National Museum of Australia acquires historic Jack Brabham car

The National Museum of Australia has acquired an historic car constructed and driven by Australian racing legend and three-time Formula One world champion Sir Jack Brabham.

The son of a greengrocer from Hurstville where he drove delivery trucks around the yard, Sir Jack was an ordinary Australian who helped develop Formula One as we know it today.

The 1967 Repco-Brabham Tasman BT23A-1 prototype now on display in the museum’s main hall, was first raced by Sir Jack, after his 1966 F1 World Championship win.

Sir Jack raced the car in the separate 1967 Tasman series where he set the fastest lap at Wigram (a Christchurch suburb). The1967 Tasman Series was a motor racing competition contested over six races in New Zealand and Australia, between January 7 and March 6, 1967.

The design of the BT23A-1 - on display at the NMA - lead directly to the development of the BT24 which was driven by Denny Hulme of the Brabham team, and won the 1967 F1 Championship.

Since then, the car has been owned, raced and crashed by others. It retains many original components including the chassis, steering shaft, centre body - and the signatures of Tauranac and Sir Jack on the body of the car.

The green colour scheme is as Sir Jack originally painted it when it was built.

National Museum director, Dr Mathew Trinca, said he was excited to acquire such an iconic and rare car, which showcases Australia’s motor racing mastery and Sir Jack’s globally acclaimed innovation.

“Sir Jack’s three world championships were the result of both his engineering expertise and his driving skill - he is an Australian legend who helped lay the course of Formula One racing as we know it,” Dr Trinca said.

Suzanne Bravery, head of the NMA’s Australian Society and History unit, encouraged visitors to see the car over the next few months: “We are incredibly proud to add this car to the NMA’s collection for all Australians to enjoy.”

In 1961 Sir Jack and engineer Ron Tauranac established Motor Racing Developments Ltd in Surrey, which became one of the largest manufacturers of single seat racing cars.

Sir Jack was as passionate about the engineering of his cars as he was about racing them and in 1966 he won both the Formula One Drivers’ championship and Constructors’ championships – the only driver in Formula One history to win the championship in a car of his own construction.

The 1967 Repco-Brabham Tasman BT23A-1 joins other iconic vehicles in the NMA’s collection, which includes the 1946 Holden Prototype Car No. 1, the definitive model for millions of Holden cars and Sir Robert Menzies’ 1963 S3 Bentley.

Sir Jack’s 1967 Repco-Brabham Tasman BT23A-1 will be on display at the NMA until April 2018.

  • Details: nma.gov.au