1966 Brabham-Repco BT20 F1 and 1968–69 Lotus-Cosworth Ford Type 49B F1

Tim Scott ©2014, courtesy of RM Auctions
Tim Scott ©2014, courtesy of RM Auctions

1966 Brabham-Repco BT20 F1

When the FIA announced in late 1963 that a 3-liter limit would be imposed on Formula One racing in 1966, a scramble ensued among competitors to develop suitable new engines. Jack Brabham turned to Repco, an Australian parts supplier. Development centered on Oldsmobile’s F-85 V8 block, which offered the advantage of a pre-existing and proven crankcase to create a 300-hp, 2,994-cc SOHC V8 engine.

Jack Brabham began the 1966 season driving the sole BT19 chassis, but within a matter of months, two BT20 cars were built. Chassis F1266, the second of these two cars, commenced racing at the French Grand Prix on July 3, 1966, achieving the 3rd place finish. Two weeks later, at the British Grand Prix, Hulme roared to a 2nd place finish and then 3rd at Monza on September 4. Another 2nd place at Oulton Park followed on September 17, with a 3rd place at the season-concluding Mexican Grand Prix on October 23, sealing Brabham’s 1966 Constructors’ Championship.

The 1967 season proved to be even more significant for F1266, as the car became a focal point of the Brabham team’s efforts. The car was driven exclusively by Hulme for the first half of the season, finishing 4th at Kyalami on January 2, 2nd at Oulton Park on April 15, and taking its first checkered flag on May 7 at the Monaco Grand Prix.

This car, Lot 179, sold for $1,502,701, including buyer’s premium, at RM’s Monaco auction on May 10, 2014.

1968–69 Lotus-Cosworth Ford Type 49B F1

On June 4, 1967, Formula One motor racing’s entire world was turned upside down by what transpired in the Dutch Grand Prix race at Zandvoort. The British Lotus team had arrived for that Grand Prix with two brand-spanking-new Formula One cars in their transporter. Star driver Graham Hill had immediately qualified his on pole position for its debut race. On race day he had led before his new Cosworth-Ford DFV engine failed, whereupon his teammate Jim Clark had taken over, set fastest lap, and ran away to an utterly dominant victory. The brand-new Lotus-Ford Type 49 had completely rewritten 3-Liter Formula One’s contemporary performance standards.

In effect, only nine Lotus-Ford 49s were built (and rebuilt again) under twelve chassis numbers, from 1967 to ’69. In three seasons, the Lotus-Ford 49 won 12 World Championship-qualifying Grand Prix races, while the Cosworth DFV V8 engine became the first Formula One unit ever to score 100 victories — and ended up with 155 to its credit. Only six of these transcendent Formula One cars survive today.

Since this now-legendary Lotus design then saw frontline service through no fewer than four Formula One seasons, 1967–70, the Type 49 also became one of the longest-lived of Grand Prix car designs.

This car, Lot 342, sold for $1,147,136, including buyer’s premium, at Bonhams’ Goodwood Auction on June 27, 2014.

 

Thor Thorson

Thor Thorson - SCM Contributing Editor

Thor grew up in northern Iowa. His father bought a red Jag XK 150 in the late 1950s, and that was all it took; he has been in love with sports cars , racing cars and the associated adrenaline rush ever since. He has vintage raced for more than 20 years, the bulk of them spent behind the wheel of a blue Elva 7. When he’s not racing, he is president of Vintage Racing Motors Inc., a collector-car dealer and vintage-racing support company based in Redmond, WA. His knowledge runs the full spectrum of vintage racing, and he has put that expertise to good use for SCM since 2003.

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