefully can tracking cars owner by owner. By this time there were as many as six cars purported to be Brabham BT18s running in SCCA Formula B. We will need more former owners and current owners to get in touch with more information to take this further.

Chassis
History
Current owner
Brabham BT18
'the Brownlee Cote car'
(Formula B)
(1972 only)

Brownlee Cote (Aspen, CO) drove a yellow #40 Brabham BT18/BT21 in Formula B in 1972. He was entered by Grand View Lodge, Brainerd, Minn., and used an HRE twin cam engine. Peter Nye (Ann Arbor, MI) had also used a HRE engine in 1970 in his BT18, so this may be the same car. Nothing more known.

Driven by: Brownlee Cote. First race: Road America, 18 Jun 1972. Total of 3 recorded races.

Unknown

Acknowledgements

Some people have been working on this topic for decades and I must thank them first for their help over all those years. David McKinney was researching Brabham BT18s in New Zealand in the 1980s, as were Brian Miller and Denis Lupton in Australia, and Brabham Registrar Ted Walker in England. Chris Townsend came to the subject in the mid-2000s, when his highly organised approach helped impose more structure on the research. Thanks also to Steve Wilkinson for his work on hillclimb and sprint Brabhams, to Southeast Asian racing expert Eli Solomon for his very detailed history of Lee Han Seng's car, to Dan Rear, Andrew Fellowes, Alan Brown, Philippe Demeyer, Simon Hadfield, Richard Page, Michael Oliver, Rupert Lloyd Thomas, John Fox and Tony Nicholson for their help on the topic, to Stew McMillen, Bill Gubelmann, Ron Brown and Russ Harness for information on their former cars, to the late David Gilpin Seibert for information and photographs on John Hood's car, to Stan Peterson and Jim Phillips for information on 'AM144', and to Joe Gordon for information about his F2-12-66.

If you can add to our understanding of these cars, or have photographs that we can use, please email Allen at allen@oldracingcars.com.

These histories last updated on .