Posted 08 November 2018 - 00:56
This is from a post on the "Innovative, banned and unique racing cars" group on Facebook.
It refers to this thread, but includes some interesting news to solve the mystery. The post was from a Todd Connaughton replying to David Ivers who had directed him to this discussion.
David Ivers I had a look once before and couldn't find it, thanks here is the whole story. It's worth the read... I can resolve the mystery of what happened to the BT43. I've only just realised what I had, as a result of finding a pair of radiators in my loft this afternoon, that I've had for 30 odd years, and trying to decide what to do with them after a bit of internet browsing.
In 1980 (I think it was), I was working in the import department of Overseas Containers Ltd (OCL), at Barking in Essex. I overheard a conversation on the desk that dealt with shipments from Australia and New Zealand, about an abandoned "old racing car" lying at Orsett Containerbase, that had been sent back to the UK for repair. As it had not been collected by the importer, despite several attempts to get him to collect it, and had been around for some months racking up huge storage charges, it was going to be disposed of, as ownership had passed to OCL under the terms of the contract. I mentioned it to the Import Manager, who said that, yes it was being disposed of, probably for scrap, but if I was interested, I had better go and look at it quickly.
I had visions of perhaps some pre or post war "old racing car", so was surprised and not too impressed by what I found. It was in a rather battered crate, with significant damage to offside front, and definitely not complete. It looked like there could be some useful bits, so I went back to the office and asked how much had been offered as scrap. I was told £25, and that if I wanted it, I would have to make a "substantially increased offer". I offered £30, and was told it was mine. I was told that it had to be shifted by the end of the following week, or I'd start incurring storage charges. As OCL owned Orsett Containerbase, the manager could simply write off the storage charges already run up, which were thousands of dollars. There was no issue with Customs, as I was told the car had been built in the UK, so no import duty to pay as it was returned British goods.
A pal and I went to collect it, in his Transit van, and we humped the tub into the back, plus the engine, and anything else we could find, and took it to a lock-up I was using, for closer inspection. Bearing in mind I new nothing about racing cars at the time, (still don't know anything really), we really did not know what it was. I had been told it might be a Lola, but there was nothing to indicate manufacturer. The tub was black, and on the end plates of the rear wing was a logo that we found was the Australian TV Channel Nine logo, plus a drivers name which I seem to recall may well have been Kevin Bartlett. At this point it was pretty clear that there was a lot of car that was missing. Memory here is not so good, but it was definitely missing the transaxle and brake calipers, plus the fuel pump and some other bits and bobs. I can't recall if the drive shafts were there, but I suspect not. I am not sure if the car had been shipped that way, or if there had been a bit of parts "evaporation" at the hands of the dockers at the container depot, which was quite likely.
I had plans on using the engine in a road going van, but with no transaxle and no money to buy one, it was a non-starter. The engine also looked like it had had a problem internally, with one con rod either broken or missing, but the crank, block pistons and heads seemed all good. Anyway, at the time, this car just seemed to have no value, having seemingly been dumped by the owner, so it got broken for spares. The chevy engine went to a guy who was into american cars, wheels went to another guy, suspension uprights to a chap wanting to build a hill climb car, and so on. I kept all of the rose joints, some of which were surprisingly slack, and used them on various projects over the years. I also kept the radiators, which looked like they might be handy one day. The basic tub was no use, so it just got weighed in for scrap. All I have left are the pair of radiators, which are still in very good condition, but surprisingly heavy, being steel framed. They weigh over 5kg each! They still bear the makers tags marked "Made in Australia, NEWCELL, radiators and cores, NPN 879". They do not look particularly like the ones attached to the car in the photo above, on the day it got bent, seeming somewhat smaller. Perhaps they are the ones that were replaced for the last race.
I think this can at last end this story. I'm sorry Kevin Bartlett lost out over this, but at the time it was just another abandoned bit of cargo. Had I known it was a Brabham, and potentially historically significant, then I might have tried to find a suitable home for it, but hindsight is a frustrating thing. Meantime, the radiators are no good to me, and will be appearing on a well known internet auction site in the not too distant future.
Please - no hate mail. I was young and ignorant.