V16 BRM on Show at Retromobile
On display at Retromobile next month, February 6th - 10th, in Paris will be the National Motor Museum’s BRM T15, which was restored over number of years by Hall & Hall and was fired up at Beaulieu in public for the first time at their spring Autojumble lat May.
In period the BRM’s 1500cc V16 engine was renowned for it’s exhaust note, but the complex engine was ambitious in design. It featured four blocks of four cylinders with a central half-speed power take-off, and a two-stage centrifugal supercharger.
Designed to achieve 600BHP, it was some time before the it even reached 440BHP for a variety of reasons. Engine breathing proved more restricted than expected, leading to the supercharger having to be run at a higher speed than originally anticipated. The planned fuel injection proved a failure and the engine ran on S.U. carburettors.
Under pressure to race the car, BRM entered two cars for the 1950 International Trophy at Silverstone, but both suffered cylinder lining problems in testing. A major effort from BRM got one car onto the grid - and at the start when Raymond Sommer let out the clutch a driveshaft sheared and the car was retired having barely moved.
A number of the top drivers of the period raced the V16, including Juan-Manuel Fangio, but it was never a match for continental opposition and Stirling Moss was scathing of its capabilities.