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Brabham BT8 car-by-car histories

The  S.M.A.R.T. Brabham BT8 of Hugh Dibley on its trailer at Goodwood in May 1964, where Dibley won two races. Copyright Ben Cowdrey 2018. Used with permission.

The S.M.A.R.T. Brabham BT8 of Hugh Dibley on its trailer at Goodwood in May 1964, where Dibley won two races. Copyright Ben Cowdrey 2018. Used with permission.

Twelve Brabham BT8 sport racing cars were built from 1964 to 1966. Most were fitted with 2-litre Coventry Climax 4-cylinder engines, but one was fitted with a BRM V8 engine, and Jack Brabham's own car had a 2.7-litre Climax.

Brabham had built a BT5 sports car in 1963 and the two cars had been quite successful. The first (SC-1-63) went to Ian Walker for Frank Gardner and Paul Hawkins to drive and was bought for 1964 by Peter Sachs (see Vintage Motorsport 1/92, 2/92 and 3/92 for more on this car). In 2001, this car was bought from Buzz Dyer by Bob Lee. The second (SC-2-63) went to Ed Zeller and was wrecked in an accident at Monza. However, this car appears to have survived.

The BT8 was a development of the 1963 car and nine were built the first year, with another two being built in 1965 and a final car, for Willment, following in 1966. Another sports racing Brabham, the BT17, would follow, but flopped and MRD concentrated on single-seaters thereafter.

This research was conducted between 1993 and 1994, and was originally based in large part on an article in Vintage Motorsport (November/December 1991 p48). Thanks to Lincoln Small, David McKinney, Ted Walker, Marcus Pye, Robs Lamplough, Darryl Clarke, Barrie Smith, Fred Ashplant, Brendan Roberts, Eli Solomon, Dan Chapman and Mark Leonard of Grand Prix Classics for updates.

Chassis
History
Current owner
Brabham BT8
SC-1-64

Built for the 1964 season and exhibited at Earls Court Motor Show, fitted with a 2-litre Climax. Originally supplied to Bill Knight and raced by Arthur Owen in the Singapore Grand Prix meeting in March 1964, finishing second in the Sports and GT race. Also raced by Owen at Mont Ventoux in June and at Great Auclum in August. Then sold to Robs Lamplough (London) and raced in the North American Internationals later in 1964, still fitted with the 2-litre Climax. Sold as a rolling chassis to Judy Kondratieff (US) and fitted with a 289ci Ford V8 for Bart Martin to drive. The car was first raced in this form at Stockton 12-13 June 1965, then at Kent in June and Cotati in July, but Martin crashed the car at Candlestick Park on 8 August 1965, and was killed. The car was effectively destroyed.

Destroyed 1965
Brabham BT8
SC-1-64-R
Mark Simpson's ex-de Lespinay Brabham BT8 replica at an historic race at le Circuit Mont-Tremblant in 2004. Copyright Tom Johnston 2004. Used with permission.

Mark Simpson's ex-de Lespinay Brabham BT8 replica at an historic race at le Circuit Mont-Tremblant in 2004. Copyright Tom Johnston 2004. Used with permission.

A replica of SC-1-64 built by Philippe de Lespinay (Newport Beach, CA) between 1990 and 1991, using a new chassis fabricated by Jack Smith, who had recently built a new frame for SC-8-64, and using new fibreglass bodywork taken from moulds of SC-1-66, a project intertwined with the restorations of SC-7-64, SC-8-64 and SC-1-66. The rights to the identity of SC-1-64 were acquired from Judy Ganley, formerly Judy Kondratieff, together with some surviving components and the new car adopted this identity. It was raced by De Lespinay in historic events between 1995 and 2002.

In 2003 it was sold to Mark Simpson (Stratford, CT) who primarily used it in SVRA and HMSA events in North America, but also took it to Europe for events at Goodwood and Spa. It was offered at a Bonhams auction at Quail Lodge in August 2009, where it was described as "a revival of the original". It was advertised after that event by Simpson as "a period correct reconstruction". It was sold by Simpson some time between 2011 and 2013 to Don Blenderman (Houston, TX), who raced it at COTA in 2013 and 2014, after which it was stored. Still with Blenderman in January 2022.

Don Blenderman (USA) 2022
Brabham BT8
SC-2-64
Brabham BT8 SC-2-64 at Westwood in 1970.  Copyright Tom Johnston 2003.  Used with permission. Copyright Tom Johnston 2003. Used with permission.

Brabham BT8 SC-2-64 at Westwood in 1970. Copyright Tom Johnston 2003. Used with permission. Copyright Tom Johnston 2003. Used with permission.

Built for the 1964 season, and fitted with a 2-litre Climax. Entered by Stirling Moss Automobile Racing Team for Hugh Dibley to drive in British sports car events in 1964, then in the North American Internationals from September onwards. To Max Wilson (UK), and raced in UK events in 1966. Last recorded when advertised in Autosport in February 1967.


Malcolm Douglas (Edmonton, Canada) 1968 (and possibly 1967, as yet unproven): First seen on 21 Jul 1968 in a Quebec Regional Championship event at St. Jovite; advertised in Autoweek 26 Jul and 11 Oct 1969. To Norbert Ball (Canada) 1969 - Don Armstrong (Canada) 1971 - Darryl Clarke (Canada) 1975 - Mark Reid (Canada) 1976 - via Bill Sainsbury (Canada) 1983 to Rob Grant (UK) 1984 - Rick Hall (UK) 1992 - John Harper (UK) 1993. This car owned by 'A Morrall' 1996, and advertised for sale 2000 by Alasdair Southall (possibly still owned by Morrall). Owned by Peter Mullen in 2005 and being offered for sale by Gregor Fisken. Acquired by Peter Harburg (Brisbane, Queensland, Australia) shortly before the Goodwood Revival in 2006. Also raced by Harburg at Goodwood 2011.

Sold via William I'Anson Ltd to a US owner in 2013. In 2020, the car was exhibited at the Amelia Island Concours by Herb Wetanson (New York, NY). Still owned by Wetanson in May 2022.

Herb Wetanson (USA) 2022
Brabham BT8
SC-3-64
Roger Nathan in his Brabham BT8 with Oldsmobile V8 engine during the 1965 season. Copyright Ted Walker 2020. Used with permission.

Roger Nathan in his Brabham BT8 with Oldsmobile V8 engine during the 1965 season. Copyright Ted Walker 2020. Used with permission.

Built for the 1964 season, fitted with a 2-litre Climax, and sold to Roger Nathan, who raced it in British events through 1964. Retained for 1965 when it was fitted with a 4.5-litre Oldsmobile V8 engine. To Jeremy Morgan (aka Jeremy Delmar-Morgan) for the 1966 season, with Climax engines. To Barrie Smith (UK) 1967 (bought with two engines: a 2-litre FPF and a V8 Climax F1 engine stretched to 2 litres); sold to the US … imported from the UK by William Ashplant (brother of FB racer Fred) 1967 … Dave Fenton (US) - Kevin Smith (US).

To Ed Loveday (Avon, Mass.) 1970 or 1971, who blew the Climax V8 engine, so fitted a Hart twin-cam. Loveday also rebodied the car during his ownership. Sold to Jim Mullen 1978, who ran it with a Cosworth BDA. To J Richard Greer (Columbus, OH) in the early 1980s, and used to win SCCA CenDiv titles in 1983 and 1986. Said to be still with Greer in 1993, who was by then in his early 60s. Greer died in January 2016, and the history of the Brabham after 1993 remains unknown.

Unknown
Brabham BT8
SC-4-64

Built for the 1964 season, and fitted with a 2-litre Climax. Raced by Jackie Epstein (UK) in 1964 at the Targa Florio and at the Canadian GP in September. Then to Tommy Hitchcock for the North American Internationals in October 1964, for Nassau in December 1964, and for British events in 1965. To Clive Lacey for 1966, still using its Climax engine, and raced for several seasons. To David Capstick in 1969, and raced by Keith Grant in the Motoring News/Castrol Sports GT Championship series in 1970. Sold to Australian Bib Stillwell, who was then resident in the US, in 1984. To collector Art Valdez (Torrance, CA) 1993, and remained in his collection until sold to a UK consortium in 2017. The car was prepared by Hawker Racing (Milden, Suffolk) and run by David Brabham at the Chateau Impney Hill Climb in July 2019. It was then offered for sale at Bonhams' planned auction at Goodwood in March 2020.

United Kingdom 2020
Brabham BT8
SC-5-64
Brabham BT8 SC-5-64 in Mark Leonard's store at Grand Prix Classics in 2009. Copyright Mark Leonard 2022. Used with permission.

Brabham BT8 SC-5-64 in Mark Leonard's store at Grand Prix Classics in 2009. Copyright Mark Leonard 2022. Used with permission.

Built for the 1964 season, and fitted with a 1.9-litre BRM V8. Raced by Jack Brabham in the Goodwood Lavant Cup in March 1964, then shipped to Team Rosebud, the racing team started in 1962 by wealthy Texan Tom O'Connor (Victoria, TX). The car was raced by Trevor Taylor at Riverside and Laguna Seca in October, but O'Connor then lost interest in racing, and the team was disbanded. Several cars, including the Brabham, were later donated in about 1967 to the "tech shop" at the local Victoria Public School.


How the cars left the school is still a mystery, but the first name associated with the Brabham is "Boyd Grice". The Brabham was owned by Paul Scott (US) in the early 1970s, and then passed via Darryl Johnson 1973, Dee Johnson (Hoquiam, WA) 1974, who was still racing it in 1982, then to Steve Pike (Australia) 1989, then Steve Tillack (US) in 1993. To Duncan Dayton (US) 2000 and restored by Sid Hoole (Kimbolton, UK) in 2001. Dayton crashed the car at the Goodwood Revival meeting in 2004. Sold to Tony Podell (Rolling Hills, CA) in 2006, then Steve Hilton (Scottsdale, AZ) in 2007, and then Bobby Rahal (Chicago, IL) in 2009. It was then sold via Hall & Hall for Rahal, and was with Steve Tillack at some point. By 2017 was with Paul Alexander. Still with Paul Alexander in September 2021.

Paul Alexander (UK) 2021
Brabham BT8
SC-6-64
The Sid Taylor-liveried Brabham BT8 at the Sonoma Historics 5 June 2010. Copyright Greg Leong 2018. Used with permission.

The Sid Taylor-liveried Brabham BT8 at the Sonoma Historics 5 June 2010. Copyright Greg Leong 2018. Used with permission.

Built for the 1964 season, and fitted with a 2-litre Climax. Entered by David Buxton's Team Elite (Derby) for Bob Anderson and Denny Hulme in UK events in 1964. The car was painted in Team Elite's usual colours of white with three green stripes. Sold to Sid Taylor Racing for 1965, but raced again by Hulme in Internationals, and by Taylor himself at other events. Hulme won the Tourist Trophy at Oulton Park in May with a 2.2-litre Climax in this car, beating the much larger Lola T70s and McLaren M1As. To Geoff Breakell for 1966 and early 1967. To Anthony Ward later in 1967. Subsequent history unknown.


"Robert Harvey" … It reappeared in a car scrapyard belonging to Bill Broome (Columbia, SC), still with a Climax engine and Hewland gearbox, but the engine had a blown head gasket. It was bought in 1976 by Road & Track photographer Bill Warner (Jacksonville, FL), who drove the car in a Historic Sports Racing Series event at Watkins Glen in September 1978, one of the first historic events in the eastern US. Later to Mike Taradash (Palos Verdes Estates, CA) 1988 - Ben Murillo (Sausalito, CA) 1988 - Julio Palmaz (Napa, CA) 1998 or 1999. Then via Mark Leonard in 2004 to Edith Arrowsmith (Scottsdale, AZ) who raced it in historic events from 2007 to 2011. Sold to Hideaki Suzuki (Japan) in January 2017.

Hideaki Suzuki (Japan) 2017
Brabham BT8
SC-7-64
Brabham BT8 SC-7-64 when for sale by Mark Leonard's Grand Prix Classics in February 2016. Copyright Mark Leonard 2022. Used with permission.

Brabham BT8 SC-7-64 when for sale by Mark Leonard's Grand Prix Classics in February 2016. Copyright Mark Leonard 2022. Used with permission.

Built for the 1964 season, and fitted with a 2.75-litre Climax engine. A Brabham Racing Organisation entry for Jack Brabham at the Brands Hatch Guards Trophy in August 1964, then at Riverside in early October. After the Riverside race, David Morris purchased the car from Brabham for Cliff Hayworth to drive, but an arrangement was made for Brabham to drive it once more at Laguna Seca. There Brabham blew the engine, so the 2-litre engine from Robs Lamplough's SC-1-64 was fitted. Lamplough then drove the car at Candlestick Park and at Nassau, where he crashed it heavily into a palm tree. The car was rebuilt on a new chassis at the Brabham factory. Morris entered it for Porsche driver Alan Johnson at Laguna Seca in 1965, but he rolled it in practice.

It was then sold to Dr Tom Tobin. He and Patrick Ryan rebuilt the car and fitted a Traco Oldsmobile V8 engine. Later to Chuck McConnell - David Koehn (Milwaukee, WI) - Jim Herlinger by 1972, who fitted a Porsche engine - Hank Fallek - David Larson - Roland Davies - Robin DuPree by 1979, when it gained a LeGrand body. Then to Kerry Morse, and then Phillippe de Lespinay (Newport Beach, CA) by 1987. De Lespinay had the car completely restored by Joe Cavaglieri and Jack Smith, and drove it for the first time in 1991. The car was now red and wore #91, the number used by Jack Brabham at Laguna Seca in 1964. De Lespinay had sold it to Paul Shea (Newport Beach, CA) by 1996, and Shea entered it at Monterey Historics in 1996 and 1999. In 2017, Shea donated the car to the Petersen Automotive Museum (Los Angeles, CA). Still in the museum's collection in March 2019.

Petersen Automotive Museum (USA) 2019
Brabham BT8
SC-8-64
Tom Byrnes in his Brabham BT8. Copyright D.Farez 2018. Used with permission.

Tom Byrnes in his Brabham BT8. Copyright D.Farez 2018. Used with permission.

Built for the 1964 season, and fitted with a 2.7-litre Climax engine. Sold to Jack Hinkle (Wichita, KA) in late 1964, but no known races until an SCCA National at Tucson in March 1965. Raced by Hinkle in SCCA events in 1965 and 1966, but he flipped the car at Lake Afton on 21 August 1966, and although Hinkle escaped with face and chest injuries, the Brabham was very heavily damaged. The unrepaired car was sold to Bunny Ribbs (San Jose, CA) and it remained in his garage until some time in the 1980s when it was damaged in a fire. The bodywork was destroyed and the frame was significantly distorted, adding to existing crash damage and corrosion damage.

Ribbs sold all the remains to Don Orosco (Fresno, CA), who already owned SC-1-66. Orosco decided to restore SC-1-66 instead of SC-8-64, and the ex-Ribbs car was sold as a project to Milton E Janzen (Reedley, CA). A new frame was fabricated by Jack Smith in 1989, using the original frame as a template, and restoration was conducted by Joe Cavaglieri at Cavaglieri Restorations in Sherman Oaks, CA. New bodywork was also needed for this car and several others, and this was created in fibreglass from moulds taken from Orosco's SC-1-66. During this time the project was sold by Janzen to David B Smith (Bellevue, WA) and it was during his ownership that the restoration was completed and the car tested by John Morton at Willow Springs in early 1991. Later in 1991, Smith sold the car to Thomas F Byrnes (Oakland, CA). Byrnes ran it at the Monterey Historics in 1997, 1999, 2002 and 2010, and at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion in 2011 and 2016. Still owned by Byrnes in May 2022.

Tom Byrnes (USA) 2022
Brabham BT8
SC-9-64

Sold to the Prince Motor Company in Japan in 1964, and used as the basis for the Prince R380 sports racing cars. However, the BT8 chassis was copied to create the R380s, and where that original Brabham chassis is today remains unclear. It was reported in 1993 to still be in the hands of Prince Motor Company, which had been merged into Nissan in 1966. Its current location is unknown.

Unknown
Brabham BT8
SC-1-65
Lincoln Small's Brabham BT8 at the Goodwood Revival in 2006. Copyright Allen Brown 2006. Used with permission.

Lincoln Small's Brabham BT8 at the Goodwood Revival in 2006. Copyright Allen Brown 2006. Used with permission.

Built for the 1965 season. New to Harvey (John?) Timken (US) 1965 with 2-litre Climax for Lew Kerr to race in the SCCA's E Sports Racing category, winning the 1965 national championship. Kerr headed to Europe for a season of F3 in 1966, again sponsored by John Timken, and the use of the BT8 in 1966 is unknown. Said to have been driven by Skip Barber in 1966 and then to George Barber, who raced a BT8 in 1967, but Barber was also reported to have had the ex-Peter Revson BT8 (and also the ex-Peter Sachs BT5) so there may be some confusion here.

The ex-Lew Kerr Brabham is next seen with Bill 'Mac' Flannigan (Georgetown, CT), when used in SCCA Northeast Division BSR in 1971, qualifying for the Runoffs. Flannigan scored points in BSR again in 1972. Subsequent owners are reported as "Howard Terpak", Stan Vigil, and Steve Griswold before it was acquired by Robs Lamplough (UK) by 1986. Then to John Casado (US) 1987 - Steve Griswold (US) 1988 or 1989 - Mike Harrison (UK) 1994 … from Rick Hall to Lincoln Small (UK) 1999, and restored. Sold by Small via Mark Leonard to George Barber in December 2019 and installed in his Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum (Birmingham, AL). Still in the museum in May 2022.

Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum (UK) 2022
Brabham BT8
SC-2-65
Dan Chapman's Brabham BT8 SC-2-65 in June 2018. Copyright Dan Chapman 2018. Used with permission.

Dan Chapman's Brabham BT8 SC-2-65 in June 2018. Copyright Dan Chapman 2018. Used with permission.

Built for the 1965 season. To Bill Kay 1965 with 2-litre Coventry Climax engine for Peter Revson to drive, then to Skip Barber (Carlisle, MA) for the 1966 season. Dealer Fred Opert (Paramus, NJ) bought it at the end of 1966 and sold it on to Pete Helferich (Long Grove, IL) who raced it in the SCCA's Chicago Region in 1967. Then to Bill Mitchell (Cheshire, CT) who raced it in 1968, qualifying for and finishing second in the SCCA B Sports Racers (BSR) Runoffs. He also qualified for the BSR Runoffs in 1969 and 1970, and then ran in 1971 SCCA Nationals using an Alfa Romeo engine. The car then passed to Dave Headley (US) in 1975 or 1976 - Rob Lamplough (UK) 1978 - Oliver Harris (UK) - Roger Baites (UK) about 1984 - Mike Harrison (UK) 1987 - Bruce McCaw (US) 1993. Then unknown until sold by John Beasley at an H & H Auction (Olympia 7 May 2003) to Graham Horder: blew engine in testing at Silverstone 2003 and car stored - Brendan Roberts early 2005. Sold by him via Mark Leonard of Grand Prix Classics (La Jolla, CA) to Jeff Lewis (Newport Beach, CA) in early 2007, and run for him by Hall & Hall.

According to the KTR Racing website, Bob Gett (Boston, MA) purchased the car in the UK in 2010, and ran it in the 2011 Goodwood Revival before returning it to the US. In early 2018, the car was bought from Gett by Dan Chapman (San Antonio, TX), and raced at Road America in May 2018. Still with Chapman in March 2022.

Dan Chapman (USA) 2022
Brabham BT8
SC-1-66

Built for the 1966 season. Willment (UK) 1966 for Tony Dean, then sold to Peter Crossley (UK) in 1967. Crossley raced it in British sports car racing at first with its 2-litre Climax engine but later with GT bodywork as the Crossley Spyder and using a Cosworth FVA engine by 1970. Sold to hillclimber Richard Thwaites (Dewsbury, West Yorkshire) 1974, then to Don Orosco (Fresno, CA) in the mid-1980s who restored it. Moulds were taken from the original bodywork to provide new bodies for this car and for SC-7-64, SC-8-64 and the new SC-1-64-R. Sold to Robert McClenagan (Knoxville, TN) in October 1992 and raced by him in SVRA historic events from 1993 to 2007. From McClenagan by Charles A. Ferrell (Oklahoma City, OK) in 2013. Retained January 2016.

Charles A. Ferrell (USA) 2016

Brabhams in SCCA racing 1965-1973

In 1965, Jack Hinkle won D Modified (DM) in Midwest Division in SC-8-64, and Lew Kerr won E Modified (EM) in Northeast Division in SC-1-65, both with 36 points implying four straight wins. In 1966, Hinkle again won DM in Midwest, and Skip Barber was third in E Sports Racing (ESR) in Northeast Division. In 1967, Pete Helferich was second in ESR in Central Division in SC-2-65, and Ron Hunter was fourth in ESR in Midwest in a BT5. The SCCA categories changed for 1968, with E Sports Racing becoming B Sports Racing (BSR). Bill Mitchell dominated BSR in Northeast Division in SC-2-65, and John Sharrigan was also listed as having scored a single point in BSR in that division in a "Brabham", actually his "Brahma" clone. In 1969, Mitchell again won BSR in Northeast Division in SC-2-65, with Sharrigan fifth in the points table in the Brahma still being described as a Brabham. Mitchell won his third successive title in SC-2-65 in 1970, but was the only Brabham to score points across the US. In 1971 Bill 'Mac' Flannigan finished third in Northeast Division in SC-1-65, one place ahead of Mitchell in SC-2-65. Flanigan was fourth in Northeast in 1972, with Ed Loveday two places further down the table in SC-3-64. Loveday scored points again in Northeast BSR in 1973, the last appearance in the points tables by a sports racing Brabham.

Please contact Allen Brown (allen@oldracingcars.com) if you can add anything to our understanding of these cars.

These histories last updated on .