The Ex-Charles Vogele 1967 2.7-Litre Brabham-Climax BT23B Formule Libre Racing Single-Seater, Chassis no. BT23B-2

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Lot 369
The Ex-Charles Vogele 1967 2.7-Litre Brabham-Climax BT23B Formule Libre Racing Single-Seater,
Chassis no. BT23B-2

£ 60,000 - 80,000
US$ 81,000 - 110,000
The Ex-Charles Vogele 1967 2.7-Litre Brabham-Climax BT23B Formule Libre Racing Single-Seater

Chassis no. BT23B-2


  • This beautifully presented Formule Libre and European Mountain Championship Brabham-Climax BT23B was developed from the mainstream BT23 1600cc Formula 2 design perfected by the legendary Ron Tauranac and constructed by Motor Racing Developments Ltd (MRD) for the 1967 customer sales season. MRD was the specialist manufacturing company created by Jack Brabham and his Australian business partner and design engineer Ron Tauranac. Tauranac’s new BT23-design chassis was a typically exquisitely-made multi-tubular spaceframe design which offered customer practicality together with the Brabham marque’s renowned user-friendly handling, strength and in-built safety.

    In 1962 and 1963 the Antipodean summer series of ‘Tasman’ races in New Zealand and Australia had been open to InterContinental Formula cars of up to 3-litres capacity. This had permitted Formula 1-derived single-seat Cooper, Lotus, Brabham and Lola cars to be despatched from the UK to run with the enlarged 2.75-litre FPF ‘Indianapolis’ engines – which had been originated for Jack Brabham’s Cooper entry in the Indy ‘500’ in 1961.

    For 1964 a tighter set of regulations had been agreed between the Australasian race organisers and the regular entrants – including Brabham – under which a new Tasman Formula was agreed with a ceiling capacity of 2.5-litres. The 1964 ‘Tasman’ BT11As were therefore equipped with 2½-litre versions of the ubiquitous Climax FPF engine, but the first of that initial batch of chassis had been constructed instead to the order of leading Swiss mountain-climb exponent Charles Vogele. For the type of European competition in which he was involved he was able to exploit the additional torque and power of the 2.75-litre ‘Indy’ FPF – free of the restrictions with which his fellow BT11A owner/drivers would have to conform ‘down under’.

    After an immensely successful racing programme with the 1964 BT11A, Charles Vogele ordered the replacement BT23B now offered here for 1967. The 2.75-litre Climax FPF 4-cylinder engine from the BT11A was transferred into this smaller, lighter and more sophisticated chassis and he then campaigned the car through 1967-68 in the much-publicised and very important European Mountain Championship events in which he had so long specialised.

    The car as offered here has continuous and well-known history from new. It was eventually sold by Charles Vogele to Rino Bothone in 1972. It remained in Switzerland for a further seven years until 1979 when it was purchased by Willy Widar. In 1989 it was then passed from Mr Widar to Jean-Louis Gillet and he subsequently sold it to the UK in 1998.

    Its present vendor purchased the car as a complete rolling chassis – the actual frame being the surviving original complete with not only its original MRD chassis plate, but also its original glassfibre-panelled bodywork. The car was entrusted to Retro Track & Air of Gloucestershire for a comprehensive restoration which was carried out during 2000. All original components were painstakingly overhauled and new parts fitted where and as necessary. The original body panels were retained and restored apart from the engine cover – there having been no original with the car as purchased. A taller roll-over bar was added behind the cockpit to update the car to modern requirements, and all-new suspension wishbones were made and fitted.

    A fresh-prepared 2.5-litre Coventry-Climax FPF engine was fitted in June 2005. Breathing through two twin-choke Weber 55mm carburettors it is claimed to develop some 230bhp. Transmission is via the correct 1967-style Hewland FT200 gearbox, which had also been completely overhauled and equipped with a new crown-wheel and pinion assembly.

    Driving this mouth-watering combination of Formula 2 Brabham chassis and past Formula 1 Coventry Climax Grand Prix engine, the vendor has won the Jim Clark class in Grand Prix Masters races at Dijon-Prenois and Silverstone. The car is offered here complete with current FIA documentation and crack-test certificate, and it is regarded as being an extremely affordable proposition to buy, prepare and maintain for the pre-winged category of Historic motor racing. As offered this Lot includes a set of spare wheels fitted with wet-weather tyres and it has been maintained since its recent restoration to the highest standards. Again, we recommend the closest inspection, and consideration.

    In period, Charles Vogele was the best-known of the European mountain-climb exponents, and his exploits in the Brabham-Climax BT23B – like those in the BT11A before it - were very well documented. As offered here this is a rare opportunity to obtain such a potently-specified Brabham BT23.
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