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Brabham BT26 and 26A History

Brabham BT 26 photo.
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Here are some facts about the Brabham BT26 and BT26A.

The BT26 was created for the 1968 F1 season. It was called a "Repco Brabham" and used the Repco 860 engine, which was horribly unreliable. Two chassis were built for Jack Brabham and Jochen Rindt. Chassis No. 1 (BT26-1) was written off in a crash and a new car (BT26-3) was built for the last 3 races of the season (the Canadian, US, and Mexican Grands Prix).

For 1969 Brabham (Motor Racing Developments LTD) adopted the Cosworth DFV. BT26-2 was sold to Frank Williams. He installed a DFV and ran the car in 1969 with Piers Courage the driver. Brabham meanwhile converted BT26-3 to DFV power and built a new car, BT26-4, from the ground up with a DFV. These cars were called "Brabham" and were designated BT26A to account for the Ford Cosworth DFV engines. Jacky Ickx won the German GP in BT26-4 and the Canadian GP in BT25-3. He finished a distant second in the World Championship to Jacky Stewart, but beat Stewart whenever the Brabham was healthy. Ickx also beat Stewart in the Oulton Park Gold Cup in BT26-3 that year.

After the 1969 season Brabham sold the two cars.

BT26-3 went to Douglas Champlin who ran it in the SCCA-sanctioned L&M Continental Championship against all the Chevy-powered F-5000 cars. Champlin's driver, Gus Hutchinson, won two races before retiring the car halfway through the series in favor of a Lola. Champlin sold the car to me in 1985 and I restored it to Canadian GP specs. I drove it to 6th-place finishes at the Watkins Glen F1 reunions in 1991 and 1992. I still have the car.

BT26-4 went ended up with Tom Wheatcroft and is now in the Donington Museum in England. It is the famous flying Brabham in a photo taken at the Flugplatz ("Flying Place") on the Nurburgring Nordschleife in 1969.

BT26-2 ended up in Australia and was wrecked in a "monumental crash" in 1989 by Dr. William G. Marshall, an oral surgeon who I just heard was recently deceased. Marshall corresponded with me in January 1990. He said the car was "almost a write-off, but we will be rebuilding it this year form scratch. The only thing undamaged in the accident was the engine, gear box, with all the uprights, wheels, suspension, etc. destroyed." He was looking for spares from me, but we never completed a transaction.

There is a BT26-5, consisting only of a new unused frame which Champlin bought with the car in 1969. I bought it from him along with the car. I still have it. See Doug Nye's Profiles pamphlet on Repco Brabhams.

Attached is a photo of my car which was taken on the lawn in front of McLaren Engines, Inc., in Livonia, Michigan, where the car was restored.

These facts were graciously submitted by Roger Meiners
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