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HomeCar CultureBRM V16 body buck found after 70 years hidden away

BRM V16 body buck found after 70 years hidden away

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Last seen 70 years ago, the original body buck for the famed British Racing Motors’ Grand Prix cars of the 1950s has been found after a 5-year search, BRM announced February 16.

“With the discovery of the original body buck, we now have the opportunity to produce a car to the original shape and specification of Britain’s very first Formula One car,” Paul Owen, grandson of BRM founder Alfred Owen, is quoted in the announcement.

“This car has not been seen in this form for over 70 years, and it is a privilege for the Owen family to be in a position to bring it to life once again.”

BRM, BRM V16 body buck found after 70 years hidden away, ClassicCars.com Journal
The wood buck found with half of it covered with metal panels

In late 2020, BRM announced it would produce a limited run of the V16-powered continuation cars based on original blueprints, and using three chassis numbers that had been allocated but not previously used. The first of those cars was unveiled nearly a year later at the 2021 Goodwood Revival.

But since the discovery of the original body buck, continuation car P15 V16 Mk 1 Chassis V is being built with coachwork using that buck, and thus without the louvers that were added at a later date.

“The body forming jig was created to build the first six BRM cars that were unveiled to the world at RAF Folkingham on December 15th 1949, and ran at Goodwood’s international race meeting in September 1950,” BRM said in its announcement.

“While the cars evolved throughout the early 1950’s to improve cooling, handling, and performance, the very first P15 V16 is the purest form of this iconic car.

“When the body shape was altered, George Gray, the man tasked with turning Peter Berthon’s design into reality, stored the jig in the roof of his boat house, where it remained for the next 70 years and was lost to the annals of time.”

As explained in the accompanying video, there was a falling out between Gray and BRM and thus the disappearance of the body buck. 

“The whereabouts of the body buck had long been a question of debate, but through a combination of research, luck, diligence, and discussions with historians, journalists, collectors and those with long memories, the BRM Team were able to track down the whereabouts of the body buck with the help of Geoffrey Marsh,” the news release reported. 

“It is extremely satisfying to have finally tracked down the original Type 15 jig, which will enable us to craft the car in the form that it was presented to the world in 1949,” said Rick Hall, former BRM F1 team manager and manager of the continuation series production.

BRM, BRM V16 body buck found after 70 years hidden away, ClassicCars.com Journal
Half a car’s worth of panels already formed on the buck when it was found

“I believe that the simplicity and beautiful lines of this car will only really be appreciated in the flesh. Very few people alive today will have had the opportunity to see this car before. 

“Looking back at the original drawings, we were surprised at the amount of technical changes that were made to the car in period. We are relishing the challenge to bring it back to life once again.”

The continuation chassis V already has been committed to collector and watchmaker Richard Mille, but BRM notes that the final car, VI, has “yet to be allocated.” The final car is scheduled to be completed in early 2023, BRM added.

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.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Amazing find!!!
    Very exciting to see the recreation of a car that influenced the design of the coolest toy metal cars of my childhood in the 60’s. F1 racing enthusiast!

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