HomeCar CultureTime machine: 1950 BRM pistons made into clocks

Time machine: 1950 BRM pistons made into clocks


Britain’s National Motor Museum Trust is restoring the 1950 BRM V16 racing car driven in its heyday by Juan Manual Fangio and Reg Parnell. To help fund that effort, the car’s original pistons and connecting rods have been turned into artistic timepieces and 14 of them are offered for sale.

Clock, Time machine: 1950 BRM pistons made into clocks, ClassicCars.com Journal
Piston and connecting rod turned into a timepiece

“The 68-year-old pistons had to be replaced during a complete restoration of the engine,” the trust said in its announcement. 

The timepieces feature specially commissioned Christopher Ward Swiss-made clocks mounted to the “big end” where connecting rods once were secured to the crankshaft. The clock typeface and colors replicate those of the BRM’s oil pressure gauge.

“Marking the incredible engineering that made the car legendary, the piston will be set on a brass and polished-hardwood base and fitted to its connecting rod by a specially made brass gudgeon pin to create the unique keepsake,” the trust said in its news release, adding that each clock is numbered.

“The funds from the sale of the clocks will be dedicated to the preservation of the BRM,” the trust promises. “The limited-edition timepieces offer an unmissable opportunity for discerning collectors and motorsport enthusiasts to own part of motor racing history.”

The 16-cylinder engine displaces only 1.5 liters and comprises 2,300 parts. In period, supercharged and taking a fifth-place finish in the 1951 British Grand Prix, it revved to 12,000 rpm and produced 606 horsepower. Since being rebuilt, it has been tested at 8,400 rpm, good for 485 horsepower. 

The piston-clock collection launches May 19 at the Beaulieu Spring Autojumble (swap meet), where the BRM engine will be started in public for the first time since its rebuild. Orders for the timepieces will be accepted at the Autojumble, the trust said.

The timepieces are being offered at £6,000 ($8,120) each.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


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