British Racing Motors (BRM) is the latest addition to the growing list of companies exhumed to build continuation cars. Once a name that sent shivers down Ferrari’s spine, this long-forgotten Formula One team announced it will celebrate its 70th birthday by building three replicas of the V16-powered Type 15 race car.
Only one original Type 15 remains, according to the company, and we’re told it’s too valuable to race. Luckily, BRM’s archives department contains nearly 20,000 original drawings that will be used to remanufacture the parts needed to build the car. And, as luck would have it, the firm is sitting on three unused chassis numbers.
It sounds like the modern-day BRM will be an exact replica of the model that began its racing career in 1950, so power will come from a 1.5-liter V16 engine tuned to develop over 600 horsepower at about 12,000 rpm thanks in part to a pair of superchargers related to the units developed by Rolls-Royce for its Merlin plane engines. It could have either disc or drum brakes; the original Type 15 had both. It began racing with drums, but Hagerty reported it became the first Formula One car fitted with disc brakes when engineers started testing the technology in 1951.
BRM will commission esteemed British restoration shop Hall & Hall to build the three continuation cars. Pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but only two cars will be available to purchase, because the first example has already been claimed by John Owen, the son of former BRM team principal Alfred Owen. Each example will be built to FIA standards, according to Classic & Sports Car, so they’ll be allowed to race in a number of historic events.
We expect the two remaining build slots will be quickly spoken for. BRM isn’t a household name, it stopped racing in 1977, but it’s linked to some of the best-known Formula One drivers of its era, including Juan Manuel Fangio, Reg Parnell, and Stirling Moss. Reliability wasn’t the Type 15’s strong point, however, and it never won a race.
Continuing the continuation trend
Enthusiasts in the market for a replica of an old, obscure race car have a shocking selection of models to choose from. Hall & Hall will also make six units of Vanwall’s 1958 Grand Prix-winning Formula One car, and the Allard Motor Company was revived earlier in 2020 to resume production of the Cadillac V8-powered JR.