Brabham BT44B, 1975
History of the actual Car
This model completed in 2009, represents that driven by Carlos Pace during the 1975 season where he won one of two Grands Prix for Brabham, the Brazilian GP at Interlagos ahead of fellow countryman Emerson Fittipaldi, a fantastic Brazilian one-two! The other win came for Reutemann in Germany at the fourteen mile long Nurburgring circuit. In 1975, Brabham had a more consistent year, better on paper securing second place in the Constructors’ Championship edging out McLaren (Ferrari winning), however with less wins than in 1974. This model represents the car as prepared and raced at the season’s end, Watkins Glen. Bernie Ecclestone had run the team since 1972 and moving with the times, the formerly virgin-white flanks of the BT44 (Gordon Murray’s favourite version of this car) were now adorned with Martini sponsorship producing a very good-looking photogenic race car.
Comments re images
I trust you will enjoy these photographs and will agree they open up a new and truthful interpretation of the car, following access to a private collection of photos of the car in the pit lane at Watkins Glen in 1975.
These photos were taken by a kind friend Louis R with a very good camera, however, some have suffered somewhat by over exposure due to over generous backlighting. My own camera an Olympus E10 is good, but not nearly as good as Louis’ camera; where my own photos win, is in utilising an optimised horizonless background, so a combination of best options is called-for at the second photo-shoot. If anyone knows of an available Olympus E10 lens hood, I would be very grateful. The first item on the agenda is to re photograph the whole car in my white studio and replace this headline photo. Additionally, the marvellous feature of a detachable steering wheel has let me down in the rush to get fifteen cars re-photographed at Louis’ studio. Clearly, the steering wheel has not been replaced at an angle sympathetic with that of the front wheels and encourages one to be more careful next time. This model has a bespoke hand fashioned seat in Milliput two-part resin and this has been omitted since the model was rush-completed for the Donington show in the late summer of 2009; however, this was on purpose for it is very difficult to replace a seat and remove it all the time owing to the threading of seat belts through the cut-outs. Being displayed alongside the BT44 with its seat in place, the 44B affords a view of the inner monocoque with seat belt anchoring plates, battery, throttle cable and other electrical/fuel pressure/oil temperature lines etc, roll-over bar footings and medical air bottle etc. Dust and decal imperfections are present but shouldn’t detract too much from the educational potential of showing how a race car is put together, which always fascinates me. The efficient packaging is a hallmark of celebrated designers such as Gordon Murray; to capture a flavour of this, is my aim.
The monocoque was started in 2005/6 and was one of three (see account for the 1974 Brabham BT44). My own BT44B was completed in 2009, in tandem with a BT44. The model was built in almost exactly the same way as that of the 1974 BT44 (described elsewhere*), however the 1975 BT44B was a development and the changes incorporated by Gordon Murray are reflected in this model built simultaneously with the BT44 model. This meant that the four pages of A4 changes to produce a BT44 from a BT44B model became six pages with the extra super-detailing that was required. In addition to the more detailed account referred to above*, there’s a link to a PDF for the BT44 article ‘almost-offered’ to Scale Models International, before they wound-up their automotive commitment.
Principal changes between the BT44 and the 1975 BT44B were the nosecone which was a more detailed version of that supplied in the Tamiya kit, small variation in structures at the front of the car, namely in the arrangement and detail of mastercylinders, nosecone supports, anti-roll bar and track-rod links. Further back, a different gear lever was used, slight dashboard and cockpit changes, tank top details varied only slightly, lack of external catch-tank provision indicated by external venting of the internal item. More significant changes over the gearbox were seen with a different construction of airbox-fed rear brake cooling, differences in oil radiator surfaces and plumbing details and most obviously, the appearance of a large engine directed fire-extinguisher ahead of the attachment of the rear wing supports.