The Cooper Bristol T40 was the first Formula One car with the engine behind the driver.
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Jack Brabham’s first ever Formula One car – the 1955 Cooper Bristol T40 – has been listed for sale in Monaco.

Based on John Cooper's existing T39 and built almost entirely by Sir Jack, the T40 is significant as the first mid-engined car to ever compete in the top tier of post-war Grand Prix racing.

The Cooper's mid-mounted 2.0-litre Bristol engine produced approximately 112kW, sent to the rear wheels via a four-speed transmission borrowed from a Citroen road car. The bespoke aerodynamic body was inspired by the Lotus MK8 and Mercedes-Benz W196 Streamliner.

Performance specifications are hard to come by, but the T40 wasn’t particularly quick – even for its time.

Despite its revolutionary layout, it struggled on track from the get-go, retiring from the only official championship Formula One race it entered – the 1955 British Grand Prix – on lap 30, after qualifying in 25th position.

While this was the only official Formula One race in which it was entered, Brabham later won the non-championship 1955 Australian Grand Prix behind the wheel of the T40.

Despite its (largely underwhelming) performance in competition, the Cooper Bristol T40 laid the groundworks for a mid-engined revolution that would take over the top tier of open-wheel racing before the decade was out. In 1959 Jack Brabham would win his first world championship, driving his legendary Cooper T51.

CarAdvice has reached out to the seller for comment on pricing. This story will be updated when more information becomes available.