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  Article Image gallery (54) 258 Specifications  
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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced from:1955 - 1959
Numbers built:11
Predecessor:BRM Type 30 'V16'
Successor:BRM P48
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:September 09, 2010
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Click here to download printer friendly versionBRM's first attempt to bring Grand Prix success to Great Britain failed miserably due to the complexity of V16-engined racing car, but also the equally complex management structure. It had all started with high hopes in the late forties when rich entrepreneurs and talented engineers joined forces to form British Racing Motors (BRM). There was not one supremo, but instead all decisions were 'by committee', which was definitely not the most effective way. The engineers came up with a very advanced 1.5 litre V16-engined single seater, that never lived up to its 550 bhp potential. The team struggled on for a few years until one of the founders, Alfred Owen, stepped up and bought the team in its entirety late in 1952.

By this time the V16 BRM was no longer eligible for Grands Prix, but it continued to be campaigned in Formula Libre events. It was also further developed and several victories were scored, but all in minor races. Five years after the V16's debut, work was finally started on a new Formula 1 car. This time simplicity was the keyword, but the team still persevered with their founding principle of having every major part designed in-house. There were a few bits ordered from specialized suppliers; specialized British suppliers of course. At first glance, the resulting BRM Type 25 (not P25 as it is often erroneously called) was certainly a more simple affair, but there were again some unique features that not necessarily improved the car's chances for success.

The biggest contrast to the high revving V16 of the previous BRM was the twin-cam 2.5 litre four cylinder, designed from scratch by Stuart Tressillian. He opted for an unusual big bore to allow for very big valves to be fitted. The nationalistic principles were set aside for the two twin-choke Webers. The engine was installed in a straightforward steel ladder-frame chassis with wishbone and coil spring suspension at the front and a DeDion axle at the rear with a transverse leaf spring. The four speed transaxle sported another oddity; a single disc brake used to slow both rear wheels down. At the front a conventional setup was chosen with Lockheed discs. Cast alloy wheels were used instead of the still very popular wire-wheels.

In September 1955 the Type 25 debuted at a local race at Aintree. It was relatively quick straight away, but there were handling and reliable problems that would dog the car throughout its career. The big valves were a weak spot and oil and dirt build-up on the single rear brake was another major issue. For 1956 Mike Hawthorn and Tony Brooks were hired, but other than some spectacular crashes, they did not manage to grab attention. At the end of the season Brooks took off; he did not want anything to do with the horrible BRM anymore. There were some revisions carried through for the 1957 season, but BRM again failed to impress. To add insult to injury, Vanwall scored that elusive first British Grand Prix win in thirty years.

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  Article Image gallery (54) 258 Specifications