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1955 Cooper Bristol T40: Jack Brabham’s First Formula 1 Car Up For Sale

Submitted by on February 1, 2019

1955 Cooper Bristol T40

Images via the Ascott Collection

The Ascott Collection are offering Jack Brabham’s first Formula 1 car, a 1955 Cooper Bristol T40, for sale.

In 1955 Jack Brabham was in the United Kingdom campaigning a Cooper Alta. He found little success in that car, but began to form a relationship with Charlie and John Cooper that led to him working out of the Cooper factory on his own project to develop a car to drive in Formula One. That car, based off a T39 chassis, would eventually turn into the Cooper Bristol T40 you see here.

1955 Cooper Bristol T40

Both Jack and the Cooper made their Formula One debut in the 1955 British Grand Prix. They were amongst illustrious company, with Stirling Moss winning the race, his first Formula One victory, ahead of fellow Mercedes driver Juan Manuel Fangio. Brabham and the Cooper Bristol’s race would be somewhat less successful. They broke a clutch on the morning of the race and qualified in 25th a long way off the pace. After running in last place for most of their 30 laps, they retired with engine troubles.

“The specialized press spoke of a battle of champions, and it was certainly an important step in my career. Without that race, I would definitely have gone back to Australia” Jack Brabham, ‘When the Flag Drops’

Following their Formula 1 debut, a monumental duel with Stirling Moss in the Redex Trophy Race of the 1955 Snetterton International Meeting firmly established their potential, Brabham finishing fourth just behind the Briton. Brabham would then ship the car to Australia, competing both at home and in New Zealand and driving it to its first victory in the 1955 Australian Grand Prix at Port Wakefield circuit. Following that, Brabham sold the car to fund his family’s move to the UK in 1956.

1955 Cooper Bristol T40

Reg Smith purchased the car from Brabham, and it remained in Australia changing hands several times. Alan Robertson took ownership of it in 1964, converting it for sports prototype racing before Frank Cengia bought it in 1974 and reverted it back to its original specifications.

1989 saw the car return to England when it moved into Peter Hannenen’s care. It would pass through a handful more owners’ hands until it was bought by Wulf Goetze, who drove it at events like the Spa Summer Classic, the Grand Prix Historique of Monaco and the Goodwood Revival. Its current owner has continued that trend, returning to the Grand Prix Historique of Monaco and entering it into the Trofeo Nastro series.

The car has just been refreshed, and will be sold with current Historic Technical Passport. Beautiful and featuring a significant history with one of the sport’s greats, this is a significant and desirable piece of motor sport history. Head to the Ascott Collection’s official website here for the full details.

Images via the Ascott Collection

1955 Cooper Bristol T40

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