on 29 December 2003
Now reissued in an unnumbered unlimited edition, this magnificent book covers the genesis of the BRM project and the first two generations of BRM cars. It also takes asides into the life stories of Raymond Mays and Peter Berthon, the ERA project that indirectly gave rise to BRM, and looks at the Maserati that Owen ran when BRM weren't ready in 1954.
This is really the story of two cars though - one far too complex, the other simple but overlong in its gestation.
The first, THE BRM to many, is the gloriously complex V16 single-seater, a car so powerful, so complex, so underdeveloped and so downright frightening that even drivers of the calibre of Moss were afraid of it. The failure of the V16 to achieve significant success on the international scene is contrasted with its performance in short-distance races in Britain - not what the cars were built for.... - and the demise of the formula for which it was built is at least partly laid at BRM's feet.
BRM's original support via a network of British engineering companies soon faded and the team found itself owned by the Owen Organisation - Sir Alfred's company making it an R&D operation as well as a race team.
The second half of the book covers the Owen Racing Organisation's experiences running a Maserati while their own much simpler four-cylinder car was prepared for the 2.5l formula, how that car arrived late and was initially uncompetitive and how it was finally developed into possibly the best front-engined Grand Prix car ever built.
Nye covers everything - races, test sessions, meetings between the key players - and reproduces many original documents, aided by reminiscences from the late and sadly missed Tony Rudd.
This is a huge, copiously-illustrated and wonderfully readable volume, the first of a projected four volumes on BRM.
It is unmissable by anyone with an interest in the subject.