ENGINES: REPCO

Name: Repco

The Replacement Parts Pty. Ltd. was founded in Melbourne in 1920 by Geoffrey Russell with the intention being to manufacture unobtainable parts for imported cars. The company became known as Repco in 1922 and in 1937 joined forces with Auto Grinders Co. After the war the company expanded rapidly as car ownership increased, enjoying protection from foreign competition because of high tariffs. It took over many smaller automotive component companies and distribution networks and even began to expand internationally. In 1961 Jack Brabham and Ron Tauranac established the Motor Racing Developments company in Repco premises in Surbiton, England and the early cars were actually called Repco Brabhams.

In 1964, at Brabham's suggestion, Repco decided to build Formula 1 engines using an obsolete aluminum Oldsmobile V8 production engine as a basis for the racing engine. The first engine ran on a test bed in Australia in March 1965 and it made its debut at the South African Grand Prix in East London on January 1 1966. Brabham led for most of the race before retiring. He gave Repco its first win in the International Trophy in May that year and won the French GP in July, the first of four wins which took him to World Championship victory. Towards the end of the year Frank Hallam took control of the Repco program and the engine was developed by a team which included Norm Wilson, John Judd, Lindsay Hooper and Brian Heard.

The 1967 World Championship began with victory at Monaco for Brabham's team mate Denny Hulme and as the year progressed it was Hulme who became the frontrunner for the Brabham-Repco team which developed the 740 version of the original 620 engine. Hulme won again in Germany but three second places and three third places took him to the title, ahead of Brabham, who won twice and finished second four times.

The arrival of the Cosworth DFV that year meant that Repco needed to build a new engine for the 1968 season. The program was started late however and the 860, which appeared in 1968, was a disappointment, neither Jack Brabham nor Jochen Rindt achieving much. The engine was developed and Rindt finished third at the Nurburgring in August. At the end of 1968 Repco decided that the program was too expensive to continue and Brabham switched to Cosworth engines.

Print