Having spent the night before the Monaco GP putting his new 2-litre Coventry Climax ‘four’ – its build underwritten by privateer Rob Walker, based a dozen miles south, down the A24 – into the team’s second chassis having crashed his own in practice, Brabham was on the verge of the first points for a car with its engine behind the driver when he ran out of fuel; the pump’s mounting had broken.
That he had already stopped once to refuel – this Formula 2-plus Cooper was a bit wee for a 3-hour GP – and yet almost finished third was indicative of the layout’s potential and, it must be said, the race’s attrition.
Two months later Roy Salvadori, his car showroom situated just around the corner from Cooper, scored that groundbreaking point – two in fact – on the occasion at Aintree of Britain’s maiden win at the highest level.
The victorious Vanwall shared that momentous July day by Stirling Moss and Brooks – and built a dozen miles north of Cooper, just off the North Circular – was no sinecure, as Salvadori had discovered when acting as a stand-in at Rouen and Reims. But it was sufficiently fast and reliable to break the mould – unlike the BRM that Salvadori had failed to qualify at Monaco.
The inertia that had so infuriated industrialist Anthony Vandervell that he had left its board of directors to set up Vanwall was still infecting British Racing Motors. Based at Bourne in Lincolnshire, approximately 130 miles up the Great North Road and, therefore, out of the strengthening, self-perpetuating London ‘loop’, Britain’s ‘Ferrari’ had endured a terrible 1956. And 1957 was not much better.