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HomeNewsClassic CarsDavid Brabham’s '90 Adelaide GP Brabham on the market

David Brabham’s ’90 Adelaide GP Brabham on the market

THE last Brabham Formula 1 car to be raced by a member of the Brabham family has been placed up for sale.

Although Sir Jack Brabham’s involvement in his eponymous team ended at the end of the 1970 season, the Brabham name continued winning races and world championship in F1 under the ownership of Bernie Ecclestone.

The team sat out the 1988 season before returning for 1989 under new ownership, scoring its last podium finish with a third placing for Stefano Modena at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Modena continued to race for the team into the 1990 season, where he was joined from the San Marino Grand Prix by none other than Sir Jack’s youngest son, David Brabham.

The reigning British F3 champion had a difficult rookie season with the chronically underfunded squad and failed to qualify for six races across 14 attempts; his best and only race finish was a 15th placing at the French GP.

The chassis that is for sale is BT59-5, the car which Brabham used at the final four Grand Prix of 1990 including the season-ending Australian Grand Prix in Adelaide.

Of those four, Brabham made the cut for all but the Spanish GP. The gearbox broke in the chassis’ maiden outing at the Portuguese GP, while the clutch failed early in the Japanese GP.

In Adelaide, Brabham put BT59-5 on the last row of the grid in 25th place to become the second Australian to qualify for his home grand prix since the race joined the F1 world championship. However, he spun the ill-handling car into retirement with just 18 of 81 laps complete.

The race was the last for Brabham with his father’s former team, which fielded Martin Brundle and Mark Blundell for the 1991 season with factory-supplied Yamaha V12 engines.

Chassis BT59-5 was modified to fit the Japanese engine and driven by Brundle at the United States and Brazilian Grand Prix, before the team’s new BT60 chassis came on-stream for the rest of the season.

Chassis 5 has been meticulously restored by US-based engineer Steven Costello, who consulted with BT59 designer Sergio Rinland to return it to its original Judd V8-engined configuration and ready it for track use.

Indeed, Brabham was reunited with BT59-5 at Brands Hatch during 2020 for a demonstration of historic F1 machinery.

“Every last component was inspected and either restored with a view to preserving the originality or replaced with a view to making it safer and easier to replace,” the sale listing reads.

“The carbon-fibre monocoque chassis, for example, was stripped and crack tested, before being mated to a bespoke modern fuel cell built to the same dimensions of the original design but with longer-lasting and safer materials. Similarly, there is also a new MOTEC ECU and dash readout, operating by more simple and modern electronics.

“Furthermore, Costello was able to acquire a wealth of Brabham Formula 1 archive material relating to the 1990 season and, more specifically, this very chassis. These include technical blueprints, period set-up sheets, starting instructions, invoices, travel itineraries and team correspondence.

“These invaluable documents are the proverbial cherry on the cake for this BT59 and a provide a fascinating snapshot of one of Formula 1’s most exciting periods.”

Click HERE to see the full listing for Brabham BT59-5 on Girardo & Co.

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