This weekend at the Goodwood Revival, we celebrate 50 years since Jack Brabham won a world championship in a car that bore his name – a feat that has never been matched. The rolling tribute to this versatile motor racing figure will of course feature many Brabham models, but it will also include other significant cars from his driving career. Here we take a look at some of the key models in that 31-car line-up.
SEP 08th 2016
Six awesome cars to celebrate Jack Brabham
1959 Cooper-Climax T51
The Owen Maddock designed Cooper-Climax T51 raced in several configurations right up until 1963. By the time it made its world championship debut at Monza, it had already won the Glover Trophy at Goodwood and the Silverstone International Trophy. No fewer than 38 different drivers competed with the T51, but it was Jack Brabham who drove the car to a championship win in its debut year – making it the first rear engined grand prix car to take top honours.
1958 Aston Martin DBR1
There was more to Brabham’s career than single-seaters, and in 1959 he and Stirling Moss took on the challenge of the Nürburgring 1,000km. They shared an Aston Martin DBR1, a car for which victory at that more famous endurance, the Le Mans 24-hour, always proved elusive. But in the Eifel Mountains, Brabham and Moss were victorious. With a time of 7:23.33 they beat the second-place Ferrari by three minutes and gave the Maranello team its first defeat of the 1958 season.
1960 Cooper-Climax T53 ‘Lowline’
Brabham was instrumental in the development of the Cooper-Climax T53 ‘Lowline’, enlisting friend, racing car designer and fellow Australian to provide input (the two would later go on to found Motor Racing Developments, which would morph into the Brabham team). The T53 ‘Lowline’ was a force to be reckoned with, winning all but two races in the 1960 season and with Brabham taking the championship win.
1961 Cooper-Climax T54 ‘Kimberley Special’
When Jack Brabham tested the Cooper-Climax T54 at Indianapolis in 1960, nobody expected it to deliver the pace it did. On just the second lap out, he recorded 128mph, leading to chief steward Harlen Fengler black-flagging him for going too quickly. Once he was assured that Brabham had experience of driving at speed, he was allowed out again… and recorded 144.8mph. Kleenex boss Jim Kimberley sponsored the car’s return a year later to compete in the Indianapolis 500, where Brabham got the car up to third place before finishing ninth.
1970 Brabham-Ford BT33
The Cosworth DFV powered BT33 was the last car in which Brabham competed that bore his own name, as he retired from racing after that year’s Mexican Grand Prix. He and team-mate Rolf Stommelen achieved fourth place in the constructors’ championship, with Brabham contributing one win and three podium positions to that cause.
Photography by Tom Shaxson