Lot 324

Monterey 2022

1966 Brabham BT8


$184,800 USD | Sold

United States | Monterey, California



Chassis No.
Bill of Sale Only
  • The last of just 12 BT8 chassis constructed between 1964 and 1966
  • Delivered new to former Grand Prix entrant and JW Automotive co-owner John Willment
  • Raced 1966–1970 at venues including Goodwood, Silverstone, Vila Real, Jarama, and the Nürburgring
  • Restored in the 1980s in 2.5-liter form by prominent West Coast Vintage racer Don Orosco; ongoing maintenance includes an engine rebuild by Savannah Race Engineering in 2017
  • Ideally suited to vintage racing events; accompanied by FIA Heritage Certificate, SVRA logbooks, invoices, and a selection of spare parts and body molds

Featuring a stiff spaceframe chassis penned by Brabham co-founder Ron Tauranac—the “T” in “BT”—the BT5 of 1963 was effectively a widened, enclosed-wheel Formula Junior; it proved highly competitive, particularly in the hands of Paul Hawkins and Frank Gardner. Steered by its “evolution, not revolution” mantra, Brabham developed the BT5 into the BT8 for 1964. The resulting 12 chassis were, in all but one case, powered by either 2- or 2.7-liter versions of the Coventry Climax FPF engine.

The last constructed, this chassis was delivered in 2-liter form to London-based John Willment, whose eponymous team had previously raced Brabhams in Formula One events in 1964 and 1965. Willment’s driver, subsequent Can-Am race-winner Tony Dean, competed extensively in it throughout 1966; noteworthy results were 2nd behind Mike Spence’s Parnell-BRM in the Lavant Cup at Goodwood, 2nd to Denny Hulme’s Lola T70 in the RAC Tourist Trophy at Oulton Park, and 3rd in the Wills Trophy at Croft behind the T70s of winner John Surtees and Hugh Dibley.

In 1967, ownership of the car passed to Peter Crossley, who raced it for four seasons; 2nd in the Guards Trophy at Brands Hatch was a 1967 highlight, while 1969 yielded 12th in the Martini 300 at Silverstone and 10th at Jyllandsringen in Denmark. Other races included the Vila Real 6 Hours, the Gran Premio Mugello, the Nurburgring 500 Kilometers, and the Jarama 6 Hours—the last-named resulting in a valiant 10th place in the car’s final contemporary outing.

After purchase by British Chevron exponent Richard Thwaites in 1974, SC-1-66 crossed the Atlantic into the collection of prominent vintage racer Don Orosco in 1984, who restored the car. It passed to Robert McClenagan of Knoxville, Tennessee in 1992, who refinished it in its delightful Brabham team livery of green and gold; as logbooks on file demonstrate, he regularly exercised it in SVRA events until 2007.

Acquired by the consignor in 2013, the BT8 has been maintained in readiness for track use. Its 2.5-liter FPF motor was notably rebuilt by Savanna Race Engineering in 2017 using a UK-sourced engine block. Dynamometer-tested at a reported 232 horsepower, it has since seen only break-in use. It is paired with a correct-type Hewland HD5 gearbox; this was serviced in 2015, along with the Girling disc brakes tucked behind the car’s magnesium wheels.

Reflecting its historical significance, and as inspiration for its next owner/racer, this BT8 has been autographed by Sir Jack Brabham, in-period driver Tony Dean, and designer Ron Tauranac. Eligible for a wide range of historic events, it is accompanied by an FIA Heritage Certificate issued in 2008, as well as SVRA logbooks, invoices for work performed under current ownership, a selection of spare parts including a set of magnesium wheels, and molds for its fiberglass body panels (these parts and molds must be shipped to the buyer post-sale from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma at the buyer’s expense).