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1972 500-John Martin's Brabham

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  • 1972 500-John Martin's Brabham

    Listening to the '72 race on the IMS Network, late in the race it was said that rookie John Martin might need an extra pit stop because his "older Brabham" had a smallish 55gal fuel capacity. I had to look the car up and it's a beauty! Everything I can find on it says simply that it was a chassis several years old and purchased from Sir Jack himself.

    Questions--was it an ex-Grand Prix car? If so, was it the last car from that background to make the race? The added wings look first-class, I assume Martin and his crew fabricated and installed them. Does the car still exist? If it does, I hope it is still in its final configuration. It would be stunning and a great tribute to a real-deal owner/mechanic/racer.
    "Thank God for the fortune to be here, to be an American."--Alan Kulwicki, 11/15/92

  • #2
    Martin's car started out as a 1968 BT25. There were two that year one for Jochen Rindt and one for Jack Brabham. Brabham only practiced in his and I don't think he ever intended to qualify it. I believe the Brabham car is the one that Martin ended up with. The BT25 was a tube frame car and in 1968 and 1969 used a normally aspirated 4.2L Repco engine. The Repco would have gotten much better mileage than did Martin's later turbocharged Offy which accounts for the smaller 55 gallon bladders. 75 gallons was the allowed fuel capacity in 1972.

    I'm pretty sure that the Rindt car exists and I believe it has been restored to its' 1969 Peter Revson configuration. Revson finished 5th in it at Indianapolis and later won a race on the Indianapolis Raceway Park road course.

    I don't know if Martin's Brabham has been restored or not. Maybe someone else here does know.

    John Martin was a very competent race driver and a talented builder and engine man. For the most part he did all of his own work. I spoke to him several times over the years as we had a mutual friend. In later years he was immersed in rebuilding Offy engines for vintage racers. He was still going full tilt and never lost his enthusiasm for racing right up until the day he died.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by indyrjc View Post
      Martin's car started out as a 1968 BT25. There were two that year one for Jochen Rindt and one for Jack Brabham. Brabham only practiced in his and I don't think he ever intended to qualify it. I believe the Brabham car is the one that Martin ended up with. The BT25 was a tube frame car and in 1968 and 1969 used a normally aspirated 4.2L Repco engine. The Repco would have gotten much better mileage than did Martin's later turbocharged Offy which accounts for the smaller 55 gallon bladders. 75 gallons was the allowed fuel capacity in 1972.

      I'm pretty sure that the Rindt car exists and I believe it has been restored to its' 1969 Peter Revson configuration. Revson finished 5th in it at Indianapolis and later won a race on the Indianapolis Raceway Park road course.

      I don't know if Martin's Brabham has been restored or not. Maybe someone else here does know.

      John Martin was a very competent race driver and a talented builder and engine man. For the most part he did all of his own work. I spoke to him several times over the years as we had a mutual friend. In later years he was immersed in rebuilding Offy engines for vintage racers. He was still going full tilt and never lost his enthusiasm for racing right up until the day he died. [sic]

      The heavy Brabham BT25, a make-work project put together following the 1967 season with the encouragement of Goodyear, was MRD's first monocoque chassis design. Monocoque construction was chosen for the BT25 to accommodate required protection for bag tanks. The monocoque BT25 had an integrated tubular engine bay tied to the front bulkhead, unlike the later BT33 F1 monocoque. Three BT25 tubs were made with two being turned into complete cars according to Nick Gozzee, one of a handful of people responsible for their manufacture.

      Masten Gregory was slated to drive the second BT25 at Indy in 1968.

      The ex-John Martin BT25/2, which has had a number of owners over the years, ended up being restored with the livery it sported when Jack Brabham and Peter Revson shared driving the car. It has been seen at events such as the Goodwood Revival. Revson used BT25/2 complete with the number carried by J. Brabham at Indy when the American drove it to victory at IRP. Revson raced BT25-1 in the 500.

      Within the sport, John Martin was said to have a reputation of being a capable mechanic but a questionable driver dating back to before he began racing Indy cars.




      Last edited by editor; 06-29-2021, 06:39 AM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by editor View Post

        ......with the encouragement of Goodyear, was MRD's first monocoque chassis design. Monocoque construction was chosen for the BT25 to accommodate required protection for bag tanks......
        Thanks for the clarification on the tub construction. And I'm not surprised that Goodyear was involved. I don't think fans today realize how involved the tire companies were in worldwide racing in that era.

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        • #5
          https://www.oldracingcars.com/indy/r...lis500/#note16

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          • #6
            Originally posted by indyrjc View Post

            Thanks for the clarification on the tub construction. And I'm not surprised that Goodyear was involved. I don't think fans today realize how involved the tire companies were in worldwide racing in that era.
            IIRC, many of the GP drivers that competed at Indy in that era were there as part of their contracts as Goodyear drivers.
            “With the help of God and true friends, I come to realize
            I still got two strong legs, even wings to fly
            I ain’t wastin’ time no more...”

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            • #7
              Originally posted by indyrjc View Post

              Thanks for the clarification on the tub construction. And I'm not surprised that Goodyear was involved. I don't think fans today realize how involved the tire companies were in worldwide racing in that era.
              You're welcome.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by editor View Post


                The heavy Brabham BT25, a make-work project put together following the 1967 season with the encouragement of Goodyear, was MRD's first monocoque chassis design. Monocoque construction was chosen for the BT25 to accommodate required protection for bag tanks. The monocoque BT25 had an integrated tubular engine bay tied to the front bulkhead, unlike the later BT33 F1 monocoque. Three BT25 tubs were made with two being turned into complete cars according to Nick Gozzee, one of a handful of people responsible for their manufacture.

                Masten Gregory was slated to drive the second BT25 at Indy in 1968.

                The ex-John Martin BT25/2, which has had a number of owners over the years, ended up being restored with the livery it sported when Jack Brabham and Peter Revson shared driving the car. It has been seen at events such as the Goodwood Revival. Revson used BT25/2 complete with the number carried by J. Brabham at Indy when the American drove it to victory at IRP. Revson raced BT25-1 in the 500.

                Within the sport, John Martin was said to have a reputation of being a capable mechanic but a questionable driver dating back to before he began racing Indy cars.



                So does that construction method mean that the Repco V8 (which IIRC had stock-block origins) was not used as a stressed member of the chassis?
                Last edited by Sea Fury; 07-01-2021, 11:10 AM.
                "Only a fool fights in a burning house."-Kang

                "If you listen to fools....The Maaahhhhb Ruuuules....."-Ronnie James Dio

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sea Fury View Post

                  So does that construction method mean that the Repco V8 (which IIRC had stock-block origins) was not used as a stressed member of the chassis?
                  Yes. You can find pictures of the car in its current form here.

                  7d894cf7bc83c9a8e589226d33ff3db5777073a6.jpg
                  “America is all about speed. Hot, nasty, badass speed.” - Eleanor Roosevelt

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                  • #10
                    Curious...what was the last major series open wheel car that didn't use the engine as a stressed member? The last that I recall is maybe the Toleman TG181.
                    You've worked so hard on the kidney. Very special -- the kidney has a very special place in the heart. It's an incredible thing. Donald John Trump

                    Brian's Wish * Jason Foundation

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Jamski View Post
                      Curious...what was the last major series open wheel car that didn't use the engine as a stressed member? The last that I recall is maybe the Toleman TG181.
                      I have always wondered if the Greenfield 209CI `cleensheet` pushrod of 1994 was a stressed member or not

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                      • #12
                        Were the engines in the BMW-powered Brabham from the 80s fully-stressed members? I seem to recall some of them at least being production-based.

                        EDIT: It doesn't appear so, based on the framework shown here.

                        BMW_F1_Engine_M12_M13.JPG
                        Last edited by Sweaty Teddy; 07-03-2021, 05:24 PM.
                        “America is all about speed. Hot, nasty, badass speed.” - Eleanor Roosevelt

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