Skip to main content

1962 2½-Litre Brabham-Climax BT4 Tasman Formula Racing Single-Seater Chassis no. IC-2-62 Engine no. FPF A301203

Estimate: £100,000 - £120,000
Lot 520*
1962 2½-Litre Brabham-Climax BT4 Tasman Formula Racing Single-Seater
Chassis no. IC-2-62 Engine no. FPF A301203

1962 2½-Litre Brabham-Climax BT4 Tasman Formula Racing Single-Seater
Chassis no. IC-2-62
Engine no. FPF A301203


This splendidly presented Tasman Brabham-Climax is offered here as a potentially competitive and demonstrably very well-proven Historic racing single-seater. Driven by celebrated racing personality Frank Sytner this is the Tasman Brabham-Climax in which he won in both of the Historic racing world’s most prominent events, at Monaco and in the Goodwood Revival Meeting.

This car was restored by leading British specialist Simon Hadfield’s company in the winter of 2000-2001 and it has since been widely raced by its owner, winning virtually everywhere it has competed. Although fitted with a 2.7-litre Climax FPF engine upon its debut in 1963, it was quickly re-equipped with the then-new regulation 2½-litre power unit for the 1964 season and it is a Climax FPF of this capacity that is installed in the car today. This Brabham-Climax BT4 is described overall as being ready to run, crack tested and with its five-speed Colotti gearbox having last been rebuilt as recently as 2007.

Brabham-Climax BT 4 chassis serial ‘IC-2-62’ (the initials ‘IC’ indicating InterContinental Formula, the up-to-3-litre category of single-seater racing which applied in the UK through 1961 and which was then adopted in the New Zealand and Australia-based ‘Tasman’ racing series 1961-63) began life in the winter of 1962-63. Jack Brabham and his designer/business partner Ron Tauranac had only introduced their new marque’s first customer batch of Formula Junior cars at the beginning of the 1962 British and European racing season, and had followed-up with their prototype Climax V8-engined BT3 Formula 1 in time for the German Grand Prix that August. In that car Jack subsequently became the first Formula 1 driver ever to score World Championship points in a car bearing his own name, when he finished 4th in that year’s United States GP, at Watkins Glen.

Late in 1962 he won the Australian Grand Prix in 1962, and he drove that winning Brabham-Climax in the early New Zealand races of the Tasman series in January 1963. He then sold the car to a local entrant, since his improved new BT4 ‘IC-2-62’ had just been completed for him in England and was being shipped surface to Melbourne, Australia. Jack Brabham was due to take delivery in time for the Australian Grand Prix at Sydney’s Warwick Farm circuit in February. But the ship delivering it to Australia was delayed and when it reached Melbourne the Brabham BT4 could not be off-loaded because it was blocked in the hold by another British competition car – Donald Campbell’s Bluebird Land Speed Record contender!

With time running desperately short, the BT4 was finally offloaded and rushed the 600 miles to Sydney by air, arriving just in time for final practice. Jack Brabham and his chief mechanic Tim Wall then set-up and ‘de-bugged’ the new car while the driver parade was taking place (on a fleet of MGAs). In a dramatic motor race, from second-last place on the starting grid the great Australian Champion then tore through the field, fought a torrid duel with John Surtees’s Lola-Climax and took the lead in the closing stages as the seven-times motorcycle World Champion tired in the Sydney heat. Three of these new Brabham-Climax cars finished in the top five places.

Jack Brabham subsequently led the South Pacific Championship race at Longford, Tasmania, in his turquoise-and-gold liveried BT4 until it caught fire due to an oil leak onto the hot exhaust manifold. The car was then left with Repco in Melbourne for use in engine development testing through the following Antipodean winter months.

Early in 1964, it was then entrusted to Brabham’s protégé, the rugged New Zealander who would become World Champion Driver with Brabham’s Formula 1 team in 1967 – Denny Hulme. He drove the car in the new Tasman Championship competition, inaugurated that year, under regulations which limited engine capacity to 2.5 litres, to which the Climax FPF engines serviced and in some cases manufactured by Repco in Australia were easily reduced from the 2.7-litre ‘Indy’ size used commonly through 1962-63.

Driving the Australian GP-winning ‘IC-2-62’, Denny Hulme won the Levin Cup race on January 4, then finished 2nd in the New Zealand Grand Prix at Pukekohe, Auckland, the following weekend. He then placed 3rd in the Lady Wigram Trophy race at Christchurch, South Island, but retired from the final Kiwi qualifying round at Teretonga, Invercargill, on January 25. The car was then returned to Australia where Hulme finished 5th in both the Australian GP (run at Melbourne’s Sandown Park circuit that season) and the Warwick Farm ‘100’ in Sydney, before taking a troubled 9th place at Lakeside, Brisbane.

The car was then sold to revered Australian hero Lex Davison who ran it in the 1965 Tasman Championship. Unfortunately after two troubled races in the New Zealand GP and Warwick Farm ‘100’, ‘Davo’ then crashed fatally during practice at Melbourne’s Sandown Park circuit.

We understand that the entity was owned subsequently by Fred Wheelhouse and Lex Sternberg, until it was restored in Australia by Lex Davison’s contemporary, Austin Miller. Through all this time the car’s original five-speed Colotti gearbox – No 2 – had survived, together with its original (in some cases 1962-dated) suspension uprights, brakes, calipers etc. One of the damaged 4-cylinder Climax engines which arrived from Australia when the car was acquired by the present vendor in 2000 was stamped ‘Repco Manufacturing’, this being one of the ‘run-on’ series of Coventry Climax FPF 4-cylinder twin-cam racing engines produced in Australia by Repco to support ‘affordable’ Tasman Formula racing. Repco went on, of course, to provide the V8 Formula 1 engines with which Jack Brabham and Denny Hulme respectively won the Drivers’ World Championship titles of both 1966 and 1967.

In the present owner’s hands, the car has re-visited Australia and competed in the 2006 Tasman Revival at Eastern Creek. Whilst there, Lex Davison’s grandson (himself an accomplished driver) came to see the BT4, as did Jack Brabham (who signed the car) and Ron Taurenac. As the BT4 was also destined to compete at the Philip Island races the following March, Taurenac offered to supervise and arrange with a race garage the crack testing and re-plating of the entire suspension. The Weber carburettors were also rebuilt at that time. The vendor also has a CD of the original TV broadcast of the 1963 Australian GP (with a certain Mr Stirling Moss providing some commentary); invoices for all work he has undertaken; some log books; and some period photographs. Although the Brabham has FIA Vehicle Identity papers from Mr Sytner’s ownership, it is hoped that current HTP papers will be available by the time of sale. It has already been inspected by a recognised authority.

This is a beautifully presented Historic Tasman car which combines wonderfully evocative early-’60s good looks with the promise of exceptionally competitive racing, in the right hands, and given the right category in which to be raced. The BT4 will be subject to 5% import tax if bought by an EU resident, or is to remain in the EU.

Own a similar item?

Submit your item online for a free auction estimate.

How to sell

Looking for a similar item?

Our Collector Cars specialists can help you find a similar item at an auction or via a private sale.

Find your local specialist


Lot symbols

*Import low rate
VAT on imported items at a preferential rate of 5% on Hammer Price and the prevailing rate on Buyer's Premium.

Additional information