Brabham BT24 Streamliner…

Posted: January 22, 2022 in F1
Tags: , , , , ,

Jack Brabham aboard his Brabham BT24/1 Repco ‘Streamliner’ in the Monza pitlane during the September 10, 1967 weekend.

Lanky Dan Gurney is at right keeping an eye on his old-boss, while Jo Ramirez, in the white pants/dark top, and the All American Racers crew, tend to Dan’s erotic Eagle Mk1 Weslake #103.

Brabham, Ron Tauranac and Repco-Brabham Engines nicked the 1966 F1 World Drivers and Constructors titles from under the noses of those who were a smidge quicker, but not as well organised or reliable as the Brabham and Hulme driven Brabham BT19/20 Repco 620 V8s.

They did it again in 1967, not that it was a lucky win. Their 330hp Brabham BT24 740 Repco V8 was all new; chassis, engine and major suspension components. They got the cars running reliably el-pronto, aided and abetted by blooding the new exhaust-between-the-Vee cylinder heads during the Tasman Cup; both drivers used 2.5-litre RBE640 V8s throughout New Zealand and Australia.

Lotus ran them close of course. Colin Chapman’s Lotus 49 chassis – in truth little different to his 1966 Lotus 43 – was powered by the new 400bhp Ford Cosworth 3-litre V8, rather than the heavy, unreliable 3-litre BRM H16 engine fitted to the 43.

Driven by a couple of champs in Jim Clark and Graham Hill, they were mighty fine, quick cars, but not in 1967, reliable enough ones. That would come soon enough, of course…

Brabham, all enveloping rear body section clear (MotorSport)
Ron Tauranac, Keith Duckworth and Denny Hulme swap notes. “Have you really only got 330bhp Ron?” (MotorSport)

As Lotus and Cosworth Engineering addressed engine reliability, Brabham and Tauranac tried to squeeze more speed from Ron’s small, light BT24.

There was only so much Repco Brabham Engines could do with the SOHC 740 Series V8, they were busy just keeping up with routine rebuilds for the two BRO cars. As the year progressed the Maidstone, Melbourne crew explored the 850 radial-valve V8 as their ’68 F1 engine, and then, having spent way too much time flogging that dead-horse, on the definitive, but way-too-late 860 DOHC, four-valve V8. Click here for a piece on the RBE740; ‘RB740’ Repco’s 1967 F1 Championship Winning V8… | primotipo…

The aerodynamics of the BT24 was another thing entirely of course. That was within Ron and Jack’s control. If MRD could just make the car a little bit more slippery through the air, maybe an extra 500revs or so would make the difference between race wins, and not.

By the time the team got to Monza on September 7, the cocktail of goodies tried on Jack’s BT24 included the all-enveloping windscreen used on an F2 BT23 earlier in the year, all-enveloping bodywork extending right back beyond the endplate of the Hewland DG300 transaxle, and spoilers which were tried either side of the car’s nose, and alongside the engine. Remember, the Chaparral inspired explosion of wings in F1 occurred in 1968.

Rear spoiler, Monza (MotorSport)
Note the winglets or spoilers, Jack’s nosecone at Spa in mid-June 1967 (MotorSport)

Jim Clark started from pole, with 1:28.5 secs, ahead of Jack on 1:28.8, then Bruce McLaren, Chris Amon and Dan Gurney in BRM, Ferrari and Weslake V12 engined cars, then Denny in the other BT24 on 1:29.46.

Jack could have won of course, but the equally foxey John Surtees out-fumbled him in the final corners, bagging a popular win for the Honda RA300 V12. Denny retired with over-heating so the championship – ultimately decided in his favour – was still alive, with races in the US and Mexico to come.

The office of BT24-1, Jack’s car. The Varley battery is in the aluminium box beneath the driver’s knees (MotorSport)

One of my favourite Grand Prix cars, the BT24, was just enough of everything, the sheer economy of the car always strikes me. See here for my last rave in relation thereto; Give Us a Cuddle Sweetie… | primotipo…

It was the first time Ron had designed an all-new F1 chassis since BT3 way back in 1962. Beautiful details abound, not least the new cast-magnesium front uprights first fitted to Jack’s BT23A Repco, his ‘67 2.5-litre Tasman Cup mount, in late 1966, the Alford & Alder/Triumph Herald uprights used hitherto were finally cast aside.

Hulme’s BT24/2 during the British GP weekend (MotorSport)
Feel the noise…Monza pit action. Brabham and Denny behind him in the distance. The queue by the Armco is headed by Mike Spence’ BRM P83 H16, Chris Amon’s Ferrari 312, perhaps then one of the Cooper Maseratis (MotorSport)

BT24/1 debuted at the same race meeting, Zandvoort 1967, as the Lotus 49 Ford DFV, albeit Jack raced BT19, his ’66 championship winning chassis. Jim Clark won famously on the debut of an engine which set the standard for a decade and a half, more if you include its many derivatives.

Denny’s BT24/2 was ready at Le Mans, when Brabham and Hulme delivered the old one-two, with The Boss in front. Clark won at Silverstone, before another BT24 one-two with Denny ahead of Jack. At Mosport Jack won from Denny. Hulme won at Monaco in May (his first championship GP win), so led the championship by nine points from Jack, with Jim further back. Clark dominated the balance of the season, winning at Watkins Glen and Mexico City, but Denny’s two third placings won him the drivers title and

Those with F2 knowledge will recall that Frank Costin’s Protos Ford FVA raced with a cockpit canopy akin to Brabham’s in 1967. BT24/1 here, again at Monza. Whatever the straight-line benefits, Jack simply couldn’t place the car as he wanted given the difficulty of seeing thru the canopy (MotorSport)
If I knew how to use Photoshop I’d get rid of ‘boots’, but I don’t…BT24/1, ain’t-she-sweet (MotorSport)

BRO sold the cars to South Africans, Basil van Rooyen (BT24/1) and Sam Tingle (BT24/2) after the end of the season. When it became clear that Jochen Rindt’s 1968 BT26 was running late, he raced BT24/3 – which first appeared at in practice, at Monza in September 1967, carrying #16T – in some of the early races of 1968. He raced BT24/2 at Kyalami (Q4 and third), and BT24/3 at Jarama (Q9 and DNF oil pressure) and Monaco (Q5 and DNF accident), before Dan Gurney had a steer at Zandvoort (Q12 and DNF throttle).

The final works-gallop of a BT24 was Jochen’s use of BT24/3 during practice over the British GP weekend at Brands Hatch in July. Before you pedants have a crack at me, for the sake of completion, German ace, Kurt Ahrens, raced the BRO tended, Caltex Racing Team entered, BT24/3 to Q17 and 12th place at the Nurburgring in 1968. Brabham BT24 chassis anoraks should click here; Brabham BT24 car-by-car histories | OldRacingCars.com

Threatening in an elegant kinda way. You can see what is being sought, ignoring the inherent streamlining difficulties of fully outboard suspension front and rear. Ron went to front inboard springs and rockers with the ’68 Indy BT25 Repco and ’70 F1 BT33 Ford (MotorSport)

Credits…

Magnificent MotorSport Images, Getty Images, Allen Brown’s oldracingcars.com

Tailpiece…

(MotorSport)

Easy-peasy, two hands are for schmucks!

Denis Clive Hulme shows us how it’s done at the Parabolica; Denny’s elegant, sublime prowess for all to see. BT24/2 Monza 1967, ‘standard’ bodywork.

Finito…

Comments
  1. David EM Thompson says:

    Lovely. Small: 1100 lbs, 94″ wheelbase. Not the tractor-trailer-like cars now.

  2. David Wilson says:

    I remember the overhead photo of Denny Hulme from Autocourse that I got for Xmas that year when I was 13. Never forgotten .

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