Steve Cropley: a rare chance to get close to a BRM P15 V16

Steve Cropley: a rare chance to get close to a BRM P15 V16

Today’s drivers are at liberty to choose from widely disparate cars and driving styles to suit their temperaments, but at some time in the future the two styles will have to get much closer. Some drivers are going to have to change even more than their cars.

Wednesday

Fascinating evening event at the British Motor Museum – one of the first for its newly constituted Members group – to view the ‘split-pin perfect’ BRM P15 V16 continuation grand prix car. Built by the extraordinary Hall & Hall engineering business, the car was commissioned by the family of Sir Alfred Owen, who backed the P15 in its early 1950s heyday.

The car has already appeared and run, but this was a chance to view every beautiful component up close and have it vividly explained by company principal Rick Hall, who cut his teeth as a BRM mechanic back in the day.

Amazing to see its Porsche-influenced front suspension (not so different in principle from a VW Beetle) and view the “phenomenally complex” engine. In effect, it’s two 750cc V8 engines mounted back to back, double supercharged and good for 600bhp-plus at 12,000rpm. If you haven’t heard its amazing sound, there’s plenty on YouTube.

Thursday

Even as Jaguar’s modern management stays mute about the marque’s complex future, the guardians of its magnificent history – Jaguar Heritage – are doing their bit to keep things percolating.