THE nation’s capital is a popular autumn destination. And now there’s even more of a reason to visit Canberra with a special acquisition on show at the National Museum of Australia.
From a greengrocer’s son driving delivery trucks around his father’s yard to three-time Formula One world champion, Sir Jack Brabham (1926-2014) was an ordinary Australian who went on to become a giant of motor sport.
Now the Canberra museum has acquired a historic car built and driven by the great man.
The 1967 Repco-Brabham Tasman BT23A-1 prototype on display in the museum’s main hall was first raced by Brabham after his 1966 F1 World Championship win.
He raced the car in the separate 1967 Tasman series where he set the fastest lap at Wigram in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Its design led directly to the development of the BT24 driven by Denny Hulme of the Brabham team that won the 1967 F1 Championship.
Since then, the vehicle has been owned, raced and crashed by others.
It retains many original components including the chassis, steering shaft and centre body – and the signatures of Brabham and engineer Ron Tauranac on the body of the car.
The green colour scheme is as Brabham originally painted it.
National Museum director Mathew Trinca said the exhibit showcases Australia’s motor racing mastery and Brabham’s globally acclaimed innovation.
“Sir Jack’s three world championships were the result of both his engineering expertise and his driving skill,” Dr Trinca said. “He is an Australian legend who helped lay the course of Formula One racing as we know it.”
In 1961 Brabham and Tauranac established Motor Racing Developments Ltd in Surrey, which became one of the largest manufacturers of single-seat racing cars.
Brabham was as passionate about the engineering of his cars as he was about racing them, and in 1966 he won the Formula One Drivers’ Championship and Constructors’ Championship – the only driver in F1 history to win the championship in a car of his own construction.
The car will be displayed at the museum until April.
- National Museum of Australia, phone 1800-026-132, www.nma.gov.au