BRM’s 1.5-liter V16 awakens with fury (+ video)

You may not know of a car manufacturer called BRM. We can’t blame you, as his career was short, he only produced racing cars, and he did so for a short period of time in the 1950s. Still, they managed to make history, producing one of the most exotic racing engines ever created. A high-revving 1.5-litre V16, supercharged by a compressor beyond 550 hp. An engine that decades later, reawakens with violence and fury, wanting to return to the asphalt.

British Racing Motors was founded in 1945, and its last appearance in competition dated back to 1977. BRM’s history was turbulent financially, and unfortunately, it never won a constructors’ championship in Formula 1 – even so, he achieved a second-place finish four times. BRM was a company known for being very innovative, producing engines in really picturesque configurations. Although its V8 and V12 were the most successful and reliable engines, BRM is truly remembered for its sixteen-cylinder engines..

The BRM V16 had 1.5 liters and its two banks were located at 135 degrees. It was really exotic.

BRM’s first V16 engine was designed in 1947. That engine was based on the union of two 750 cc V8 engines, and was also supercharged by a volumetric compressor of Rolls-Royce origin. Its chain distribution was produced by David Brown, also known as Aston Martin. It was an engine with a very high specific power and enormous mechanical complexity. The engine, tested at the former RAF facility at Folkingham, was capable of developing a power of about 600 hp, rotating at 12,000 rpm.

According to Rolls-Royce, it would have been possible to reach 700 hp, since the mechanics were supposedly prepared to rotate at 14,000 rpm. Only two units of the engine were built – which underwent continuous evolution – and although BRM managed to solve the enormous reliability problems that it suffered at its premiere In 1950, by 1954, a regulatory change relegated this brilliant propellant to oblivion. Fangio got to drive the BRM Type 15 in competition, the competition car in which the BRM V16 was mounted.

BRM counted among its ranks with pilots of the stature of Fangio.

The Type 15 copied many of its technical solutions, and gearbox design, from the pre-war Mercedes W165 – after World War II, the Allies appropriated blueprints and continued the development of innovations of German origin. BRM’s V16 was said to be a very temperamental engine: Below 8000 rpm there was no power, and when the compressor started to blow hard it was a difficult car to control. All in all, it was a fascinating design, with a unique character and a very characteristic sound.

Why am I telling you all this? Because BRM, rescued from its ashes by a British group of investors, will rebuild three 1.5-liter V16 engines. To do this, they have rebuilt from scratch one of the two existing V16s, which in 1999 had suffered a “passing over” at the BRM 50th anniversary exhibition and had become unusable. The engine has been tested on a dyno at the same airfield where it was developed, spinning reliably at 10,000 rpmand achieving a power in the environment of 550 CV.

Mounted on a single-seater, it should allow the car to easily exceed 300 km/h.

These three new engines will be mounted on cars built from scratch, from three recently discovered chassis. Three chassis that were never used due to the regulatory change in 1954. These three cars will be sold at an unknown price, but it will most certainly be prohibitive.

About Alicia Peters

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