Dear Mr Schenker Frank Williams has now had a reply to his request
regarding the BT24/3 and BT 26/1 and I attach the reports of each. Robin
Herd wrote these accounts, having first spoken to Peter Kerr and John
THompson, as well as John Muller in New Zealand. I hope they are useful.
Kind Regards, Serena Sissons Office of Frank Williams

BT 24/3

This is the works Brabham-Repco F1 car driven by Jochen at Spain and Monaco and by Gurney at Zandvoort in the 1968 World Championship. After the introduction of the BT26 at Zandvoort driven by Jochen, BT 24/3 became the Team Spare Car until sold (?) to Kurt Ahrens who drove it at Nurburgring on August 4th 1968.

This car was modified by John Muller to take the 2½ litre DFW commissioned by Frank Williams for the 1968/9 Tasman series. The engine is referred to as the DFW presumably because of the link with Frank Williams.

In this car the sub-frames were retained as on the Repco installation and my input was confined purely to discussions with John about the installation procedure since little re-design was needed. John worked his passage home to New Zealand with the car.

His second mechanic in the series was Dewar Thomas. Dewar subsequently built and was the first test-driver (without my knowledge) of the 712, the monocoque of which I seem to remember FW becoming acquainted with as hand baggage between Sao Paulo and London and on return.

BT 24/3 is next recorded as having been driven by Silvio Moser at Monaco on June 8th 1969 - presumably with a 3 litre DFV. It was subsequently raced by him at Zandvoort, France, Oulton Park, Monza, Canada, USA and Mexico.

The key point that is relevant is that this is indeed a Piers Courage DF Brabham, but it is the Tasman car not the subsequent F1 car. If Beat Schenker bought this BT 24/3 directly from FW then it is indeed the "true" BT 24/3.

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BT 26/1


This is the David Bridges 1968 Brabham-Repco F1 car purchased by Frank Williams for Piers to drive in the 1969 World Championship - I assume it was BT 26/1. It was modified quite significantly in the cellar of Keith Leighton's father's garage in Earls Barton some five miles east of Northampton. John Thompson did the manufacturing work and I did the design. There was considerable unsolicited advice that I should not mount the engine solidly but retain the sub-frame since (it was argued) the Lotus 49 did not handle well because of its solid mounting of the DFV. Since my M7 McLaren had won its first two races in 1968 and finished second in the World Championship I was not inclined to agree and I still remember the moment when John and I actually took a saw to the sub-frames.

Both BT 24/3 and BT7 26/1 used Hewland DG 300 gearboxes.

The enquiries ask for the design drawings of the installation and in talking about the car to John T last week he was adamant that he threw the cigarette packet away. I feel this is a little unfair, but the bottom line is that the design drawings no longer exist.

Its first finish was in its second race at Silverstone and its first World Championship points in its fourth race into second place at Monaco.

John's recollection of the first race at Brands Hatch is heightened as much by the memory of FW's request for him to collect the prize money (about £2,500) - never having seen so much money in his life before - as it is by his subsequent delivery of the money to FW in a flat in London.

 

Lettera di Robin Herd ricevuta traverso Frank Williams
Letter from Robin Herd riceved troug Frank Williams
Brief von Robin Herd erhalten von Frank Williams
 
Articolo pubblicato nel "Auto Italiana" del 30.01.1969
Article published in Italian on "Auto Italiana" dated January 30th, 1969
Artikel publiziert im "Auto Italiana" vom 30.01.1969