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FROM MONOPOSTO TO FORMULA 1


David Taylor, a driver in the first Monoposto race, joined us at Oulton, and wrote a wonderfully evocative piece of reminiscences. After the meeting I asked him why he went against the trends and built a front engined car after his original rear engined one, and what happened after Mono and FJ. Here's his reply. He ran 2 relatively current (ie 2years old) F1 cars.

A good question about my change from rear to front engine layout. The reason is quiet simple I liked the Maserati 250F and wanted a smaller edition. The sports car was a technical challenge to make a very light but rigid frame similar to the Maserati Birdcage. I did sketch some rear engine monocoque designs which later became the vogue but were too complex for me to manufacture.

COOPER F1 T68B CHASSIS NO F1-4-68

My racing ended in 1963 when I got married and started my career as an engineer working with Napiers as a development engineer on the Deltic engine. Later I had another go at racing in 1971 when I came across a complete Cooper F1 T86B which was a non runner. I bought it for about £3500 from Brian Classic in Manchester in 1970 as a complete car but not in running condition. It had been raced by the Cooper F1 team in 1968 with the following results.

Engine: BRM V12 3 Litre two valve heads No 101/01 Gearbox: Hewland DG 301 MK 1.

Race Driver Result
French GP . Vic Elford 4th
British GP Vic Elford Retired
German GP Vic Elford Accident
Canadian GP Vic Elford 5th.
US GP Vic Elford Retired.
Mexican GP Vic Elford 8th

We set up a workshop in Roger Banks garage in Southport and with the help of Roger we stripped the car and engine refurbished as necessary and rebuilt to good running order. We took the car to Oulton Park for a test run. The photo shows me driving it to start with doing about 15 laps. The car handled badly and was quiet frightening to drive which made me decide to take a back seat and only drive in sprints and hill climbs. I came in to the pits and Roger took over setting off with plenty of wheel spin and burnt rubber . He took it slow at first then speeded up to a disastrous result.As he came up Deers leap he lost the rear and went across to the far bank. The car was launched in to the air and flipped up side down with the underside of the car scraping the underside of the foot bridge by the pits. Fortunately the car nosed dived in to the track and flipped over landing on its wheels and sliding past us in the pits.

We rushed over switched off the ignition and got Roger out who was unconscious. I took him to the local hospital where he revived suffering only concussion and a fright. The car was a write off as the chassis tub had broken in two. We salvaged the engine and gear box which later was used in the BRM 153 I acquired.

 

 

BRM, P 153 B/04 1972

I made contact with Tim Parnell who was the BRM team manager at the time, and I knew from an earlier meeting at Chimay F2 meeting. I went over to Bourne and met Tim and had a pub lunch with him. He then showed me around the BRM works which was most interesting ending up in a large shed where all the redundant cars and parts were stored. This was an Aladdin’s cave with bits of every car they had built including V16 engines. Tom Wheatcroft bought the contents when BRM closed. I found a P153 chassis tub and agreed terms to buy it with a full set of suspension and wheels etc. I still have the receipt from BRM.

We collected all the parts and mated the engine and Hewland gearbox in to the chassis. The engine fitted straight in to the chassis as the only difference with the team engines was the two valve heads.

The racing history of the car was as follows, raced by the BRM team in 1970.

Race Driver Result
Monaco GP Jackie Oliver Retired
Belgian GP Jackie Oliver Retired
Dutch GP Jackie Oliver Retired
French GP Jackie Oliver Retired
British GP Jackie Oliver Retired.
German GP Jackie Oliver Retired.
Austrian GP Jackie Oliver 5 th
Gold Cup Jackie Oliver 3 rd.
Canadian GP Jackie Oliver retired.
US GP Jackie Oliver Did not Qualify


We had a few test sessions with the completed car, and I found it to be a joy to drive. It was very forgiving and could be pushed to the limit of adhesion in corners and remained predictable and controllable.
The engine had excellent acceleration out of corners and for our purpose plenty of top end power. I had decided to only drive in sprints and hill climbs, so it was fortunate to meet up with Kim Mather at the Aintree Circuit Club. He had a few test runs in the BRM and performed well and was also a good mechanic and helped set the car up and keep it going with Roger Banks and I who looked after the engine.

COMPETING IN 1973

In 1973 we competed in the following events.

Event Date Driver Result
Aintree 28th July Kim Mather 1st fastest lap.
Longridge 5th August Kim Mather 1st in Class.
Croft 12th August Kim Mather 1st BTD.
Woodvale 19 th August David Taylor 1st BTD
Silverstone 1st September Kim Mather 2nd in Class.
Rufford 2nd September David Taylor 3rd in class.
Curboruogh 9th September Kim Mather 2nd in class and 3rd in class.
Aintree 15 September Kim Mather Outright Lap record 53.8 secs 109.73 mph then engine failure.
Croft 7 October Kim Mather retired after leading Meek.
Oulton Park April 74 David Taylor 1st in class engine trouble.

 

David in BRM taken in Garage. Kim Mather driving - pole position
    Kim Mather on Pole position at Aintree.

I decided to sell the car as the engine was becoming very unreliable. We rebuilt the engine and I sold the car in working order to Hexagon of Highgate. They in turn sold it to Bobby Bell of Bell and Colville who still owns the car. He keeps it over in Bourne and races it a few times a year in historic races.

BRM.
They were very helpful and supplied parts for the engine and were delighted with the reports in Autosport saying BRM wins again. The names I remember are Tim Parnell team manager, Wilki Wilkinson,Niel Walker, Syd Slater, and Marshall in stores. They were good engineers and produced high quality engines and cars. However the detailed design of the V12 engines and cars were not as good as they should have been, making them generally uncompetitive in F1 except for wins by Pedro Rodriguez in the Belgian GP, Jean-Pierre Beltoise at Monaco in the rain, Peter Gethin at Monza and Jo Siffert in Asutria. The record of my car when raced by the BRM team in 1970 shows a poor result retiring in 5 races out of the 8 it entered. It was a great pity that the BRM team were not taken over by Ron Dennis or Colin Chapman and Keith Duckworth. However BRM made a valuable contribution to motor racing over a period of more than 25 years and had a share of success winning the world championship with Graham Hill.

THE BRM 3 LITRE V12 ENGINE.
I got to know the one I raced very well, as Roger Banks and I spent some time working on it to keep it going in race condition. It is a straight forward V12 with chain driven camshafts. One design problem was the camshafts were long and flexible which I suspect caused variations to the valve timing. The big end bearings were unreliable, failing with con rods through the crank case. At first I thought the bearing pressures were too high particularly on the over run at high RPM. However I discovered quite by accident what the problem was. The con rod fitted bolts used very flimsy steel washers under the head of the bolt. These washers were beautifully made with thin wall section. I discussed this with BRM asking why they used this thin washer. I was told it was a BRM tradition first used on the V16 engine and in the opinion of the engine man I spoke to should not have been used on the V12. but were. To test my theory I set the torque wrench slightly higher than required and tightened the con rod bolt. The result was the washer burst and left the bolt loose. I discarded all the thin washers and used a commercial flat washer and from then on we did not have a big end failure.

The power output was smooth giving good acceleration and a pleasure to drive. This must have been the main reason Beltoise won the Monaco GP in the rain. However the top end power was not a match with the Cosworth DFV, as shown on the track.

The BRM V12 main components BRM V12 Installed.... ...and fully assembled

 

Disclaimer: The above represents only the unofficial view of the writer and not of the Monoposto Racing Club in any way whatsover. Subheadlines and captions are not originated from the named author. We are unable to reproduce results due to copyright reasons. If any pictures are copyright and the owner wishes them removed please email us.