Leg­end ofBT19 liveson

A scale-model car pays trib­ute to a rac­ing great, writes Neil McDon­ald

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Onroad -

LIV­ING leg­end Sir Jack Brab­ham isn’t done yet. His eye­sight isn’t the best and his hear­ing is shot, but the mo­tor rac­ing great has been get­ting writer’s cramp re­cently.

The three-times world grand prix cham­pion launched a signed scale model of his fa­mous Repco Brab­ham BT19 rac­ing car last week.

The BT19 is the cor­ner­stone of model car maker Top Gear’s new Leg­ends se­ries. Brab­ham is sign­ing 1000 ‘‘sig­na­ture edi­tion’’ mod­els.

Brab­ham de­signed and built the BT19 with the help of Repco, win­ning the 1966 world driver’s cham­pi­onship in the car. The BT19 also helped Brab­ham score points in his Con­struc­tor’s Cham­pi­onship wins in 1966 and 1967.

The Top Gear BT19 is No. 1 of the se­ries, recog­nis­ing the out­stand­ing achieve­ments of le­gendary Aus­tralians in their re­spec­tive fields.

Top Gear plans model trib­utes for five-times world mo­tor­cy­cle cham­pion Mick Doohan and avi­a­tion pi­o­neer Sir Charles Kings­ford Smith.

Brab­ham, 84, took time out last week from fol­low­ing his grand­son Matthew’s bur­geon­ing For­mula Ford ca­reer to launch the Leg­end se­ries at the Na­tional Sports Mu­seum in Mel­bourne.

He says the model BT19 is faith­ful to the orig­i­nal, right down to the paint.

‘‘It’s fan­tas­tic. It’s a beau­ti­ful lit­tle model. It’s very much like the ac­tual car,’’ he says.

Brab­ham reck­ons the BT19 was the last of the 1960s grand prix cars that ac­tu­ally look stylish.

‘‘This BT19 was be­fore the wings,’’ he says. ‘‘Un­for­tu­nately, when the wings came good­look­ing mo­tor cars didn’t hap­pen any more.’’

The BT19 re­mains one of his favourite cars, partly be­cause of the in­volve­ment of Repco in help­ing de­velop the V8 race en­gine for the car.

‘‘They came up with an en­gine that went out and won the world cham­pi­onship straight off,’’ Brab­ham says. ‘‘Re­ally, it was mostly a very nice en­gine to drive. It was torquey. For driv­ing around short cir­cuits, it was ideal.

‘‘There were cars around with more horse­power, but we were still able to beat them.’’

Brab­ham is proud of his achieve­ments but says the mo­tor rac­ing dy­nasty he has spawned is his biggest achieve­ment.

The Brab­ham rac­ing genes have passed down to his sons Geoff, Gary and David and now grand­son, Matthew, is tak­ing the fam­ily name to For­mula Ford.

Sir Jack’s back: Brab­ham with

the Repco Brab­ham BT19

and (left) the mounted scale

model of the fa­mous F1 car.

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