A bright beacon of hope and promise for Britain s motor-sports enthusiasts during the drab and rationed post-war years was their knowledge that the country s leading auto companies and suppliers were banding together to create an amazing new car that promised to put Britain at the forefront in Grand Prix racing.Declaring its intent with its name, British Racing Motor or BRM, the car was a veritable wonder machine shot through with fascinating and revolutionary features. Yet it failed so publicly and sensationally that the V16 BRM has gone down in history as one of motor racing s most spectacular flops.
Few cars of any kind have a more exotic and exciting reputation among enthusiasts than the first BRM, a 16-cylinder wonder machine that was a bright beacon of promise in Britain s drab post-war years. Heralded as a certain race winner and backed by the nation s motor industry, exploiting the seized secrets of the 1930s Germans, the British Racing Motor bid fair to put the UK at the top of the Grand Prix tree. It did come good producing more than 500 horsepower from 1_ litres but only after the Formula 1 for which it was built had expired. From the files of the Ludvigsen Library come more than 80 rare photos of the BRM, one of the handsomest, indeed sexiest, racing cars of all time. Related articles and ephemera round out the story of a bold but ultimately misguided British venture that delivered too much too late.
About the author
Enthusiasts probably know Ludvigsen best as an author of books and articles on cars. At the precocious age of 22 he was the technical editor of Sports Cars Illustrated and three years later he was its editor, transforming it into Car and Driver. Karl later served Motor Trend as its east coast editor. He is the author of more than two dozen books on cars. His histories of the Corvette, Porsche and the racing cars of Mercedes-Benz are considered the standard works on those subjects. Ludvigsen's acclaimed series on racing drivers now includes such immortals as Alberto Ascari, Dan Gurney, Sir Stirling Moss, Sir Jackie Stewart, Emerson Fittipaldi, Bruce McLaren and the great Juan Manuel Fangio.