BRM Is Building Three Continuation Models Of Its Supercharged, V16-powered Type 15 Grand Prix Car
Lately history has started to repeat itself in more literal terms in the world of classic cars. Factory-built replicas, or “continuations” as they are typically referred to—new constructions of iconic vintage cars built by manufacturers to (mostly) original specifications—have become increasingly popular endeavors for brands with lauded histories and enough capacity to recreate them, and the trend has found another outlet in the form of a supercharged V16-powered Formula 1 car: the BRM Type 15.
Jaguar has arguably been the most prolific in the still young market for continuations, but many other British manufacturers have adopted the concept in the last few years, like Aston Martin, Bentley, and the recently revived Allard marque. British Racing Motors (BRM) is the latest to announce a continuation project, and they arguably have the best reason for doing so, seeing as the only surviving original Type 15 is unlikely to ever leave its museum retirement home for any track time.
The continuation versions will provide opportunities for a new generation of enthusiasts to witness one of the world’s most intriguing (and best sounding) racing cars in action. If a 1.5-liter V16 hooked up to a supercharger, revving to 12,000rpm, and producing 600hp sounds good in writing, just try to imagine it in person.
To build the cars, BRM has partnered with Hall and Hall (classic motorsport specialists with ties to BRM going back to the early 1970s) to oversee the construction of three more examples of the BRM Type 15 V16 Grand Prix car to celebrate the constructors’ 70th anniversary (although BRM was founded after the war in the 1940s, their first races took place in 1950). Three unused chassis numbers from the period will be allocated to the continuation models, which will be built to spec but also to comply with FIA regulations—meaning, in other words, they will be eligible for historic racing events.
To ensure the cars are accurate to the original design, Hall and Hall will access BRM’s impressive archive, which in this case means poring over some 20,000 original technical drawings, diagrams, and blueprints. Hall and Hall will construct the cars in Bourne, Lincolnshire, the same town where BRM produced them the first time around.
Upon completion, the first of the three Type 15 continuations will go to John Owen, the 81-year-old son of BRM’s team principal from its most successful period, Sir Alfred Owen. By all accounts, John has the best mentality towards the project possible. “In a selfish way, I have always dreamed of hearing that sound again, but now I’d also love to share that sensation with others. To hear the V16 screaming at full tilt for the first time is something special—something you never forget,” John said regarding the car that made such an impact on him in his youth.
Although the Type 15 never won any official Grands Prix, BRM evolved into a strong presence in Formula 1 in the 1960s, with Graham Hill winning the world championship (drivers’ and constructors’) in a BRM P57 in 1962. The outfit lost steam in the 1970s before exiting the sport as a constructor by the end of the decade. Today the brand is still well known among classic motorsport fans, but hopefully it can introduce a new cadre of car enthusiasts to the wonderfully ambitious engineering and this monstrous, sonorous result.
Images c/o British Racing Motors