Legend ofBT19 liveson
A scale-model car pays tribute to a racing great, writes Neil McDonald
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.