Brabham BT8 SC-2-64

The notes for the 1964-66 period below are very rough notes made from following the car's history in Autosport. The 1967-date history below that is based on research conducted in 1993/94 and may prove more readable.

1964 - Hugh Dibley (UK)

Built for 1964 season with 2.5 Climax.  Announced February 1964 (Autosport 21 Feb 1964) after SC-6-64, SC-4-64 and SC-5-64). To be driven for SMART by Dibley.

First race in the rain at Goodwood on 14 March but car had been completed the night before and finished last (Autosport 20 Mar 1964 pp374,381). Said by Autusport to be "respendant" in SMART's "with-it" green. Struggled again in Lavant Cup race at Goodwood on Easter Monday 30 March, retiring after four laps (AS 3/4/64 p452). This was the first race of Autosport's own championship.

Has three points after two races so must have been fourth over 2-litre car at Oulton on 11 April. Listed as second in 2000-3000cc class. (AS 17/4/64 pp 522,529) Still 3(1) in over 2-litre class after Aintree 18 Apr (AS 24/4/64 pp562, 574) but race report ("2-litre"?) says he spun and rejoined a lap down. Still 3(1) after Silverstone (AS 1/5/64 p599)

Then 5(2) after Silverstone International (AS 8/5/64 p642). Third in 2000-3000 class (AS 8/5/64 p655).

See Autosport Championship "final qualifying positions" (AS 18 Sep 1964 p438).

Dibley had a T70 in 1965.

1966 - Max Wilson (UK)

The first sighting of Wilson in the car in 1966 was at the BRSCC meeting at Castle Combe on 23 April (Autosport) where he was second to Clive Lacey's SC-4-64. He picked up a win two weeks later at the BRSCC Mallory Park meeting (Autosport) and won again at Brands Hatch on 29 May (Autosport). At this latter meeting, Autosport noted that it was the ex-Dibley car. Dibley confirmed this fact to the author in December 1993.

Last recorded Autosport advert February 1967.

The Vintage Motorsport article only mentions Dibley as an original owner of this car (omitting Wilson) and then confuses its history with that of SC-2-65. However, this confusion would only emerge much later. Back in 1991, at the time the article appeared, the only clue that there was a car unaccounted for was a letter that appeared in Vintage Motorsport three editions later (VM 92.3 - May/June 1992) from Grant Hill, of Alberta, Canada, who recalled his countryman Norbert Ball owning a BT8 as long ago as 1969. Subsequent information from Jim Ibey has taken the history of this car back to Malcolm Douglas in Canada in 1967 or 1968.

It should be pointed out that there is no certain link between the car sold by Wilson in 1967 and the car later owned by Douglas. However, modifications made to the nose of the car that can be seen in photographs of the car in Wilson's time appear to match those on Ball's car in photographs he took shortly after purchasing it. Also, we now have Tom Johnston's recollection that Douglas told him the car was ex-Dibley.

1968 - Malcolm Douglas (Montreal and later Edmonton, Canada)

It has not been possible to contact Douglas (yet!) and little is known of his ownership of this car. Jim Ibey's detailed research on North American Road Racing has uncovered two results, but it is not clear whether Douglas was driving the Brabham in the first of these.

Date Event Track Result Source
17 Sep 1967 Alitalia Quebec Regional Championships St Jovite 1st Class ? (not yet verified that this was actually
in a BT8)
Montreal Gazzette, September 18 1967
21 Jul 1968 Alitalia Quebec Regional Championships St Jovite 4th Class C Canada Track & Traffic, September 1968

According to Ibey's sources, Douglas was a transplanted Englishman who later moved out west, a true amateur who doesn't appear in any of the pro race results Ibey has collated.

Tom Johnston, a member of the Canadian Motorsport History Group, takes up the story:

I knew Malcolm Douglas quite well at one time when I lived, as did he, in Edmonton Alberta. I remember at the time he told me about Dibley connection. Malcolm had a brother who was also involved, they were both Brits. Douglas lives in Australia last I heard. (Tom Johnston, September 2003)

Douglas then advertised the car at the end of 1969, as described below.

1969 - Norbert Ball (Canada)

When talking to the author in April 1993, Norbert Ball recalled buying his car for about C$4000 from an advertisement in Autoweek late in 1969 and, sure enough, it was possible to find that advert - on page 25 of the 11 October 1969 edition:

          BRABHAM BT8 1600cc S/R Fresh
          Lotus Twincam, all steel dry sump.
          Hewland HD5. 8 new tires, spares, 
          trailer, best offer over $3700 by Nov.
          Separate.  M. Douglas, 10987 127st, Apt.
          35, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Lengthy efforts to find Mr Douglas in 1993 were unsuccessful. Ball's recollection, proven to be quite sharp by the Autoweek advert, was that Douglas had been an Englishman who had raced the BT8 in England before moving to the East Coast of the USA and then to Alberta.

According to later owners, Ball, then of Vancouver, Canada, raced the BT8 in 1969 but crashed it into a guard rail and tore off the left side. He sold it, unrepaired, to Don Armstrong in 1971. However, Peter Jack, who worked on the BT8 when Ball owned it, is quite sure that's not so:

Talking to Norbert the other day I confirmed what I thought was fact. ( I was beginning to think old age was setting in and my memory was getting dim! ) In fact Norbert sold the car intact to Donn Armstrong. Donn crashed the car in his first race with it in Edmonton. As far as I know the rest of your history is accurate. I had the pleasure of working on the car regularly during the time that Norbert had it. It was a much nicer car than the 23's it competed against. (Peter Jack, September 2003)

At Westwood in 1970.  Copyright Tom Johnston 2003.  Used with permission.

In 2004, Norbert colunteered this:

----- Original Message -----
From: Norbert Ball
To: Darryl Clarke
Sent: Friday, April 23, 2004 10:38 AM
Subject: RE: BT-8

Hi Darryl,

When I bought our Brabham it was powered by a1600 cc.Cosworth Twincam, which I used for one year. It was a great engine, I even ran it in the 7 hour enduro at Westwood- (came 2nd overall). That winter I sold the engine to Ray McGowan who put it in his Lotus Cortina and raced for a few years. He then sold the engine to Siggy Bayda who put it in his Lotus Elan and raced with it for a few more years. Siggy sold the Elan to an older fellow on Sicamous who just parked the Elan and never drove it (too much engine for the street). I bought that Elan around 1994 and got my Cosworth engine back, still running after all those years. However ,I digress. I bought a Vegantune 1600 cc.for the Brabham from Fred Opert Racing in the States , and it turned out to be a piece of junk when it arrived, made up of a bunch of miss-matched parts. I spent a whole season trying to sort it out and get it to run, with no luck.I sold the car in disgust to Donn Armstrong in the summer. He found that it had two different makes of cams that did not work at all well together. He purchased a new pair of Cosworth cam s and the car ran happily ever after. That was the engine in the car when you owned it.

At the time that I bought the car in Edmonton, the owner (who was English) had purchased it in England and had brought it with him when he came to Canada. I believe it had a 2 litre Coventry Climax engine in it when he bought it but he blew it up.

The only BT-8 that had a different power plant that I ever saw at Westwood was one from Seattle or Portland that had a 2 litre Repco V-8, went like stink, and even beat John Randall, I believe.

There you are, more meaningless babble form the desk of N.L.Ball !!!!!

1971 - Don Armstrong (Canada)

Don Armstrong, of Lethbridge, Alberta, was the next owner but the car remained apart throughout his ownership.

1975 - Darryl Clarke (Canada)

Clarke, also of British Columbia, only owned the car for a year (he remembered this as around 1975/76/77 when talking to the author in 1993 but clarified this to 1975-76 in e-mail correspondence in April 2000). He paid C$2000 for the car, a stripped Vegatune engine and a trailer full of bits.

He was never able to get the car together and sold it to his friend Mark Reid.

1976 - Mark Reid (Canada)

Reid remembered buying the car in 1977 but he was less sure than Clarke who remembered it as the summer of 1976. He raced the car 15 times and, to save a lot of hassle, he decided to have a chassis plate made for the car. The only numbering anywhere on the car was "SC-5-64" stamped on a chassis gusset. He copied the chassis plate from Al Allison's BT5, substituting the number from the gusset. This little plate, made purely to simplify getting the car to meetings inside the United States, would cause so much trouble later.

Allison was in the fibreglass business and built a copy of his BT5's bodywork. Reid bought a set for his car but never fitted it - continuing with the uglier 'ducktail' bodywork from the Armstrong/Clarke era.

The car had talken some time to assemble - Reid used the less-than-perfect Vegatune engine that came from Armstrong - and did not race until about 1978. He raced mainly at Westwood but, after a number of engine failures, the car was pensioned of in about 1981.

Before that, at the end of the 1980 season, Reid had loaned the car to his old friend Darryl Clarke who had broken huis Darren sports car and needed to race at Portland to protect his championship lead. The BT8 proved a bit of a shock to Clarke who found its 1600 cc Ford rocker arm engine little faster than the VW road car he had borrowed for the weekend.

Reid later sold the car to England via Bill Sainsbury.

1983 - Bill Sainsbury (Canada)

Sainsbury, again from British Columbia, only had the car for about two months but had known it since Ball's day. He sold it to the UK.

1984 - Rob Grant (UK)

The first UK owner was Rob Grant who, not surprisingly, thought the car was SC-5-64, as its chassis plate said it was.

1992 - Rick Hall (UK)

1993 - John Harper (UK)

This car owned by 'A Morrall' 1996, and advertised for sale 2000 by Alasdair Southall (possibly still owned by Morrall).

  • Where was SC-2-64 from February 1967 until October 1969?

  • Who did Max Wilson sell his car to?

  • Where is Malcolm Douglas today and who did he buy his car from?


I am very grateful to all the following for helping work out the history of this car.

  • Vintage Motorsport (November/December 1991 p48)

  • Darryl Clark (September 1993, April-May 2000)

  • Mark Reid (September 1993)

  • Hugh Dibley (December 1993)

  • Grant Hill (April 1994)

  • Don Armstrong (April 1994)

  • Norbert Ball (April 1994)

  • Many other owners (1993/94) - details to follow when notes located.

  • Jim Ibey (February 2002)

  • Tom Johnston (September 2003)

  • Peter Jack (September 2003)

This history last updated on 14 May, 2022 .