Historic Race Car Restoration /

Historic Race Car Restoration Project: Repco Brabham BT14

Brabham BT14

The restoration of the Brabham BT14, chassis FL-8-65, is progressing well in our workshop!

We’ve been working on the car for just over 12 months now, and if all goes to plan we will see it completed within the next six to eight weeks.

The frame has been checked for twists and bends and sent to the paint shop to be painted. With the fame painted the four corners were fitted including all hydraulics.

The engine and gearbox are in their final stages of assembly and will be ready for installation in the next four to six weeks.

So that’s where we’re up to currently. Keep an eye on the website and we’ll keep you up to date with its progress!

Since this is our first post on the subject, however, let’s take a look back to fill in some of the gaps and talk about how we got to this point.

The Background

Almost three years ago I commissioned a motor racing enthusiast in the US to find 1960s or early 1970s race cars in Europe and the US. Over many months we discussed various cars, all of which were of no interest to me. One day I received an email advising me of a car found under a cover in a race car workshop in Atlanta, Georgia, which was thought to be a Brabham.

The car had been placed in the corner of the workshop and had not been moved for over 10 years.  It was pointed out that the car was not for sale but my contact knew the owner of the workshop and would do some investigating for me.

His investigations revealed that it was a Brabham BT14, FL-8-65, so he contacted the owner to discuss the possibility of buying it. Some weeks later we received word that the owner was interested, but wanted to know more about the prospective purchaser. Within weeks I had purchased the car and it was on its way to Australia.

FL-8-65’s Early History

On 19 April 1965 Robert Ashcroft Racing entered BT14 FL-8-65 in the Sunday Mirror Trophy Race at Goodwood.  The driver was little known John Cardwell and the entry list included driving greats such as Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart, Jim Clark, Dan Gurney, Jack Brabham, Bruce McLaren, Jocken Rindt, Mike Spence, Frank Gardner, Mike Hailwood and many more. The car finished a creditable 11th outright.

FL-8-65’s Late History

The car passed on to Derek Bennett (then owner of Chevron Cars), Jim Chanock and Davey Powell.

In 1986, Mike Freeman of the UK purchased the car and prepared it for the 1987 FIA European Historic Car Championship. He won the series with many podium finishes and followed up in 1988 with a class win.

In 1989 it was sold to Robert Hollander in the US who successfully campaigned it at Watkins Glen, Mid Ohio and Road Atlanta, and then sold it to a fellow American, Robert Hibdon. Robert ran the car at only four meetings (according to the log book) and then left it in the workshop for years to gather dust.

Included in the purchase were a few spares, a log book dating back to the mid ’80s and an FIA Historic Technical Passport. When the car arrived in Sydney I noted the fire extinguisher certification had expired in 1999 and the seat belts in 2000, which confirmed that the car had sat in the workshop for some time.

This car is eligible for Historic F1 as long as it conforms to the engine capacity of 1.495cc as it raced in 1965.

Trevor Simpson

Brabham BT14