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  Article Image gallery (23) BT37-2 Specifications  
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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced in:1972
Numbers built:2
Designed by:Ralph Bellamy for Brabham
Predecessor:Brabham BT34 Cosworth
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:January 25, 2017
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Click here to download printer friendly versionAt the end of the 1970 season, Jack Brabham retired and sold his share in Motor Racing Developments (MRD), better known simply as the Brabham Racing Organisation, to his longtime partner and designer Ron Tauranac. He was now not only responsible for designing the cars but also for running the Formula 1 team. That did not stop him from creating an unconventionally looking car for lead driver Graham Hill to race in the 1971 Formula 1 World Championship.

Dubbed the BT34, it was built around an altogether more angular monocoque chassis than the more classically shaped BT33 it succeeded. The most distinct feature was the 'lobster claw' nose, which featured two separate radiators mounted on the corners with an adjustable aerofoil mounted in between. Whereas the BT33 had used in-board suspension, Tauranac reverted back to out-board suspension for the BT34. Like most of its rivals, Brabham also relied on the readily available Cosworth DFV engine and Hewland gearbox package.

Funds were limited, so MRD just built a single example of the BT34 for Hill to race while new signing Tim Schenken used an updated BT33. Hill was rarely competitive but did score what would be his final Formula 1 victory when he won the Race of Champions at Brands Hatch. He scored only two points in a World Championship race with the BT34, finishing fifth in the Austrian Grand Prix. Carlos Reuteman raced the car to another non-championship victory when he won the 1972 Brazilian Grand Prix. Later that year, the unique car was also raced by Wilson Fittipaldi but with little success.

The disappointing 1971 season prompted Tauranac to look for a new partner to run the team and he found one in Bernie Ecclestone. He had been the manager to Jochen Rindt and also had had a brief career behind the wheel in the 1950s. Ecclestone moved quickly and after he made some key changes without consulting Tauranac, the Australian designer quit the team altogether. All these changes prevented the team from creating a brand new car. Instead, Ecclestone asked Ralph Bellamy to create an evolution of the BT34. Dubbed the BT37, it featured a more conventional centrally mounted radiator.

A pair of BT37s were readied for the team to race alongside the existing cars. The best result during the 1972 season was a fourth for Reuteman in the Canadian Grand Prix. Andrea de Adamich repeated that feat a year later in the Canadian Grand Prix with a privately run BT37. For the 1973 season the brand new BT42 was being readied by newly promoted designer Gordon Murray, which would bring Brabham back to the fore. The one-off BT34 and the subsequent BT37 represent a time of little success but also of change, which would turn out to be crucial for Brabham's survival.

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  Article Image gallery (23) BT37-2 Specifications