18 March 2011

The Curious Case Of Brabham Tuning

From BMWblog.com:
Don’t remember the old-school legendary Brabham Racing? Here is a short history of them. The British racing car manufacturer was founded by two Australians in 1960, Jack Brabham, driver, and Ron Tauranac as a designer. In 1960s, Brabham was the world’s largest manufacturer of open wheel racing cars and it won several championships in Formula One, Two and Three. In 1992, the company went through a tough financial crisis and were unable to pay their lenders. But now, Brabham is back and their focus seem to be on becoming a BMW tuner. In a press release, the company announced three models: 
  1. Brabham BT 92 – based on an M3 Coup 
  2. Brabham BT 60 - a tuned up M5
  3. Brabham BT 70 - a sporty interpretation of the X6
Will they make it? Do we need another BMW tuner? Not sure at this point, but I look forward to the Essen Motor Show where the cars will be unveiled. In the mean time, here is a teaser image of the BT 92.
The Brabham name on an X6!?! What the duece?

Anyway, they then issued a press statement saying they're nothing to do with the Brabham family or the original Brabham Racing!  Huh?

Brabham Racing, a BMW tuning outfit, has issued a statement claiming they are not related to Sir Jack Brabham, and have no intention of being associated with him. The statement comes as Sir Brabham, the first person ever knighted for motorsports and co-founder of Brabham/Motor Racing Development Ltd., has openly questioned the motives of the German tuner, implying that the company is trying to sell their cars and products by using the Brabham name without permission.
In their statement, Brabham Racing said, "It never was our intention to associate our brand with Sir Jack Brabham and his achievements as an engineer and racing driver nor with his legacy in motor racing history."Regardless, the use of the Brabham name still seems questionable. The company openly implied a connection to Sir Brabham's company in a November press release. In that release, the company writes, "One of the most illustrious names of automotive history has returned. After numerous successes in Formula One and being dormant for nearly sixteen years, the legendary motor racing brand was relaunched."Sir Brabham's firm went belly up in 1992; sixteen years ago.The company also claims Sir Brabham has a "questionable" legal ground for a dispute, as one of company shareholder acquired rights to the name "Brabham Racing" several years ago.

Sir Jack at one point was threatening to sue Brabham TuningNow I'm no lawyer, but judging from the German-based firm’s press release above, I’d say that Sir Jack and his family have a mighty strong case. And you thought legal battles about intellectual rights to a great F1 team of the past were exclusive to Lotus...

BMW Blog tested it in 2009, as it had just gone on sale at a price of - wait for it - $310,000. Gulp.

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