A rare Brabham midget
It was not many months after the announcement of the new MG Midget in June 1961 that Jack Brabham's team got busy producing an up-graded version fitted with the light aluminium Coventry Climax engine and optional disc front brakes instead of drums. I don't know how many were produced but it is pretty sure that few remain, the engines having been 'retrieved' from the rusting shells for use elsewhere.
David Bruzas started his career as an engineer for Lotus and has had a wealth of experience in historic race cars, but especially Lotuses (or should that be Loti?). Now retired he prepares a single Elite for international events. It was while visiting a fibreglass specialist about an Elite that he got talking about cars in general and mentioned that he had owned several Frogeye Sprites in the past and would like to own one again. The specialist mentioned that he had a friend who had rebuilt several Sprite/Midgets.
They went to see this pal of his, who did not have a Frogeye but had a Brabham Midget which he had taken in payment for panels he had bought for its restoration 14 years earlier. David agreed to buy the remains of the car (which turned out to be the original Jack Brabham press car registered in August 1961 with the number 751 VPF) on the basis that the restorer would complete the bodywork. Sadly the man became ill and died within a year, without having had time to move the project forward so, at Bill McDonnough's suggestion David took the dismantled bodyshell to David Grove of Perfect Nostalgia, based near Hook in Hampshire. Grove is as keen as Bruzas to preserve the originality of the car and has re-used or repaired all the original panels.
David Bruzas does mechanical work, rather than bodywork repairs, and had a suitable Coventry Climax FWE engine from an Elite that he could rebuild and install. He doesn't know when the car lost its original motor but it had been substituted with a standard 948cc 'A' Series. The bodywork was in a very sad and rusted condition having been left out in the worst weather and been partially filled with water.
A Message From The Owner:
"Four days at Goodwood after a marathon before to get the car ready for display. It was a great result. Most of the time the car was surrounded by people. I was kept busy answering questions . One elderly gentleman was interested in the car, he had worked at Jack Brabham’s in the early ‘60’s. He was very interested in the rebuild and confirmed the various mods they carried out to install the Climax engine in my car. Both of Sir Jack's sons were there; they were fascinated with the car and asked for some pictures, which I will forward on. They also posed for some pictures, in similar poses to the original photos of their father. I have just got back from a well-earned holiday and now can get back into completing the build. I have a small issue with the clutch release. It means engine out!! 'Classic and Sports Car' mag have asked if I would give them permission for them to write an article. Regards, David Bruzas".