That's two out of three accounted for.
British Racing Motors (BRM) made the news multiple times this year following the discovery of three of its original F1 race engines from the 1950s. To bring you up to speed, BRM was a big name back in the early days of Formula 1. It designed a 1.5-liter supercharged V16 mated to a five-speed manual transmission. The engine produced 591 horsepower and was capable of revving up to 12,000 rpm. Unfortunately, it was about as reliable as a 1990s Alfa Romeo. There's nothing like it today unless you count the Bugatti Chiron or the Cadillac Sixteen concept car. Three engines were produced, and they lay dormant for decades until BRM rebuilt a P15 race car for the son of BRM's owner, John Owen, and now we know who the second one is for.
The second customer has been confirmed as Richard Mille, known as a racing fan, racing sponsor, and racing car collector. Mille is perhaps better known for his line of watches that carries his name. He already has a couple of BRM racing cars in his collection, including a Mk 1 BRM V16 and a P30 V16 Mk 2.
The team behind the project called it the Chrysalis. Owen watched his dad, Sir Alfred Owen, toiling away on the V16 engine as a young boy. He took delivery in September and gave it some stick at the 2021 Goodwood Revival. BRM is now taking the next step in reviving the famous V16 engine. The team in charge of the Chrysalis project, Hall and Hall, will now build the second all-new BRM V16 using the original blueprints and drawings from BRM's archive.
"I have been a huge BRM fan for many years," said Richard Mille. "Ever since I started collecting historic cars more than 15 years ago, in fact. I knew I was becoming serious about BRM when I invested in the wonderful P115 H16 - but there is something I find particularly fascinating about the V16. Not only is it, to my eye, the most beautiful Formula 1 car of its time, but it is also the most technically complex, particularly if you think about the technology of the day. Anybody who knows my watches will know that I admire technical complexity, attention to detail, and quality," he added. "And for me, the V16 represents all of these elements in one beautiful package. I believe it's our duty to preserve these incredible pieces of automotive art, and this is a unique opportunity to do just that."
To build another Chrysalis, Hall and Hall will use more than 36,000 individually engineered parts. The build will take about 24 months to complete. Now that two of the three original verified V16 engines have been claimed, only one remains. With 24 months worth of work to do, it will likely be a while before we find out who will get number three. If we had to place a bet, our money would be on Jay Leno.
"This is wonderful news for BRM and for all our fans everywhere," said John Owen. "With Richard's support, we are giving more and more enthusiasts the chance to hear the unique sound of the V16 again - keeping the BRM legend alive for future generations."