by David Cook
1962 BRM P57 - Matchbox
1962 BRM P57 - Rail Route
1964-65 BRM P61 - Majorette
1966 H16 - Best Box
1966 H16 - Remco Ind.
1970 BRM Can Am - Polistil
BRM is a long-gone but not totally forgotten F1 marque with a several small-scale examples out there to collect. BRM (British Racing Motors) began right after WWII as an association of industrial companies to build an all-British Grand Prix car. The goal was to be the "British Ferrari" and build the complete car, engine & chassis, in-house. Unfortunately, while BRM engineers were cooking up complex ideas and machining them out of whole metal in costly and ultimately fruitless experiments, British garage mechanics like Cooper and Lotus were throwing together light-weight rear-engine chassis with off-the-shelf parts and motors from Coventry Climax to win races and championships. From 1950 until the switch to smaller engines in 1961, BRM only won one championship GP despite the best efforts of top-line British drivers like Stirling Moss.
Our first small-scale example is an ever-popular Lesney model from the mid-60's of the first really successful BRM car. The type P57 with a 1.5-liter V8 took Graham Hill to his first championship in 1962. The true color for this model should be a very dark British racing green. Lesney also issued this model in red.
Another example of this champion BRM model is by the rarely seen Rail Route firm, which later became Majorette. The up-swept exhaust pipes are correct for early examples of this type.
The strangely proportioned Majorette model pictured next could be a model P61 from 1964-65 but appears to have 12 cylinders like a later 3-liter model. Note the between-the-vee exhaust pipes.
When formula one switched to 3-liter engines in 1966, BRM's answer was the most complex F1 motor ever, the H-16 (think of 2 V8s mated at the crankshaft). This engine, while it only managed to win one race in the back of a Lotus, inspired a couple of small-scale models. The green Best Box Lotus appears to have a 16-cyl engine; the yellow Racing Wheels by Remco Ind. specifically states that it is a "Lotus-BRM H-16" and while the car may look a bit odd, the engine pictured is fairly accurate according to photos I have seen.
A somewhat less complex 12-cyl motor was designed and achieved some success in the early 70's; Pedro Rodriguez won the 1970 Belgium GP in a car similar to this P160 model by Champion of France. Peter Gethin won what is still the fastest GP ever at a pre-chicane Monza in the Italian GP of 1971 in another P160 model like this one here again by Champion of France.
Also during this time BRM built and raced a Can-Am car in 1970-71. The Polistil model pictured here is as usual a great version of this fairly obscure car. Few good results were achieved in North America, however, since the team was already overwhelmed with the F1 efforts.
Wins became very few and far between for the amount of time, effort and money expended at BRM. Design talent, management and top young drivers like Jackie Stewart and Niki Lauda came and went; the team's last GP win was in 1972. The P201 model pictured here by both Polistil and Yatming scored the team's final championship points in 1974. Sponsors finally pulled the plug on the whole outfit in 1976.
BRM's original idea to bring British design and engineering to the forefront of the Grand Prix world was a good one and probably had a positive effect on other's efforts but they unfortunately had difficulty keeping up most of the time. The team did well during the 1.5-liter formula years of 1961-65 but seemed to lose their way after that.
1970 BRM P160 Rodriguez - Champion
1971 BRM P160 Beltoise - Champion
1971 BRM P160 Sippert - Champion
1974 P201 - Polistil
1974 P201 - Yat Ming