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Why so few different F1 engines in the '70s?


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#1 HistoryFan

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 11:47

Similar to the question in the Racing Comments I want to know: Why were there just a few different F1 engines in the 70s? There were much different chassis, but engines? It was the era of the Cosworth engine, but why were there no interests from other engine maker or from factories like Honda, BMW and so on?

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#2 David Wright

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 12:29

Similar to the question in the Racing Comments I want to know: Why were there just a few different F1 engines in the 70s? There were much different chassis, but engines? It was the era of the Cosworth engine, but why were there no interests from other engine maker or from factories like Honda, BMW and so on?


Just off the top of my head there were F1 engines from BRM, Ferrari, Matra, Alfa Romeo and Renault. I'm sure others will chip in with others.


#3 Allan Lupton

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 12:35

Well that's history for you!
There was a time, remembered with fondness by those of us of a certain age, when Grand Prix cars were made as a whole by some company or other so in the 1950s it was quite a surprise when Lotus-Climax and Cooper-Climax appeared.

Having been tempted into that market, although they had lost money developing the "Godiva" V8 Coventry Climax developed other racing engines and various companies other than Lotus and Cooper appeared and used those proprietory engines. Those companies were referred to rather dismissively as "garagists" by a certain Italian who continued to make the whole car.

Ford having been persuaded to back the Cosworth DFV for Lotus later offered the engine to other companies and a few more "garagists" appeared. As I recall there were some other engines in the 3-litre Formula including a rehash of the V12 Maserati engine of the 1950s, an Alfa Romeo engine and BRM which not only made the whole car but sold engines elsewhere. As the Cosworth engines took the victories and most of the places, it is clear that the others were "not as good".

One must also remember that although Grand Prix racing was supposed to be the pinnacle of the sport there was not the money in it that there is today (even in relative terms) - and then as now developing a racing engine to beat the best of the time is not done cheaply.

#4 alansart

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 13:44

Just off the top of my head there were F1 engines from BRM, Ferrari, Matra, Alfa Romeo and Renault. I'm sure others will chip in with others.


...Tecno.

IIRC Chris Amon tried to develop an engine but they tended to go bang before they reached the track.

Edited by alansart, 03 August 2012 - 16:21.


#5 Amphicar

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 14:26

Just off the top of my head there were F1 engines from BRM, Ferrari, Matra, Alfa Romeo and Renault. I'm sure others will chip in with others.

Before the 70s but in the same 3 litre engine formula were the Repco V8 used by the Brabham team to win two World Drivers Championships and the glorious Weslake V12 used by Dan Gurney to win the 1967 Belgian Grand Prix.

#6 scheivlak

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 14:35

Just off the top of my head there were F1 engines from BRM, Ferrari, Matra, Alfa Romeo and Renault. I'm sure others will chip in with others.

But not all of them at the same time  ;)

In 1975 you had just 2 Ferraris, one very occasional Shadow-Matra and an entire army of Cossies. BRM disappeared after a few races, being not competitive anymore.

In 1967/68 you had BRM, Honda, Maserati, Repco, Matra and Weslake engines as well. But it was so much easier and economical to have a DFV, not worry about an engine anymore and just concentrate on your chassis. Remember Ferrari, having to develop both chassis and engine, only survived with FIAT subsidies and were on a painful low in 1973 when their chassis didn't work.

We should be glad that Renault took a step into the deep with their turbo project, and even they had a difficult start and became only partially successful after two years in the wilderness.



#7 David Wright

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 14:57

In 1967/68 you had BRM, Honda, Maserati, Repco, Matra and Weslake engines as well.


I think this probably helps explain the situation in the 70's - the DFV was so superior to the likes of Repco, Honda, Maserati and Weslake that it killed them off.



But it was so much easier and economical to have a DFV, not worry about an engine anymore and just concentrate on your chassis. Remember Ferrari, having to develop both chassis and engine, only survived with FIAT subsidies and were on a painful low in 1973 when their chassis didn't work.


I think this a key point. Rather than wondering why there were so few engines when there were so many chassis - the key is the availability of the DFV led to a huge growth in F1 constructors. While in 67 there were 7 constructors each with their own engine, in 1975 there were more than double that number of constructors.



#8 HistoryFan

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 15:09

But why weren't companies like BMW or Honda interested in F1 in these days?

#9 doc knutsen

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 15:16

But why weren't companies like BMW or Honda interested in F1 in these days?


Honda, of couse, were in F1 from 1964, Ronnie Bucknum debuting the car at the Nurburgring. But very little was shown on TV back then...and Marketing was either not interested...or unaware. Anyway, Honda was not a big car manufacturer yet. Nor were BMW.
Porsche tried its hand with the flat-8 in 1962, but only managed a single victory, and a fluke at that. Mercedes-Benz made a big impact in 1954/55, but then decided to withdraw.

#10 rl1856

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 15:20


Besdies the aforementioned engines, didn't Techno produce their own flat 12 which appeared at a few races in 73?

Larger issue for much of the decade may have been an economic climate that was not conducive to the massive investment required in creating, developing and operating a proprietary engine. On the other hand it was very easy to purchase an off the shelf DFV and then concentrate on chassis design.

Best, Ross


#11 Amphicar

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 15:20

But why weren't companies like BMW or Honda interested in F1 in these days?

Possibly because a 3 litre F1 racing engine had very little relevance to those companies' road cars. By contrast, once Renault had pioneered the 1.5 litre turbo engine, the way was open for BMW and Honda to develop engines that were (or could be presented as being) relevant to their production engines. Remember that this was the time when turbocharging was becoming widespread in high performance road cars. In the case of BMW, the F1 engine was actually developed from a road car block.

#12 scheivlak

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 15:45

But why weren't companies like BMW or Honda interested in F1 in these days?

For companies like Honda or BMW F1 is mainly interesting if you're a winner. They're not there just to throw some money around.

Honda tried the difficult route -developing both chassis and engine- in the sixties but withdrew in 1968 after their RA302 disaster. I can imagine that returning to F1 after that nightmare was not high on their priority list.
BMW was in F2 late in the sixties, but their chassis was developed by or with serious input from others (Lola, Dornier). I guess the experience made them realise that going F1 all the way as a competitor should be a risky step, both from a sporting and financial point of view.
So they kept a safe and successful image in touring cars and as an engine manufacturer in F2.

F1 constructors kept their trust in the DFV until it became clear in the early eighties that a turbo could be an alternative and even a necessary one to compete with the likes of Ferrari and Renault. The FIA/FOCA war in the early eighties resulted in bigger budgets for constructors and at the same time a restriction on aero, which made the power output even more important. At the same time TV coverage became far more global and extended, which made it more interesting to bring F1 as a showcase for engine manufacturers. And, like Amphicar said, the BMW engine was already there waiting for use.

Just my 2 cents....

Edited by scheivlak, 03 August 2012 - 16:09.


#13 john aston

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 15:52

Err... it's Tecno not Techno. Their engine was pants but sounded fabulous when working on all 12. Pedantically yours.

#14 Bob Riebe

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 18:02

I believe that increasing govt. regulations making auto racing an evil sport had an influence, especially after the oil embargo.
At the time I had the same feeling of HistoryFan as I had an opportunity to go to the Long Beach race and the fact it had become a glorified Formula Ford made me decide to not go.

It was McLaren's use of a myriad of odd engines plus Maserati's victories with an old engine that made me expect Formula One to always be a haven for variety.

#15 Charlieman

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 18:43

I'm not sure of the truth of the proposition. Here are the constructors who competed in 1970 and 1979.

1970:
March
Tyrrell
Matra *
McLaren ** Alfa + DFV
Surtees
Lotus
Brabham
Ferrari *
BRM *
De Tomaso (Williams)
Bellasi

11 chassis manufacturers, 5 engine manufacturers, 8 constructors in the points

1979:
Lotus
Tyrrell
Brabham ** Alfa + DFV
McLaren
ATS
Ferrari *
Fittipaldi
Renault *
Shadow
Wolf
Ensign
Merzario
Ligier
Williams
Arrows
Alfa Romeo *
Kauhsen

17 chassis manufacturers, 4 engine manufacturers, 12 constructors in the points

Five of the 1970 constructors were still in the game in 1979, plus two others (Williams and Ligier) who could claim succession rights. Surtees and March were also credible competitors for most of the 1970s, although sadly not BRM.

Thus we can conclude that although there were many new chassis constructors during the 1970s, a core from 1970 and earlier were still around the top when the decade ended. Garagiste constructors using the Cosworth/Hewland package could buy the same one as top teams (funds permitting) but even the good ones like Surtees found it tough. Wolf Racing had one amazing season, before fading.

The only engine that survived the decade was the DFV, although Matra had a comeback with Ligier.

Key changes over the decade are internationalisation, the arrival of volume car manufacturers, greater commercial sponsorship and "proper" TV coverage. And a few years later, F1 totally exploded with new teams, new engines and some fantastically dodgy owners.



#16 Ray Bell

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 19:38

With the DFV and Ferrari the only engines, F1 became incredibly competitive, very little difference in times between the front and the back of the grid...

What you have to see with the DFV powering so many of the cars was the level of refinement of the cars otherwise. For instance, it was during this period that teams went away from Hewland's own gearbox casing and for various reasons cast their own to contain the familiar gears, some including things like oil tanks in the housings. They were able to work in wind tunnels, too, and with the influx of sponsorship combined with a known engine budget they built their own.

Whether this was for the good or for the bad is a matter of opinion. I'd certainly prefer to hear a variety of engines, but I know some people who raved about the sound of the DFV anyway.

#17 Amphicar

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 20:12

The greatest variety of engines in F1 must surely have been in 1966, the first year of the 3 litre "return to power". By my reckoning engines from 9 different manufacturers were used: Ford, Serenissima, Climax, BRM, Repco, Ferrari, Maserati, Weslake and Honda. This included engines with 4, 6, 8, 12 and 16 cylinders and if we look at different models of engine, the number used is 14.

Of course this variety was mainly due to the fact that there were hardly any purpose-built 3 litre F1 engines available in 1966. Consequently many teams resorted to all manner of bored out or sleeved down engines, or ones adapted from production cars or sports car racing. It isn't surprising that these makeweights were abandoned as soon as a proper 3.0 litre racing engine became available in the form of the Ford Cosworth DFV.

#18 scheivlak

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 20:41

The greatest variety of engines in F1 must surely have been in 1966, the first year of the 3 litre "return to power". By my reckoning engines from 9 different manufacturers were used: Ford, Serenissima, Climax, BRM, Repco, Ferrari, Maserati, Weslake and Honda.


Very different Climax (including a Godiva.....), BRM and Ferrari engines as well.
But as you said, that was mainly related to the fact that hardly anybody was ready.

Edited by scheivlak, 03 August 2012 - 20:41.


#19 scheivlak

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 20:45

Whether this was for the good or for the bad is a matter of opinion. I'd certainly prefer to hear a variety of engines, but I know some people who raved about the sound of the DFV anyway.

Yes, I felt very sad already at the start of the 1973 Dutch GP without the sound of a Ferrari or Matra engine.
It was Formula SuperFord with 3 BRMs and a rather uncompetitive Tecno.

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#20 Ray Bell

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 21:07

Climaxes in the early days of the 3-litre F1 came in three kinds...

The Godiva revisited, the 2.7-litre version of the FPF and the 2-litre version of the FWMV.

#21 Amphicar

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 22:01

Climaxes in the early days of the 3-litre F1 came in three kinds...

The Godiva revisited, the 2.7-litre version of the FPF and the 2-litre version of the FWMV.

BRMs also came in three sorts in 1966: the P56 2.0 V8, the P60 1.9 V8 and the P75 3.0 H16. In 1967 it was 4 sorts: the P56 2.0 V8,the P60 V8 increased to 2.1 litres, the P75 H16 and the P142 3.0 V12.

#22 Slurp1955

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Posted 04 August 2012 - 08:08

.... and Pratt & Whitney in 1971 :cool:

#23 Amphicar

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Posted 04 August 2012 - 08:33

BRMs also came in three sorts in 1966: the P56 2.0 V8, the P60 1.9 V8 and the P75 3.0 H16. In 1967 it was 4 sorts: the P56 2.0 V8,the P60 V8 increased to 2.1 litres, the P75 H16 and the P142 3.0 V12.

I knew the answer to this at the time but have forgotten: why did Bruce McLaren get first use of the P142 V12 in 1967 when the works BRM team soldiered on with the H16 until 1968? Was it perhaps that the V12 was originally intended to be BRM's customer engine?

#24 David McKinney

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Posted 04 August 2012 - 09:48

The V12 was reportedly designed as a customer sportscar engine. McLaren no doubt considered it a better prospect than the 2.2-litre BRM V8 engine he had used earlier in the season



#25 Ray Bell

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Posted 04 August 2012 - 11:36

Where, then, do the instructions 'from above' to the Tasman Cup team sent out in 1968 should concentrate on the V12 in that series have relevance?

Were they pushing to get customers for the engine, intending to show that it had performed well in the Tasman events as evidence that it would do well in sports car races?

#26 D-Type

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Posted 04 August 2012 - 12:47

Was the V12 designed as a "customer engine" or as a "customer sports car engine"? Is there really a difference? By 1966 F1 cars had to have self-starters so even that difference had gone. Clearly a sports car engine has to last longer, but a cash-strapped customer Formula 1 team might well try to run two - or even three - races between rebuilds.

#27 RCH

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Posted 04 August 2012 - 13:08

ISTR that BRM intended that the H16 was to be the front line F1 engine, once it was proved to be the class of the field then the customers would be falling over themselves to get hold of it so they wouldn't want the V12, which was therefore considered to be a customer sports car engine. It took 'em 2 years to work out that it wasn't going to be that way!

#28 john aston

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Posted 04 August 2012 - 16:50

I believe that increasing govt. regulations making auto racing an evil sport had an influence, especially after the oil embargo.
At the time I had the same feeling of HistoryFan as I had an opportunity to go to the Long Beach race and the fact it had become a glorified Formula Ford made me decide to not go.

It was McLaren's use of a myriad of odd engines plus Maserati's victories with an old engine that made me expect Formula One to always be a haven for variety.


Don't know about USA but government regulations have not had any effect so far as I know on the diversity of F1 engines...If you look what happened after the DFV got too long in the tooth there was a huge diversity- starting with Renault's V6 turbo which changed everybody's game...... eventually.

Edited by john aston, 04 August 2012 - 16:52.


#29 doc knutsen

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 07:01

Don't know about USA but government regulations have not had any effect so far as I know on the diversity of F1 engines...If you look what happened after the DFV got too long in the tooth there was a huge diversity- starting with Renault's V6 turbo which changed everybody's game...... eventually.


Surely the DFV still ruled at the time that Renault introduced the V6 turbo?. What Renault did was to use the regulation loophole of allowing "supercharged" 1500cc engines, which was introduced with the 3-litre regulations for 1966. The intention would be to encourace people with atmo 1500s left over from the 1961-65 period to stick a supercharger on their redundant engines and go on racing along with the newfangled 3-litre motors...


#30 john aston

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 07:06

Absolutely the DFV was virtually the only show in town when Renault launched the V6. That's why many people thought Renault were being either very brave or very naive in introducing the turbo V6. Everybody knew about the 1500cc s/c option but most people wrote it off as an historical anomaly. Odd really in hindsight as the turbo was commonly used in USA and cars such as 911 turbo- '74 ? and BMW2002 turbo- '72? were notoriously quick.

My clumsily made point was that after the turbo was established as the way to go and DFV was past its sell by date we had a huge diversity of engines- 4s 6s and 8s from small builders like Hart and Zakspeed and big guys like Honda and Alfa etc. I therefore disagreed with the quoted post about government regs affecting F1 at all

#31 Ristin

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 07:41

I have a strong feeling that in those days you needed a CEO who was fond of Formula 1 and wanting to be part of it. After all, it still was considered a sport and not a business decision.

#32 Roger Clark

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 08:24

Absolutely the DFV was virtually the only show in town when Renault launched the V6. That's why many people thought Renault were being either very brave or very naive in introducing the turbo V6. Everybody knew about the 1500cc s/c option but most people wrote it off as an historical anomaly. Odd really in hindsight as the turbo was commonly used in USA and cars such as 911 turbo- '74 ? and BMW2002 turbo- '72? were notoriously quick.

My clumsily made point was that after the turbo was established as the way to go and DFV was past its sell by date we had a huge diversity of engines- 4s 6s and 8s from small builders like Hart and Zakspeed and big guys like Honda and Alfa etc. I therefore disagreed with the quoted post about government regs affecting F1 at all

Hadn't Ferrari just won the Constructors' Championship three years in succession? The DFV had reached the limit of its development potential and it was weight of numbers and later, superior chassis design that sustained it. The capacity equivalence rules in formula 1 were much less favourable to turbos than in most other forms of racing. Until Renault appeared, the builders of Formula 1 engines were generally conservative: Cosworth had a good business and no reason to risk it. Ferrari were doing well with the Flat-12 and perhaps had historic reasons to prefer a normally aspirated engine. Renault had the advantage of a proven basis for their formula 1 engine and the opportunity to prove superior technology in a way that helped sales.

We should also not forget the advances in electronic engine management systems which made turbo formula 1 engines usable.

#33 Roger Clark

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 08:25

I have a strong feeling that in those days you needed a CEO who was fond of Formula 1 and wanting to be part of it. After all, it still was considered a sport and not a business decision.

I don't think that Renault entered Formula 1 for the sport, any more than Mercedes-Benz did in the 30s and 50s.

#34 Stephen W

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 11:02

Similar to the question in the Racing Comments I want to know: Why were there just a few different F1 engines in the 70s? There were much different chassis, but engines? It was the era of the Cosworth engine, but why were there no interests from other engine maker or from factories like Honda, BMW and so on?


Maybe you should be asking why Ferrari didn't sell its engines?

As for why people like Honda, BMW and so on didn't come into challenge the rest it probably comes down to the amount of money it would have cost to design, build & test a challenget to the god old Cossie DFV.

#35 HistoryFan

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 11:30

Interesting question: Why didn't Ferrari sell their engines to other teams?
Perhaps they would like to do it, but Cosworth was cheaper?

#36 Roger Clark

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 12:16

Enzo Ferrari could never understand how selling engines to his competitors would help him win races.

#37 doc knutsen

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 17:33

I don't think that Renault entered Formula 1 for the sport, any more than Mercedes-Benz did in the 30s and 50s.


But how things change...to-day, Mercedes-Benz are obviously in it for the sport. Why else would they plug on with their works team, hoping to make the top six ;)


#38 Duc-Man

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 19:10

Interesting question: Why didn't Ferrari sell their engines to other teams?
Perhaps they would like to do it, but Cosworth was cheaper?



Enzo Ferrari could never understand how selling engines to his competitors would help him win races.


I think it was because he was afraid of being beaten by a customer team... :blush:

#39 D-Type

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 19:23

It's not so much a question of "Why didn't Ferrari sell engines to other teams?" as "Why did BRM do so?". Nobody else sold their current engines to the competition

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#40 Ray Bell

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 21:11

That can be answered by going back through old magazines, I'm sure...

BRM were under pressure to deliver results for all the investment, selling engines was another 'result'.

#41 uechtel

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 08:21

BRM did supply F1 engines since 1962 just like Lotus, Brabham etc did sell chassis while at the same time running their own factory teams. The income of this was probably part of their business plan and the factory team some kind of promotion for this. Win on Sunday sell on Monday...

#42 jeffbee

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 12:06

BRM did supply F1 engines since 1962 just like Lotus, Brabham etc did sell chassis while at the same time running their own factory teams. The income of this was probably part of their business plan and the factory team some kind of promotion for this. Win on Sunday sell on Monday...


The engines that BRM sold from 1962 onwards weren't to the same spec as the works team raced. Understandably, the kept the best and most up to date versions for themselves.

#43 Allan Lupton

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 12:54

The engines that BRM sold from 1962 onwards weren't to the same spec as the works team raced. Understandably, the kept the best and most up to date versions for themselves.

Which is why the only race an H-16 BRM engine won was when it was mounted in a Lotus?

#44 uechtel

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 14:49

The engines that BRM sold from 1962 onwards weren't to the same spec as the works team raced. Understandably, the kept the best and most up to date versions for themselves.


Of course. My comment was intended to answer the question why BRM were selling engines and thereby "strengthen" the opposition, when they ran a team of their own. And also the answer, why Ferrari didnĀ“t sell engines, he simply did have a different business plan and therefore different sources of income.

It may perhaps also answer the question why they were using the H16 for themselves and offered the V12 for the clients.

Which is why the only race an H-16 BRM engine won was when it was mounted in a Lotus?


Well, either they regared Lotus as "special technology partner" or they did get a lot money?

#45 kayemod

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 15:04

The engines that BRM sold from 1962 onwards weren't to the same spec as the works team raced. Understandably, the kept the best and most up to date versions for themselves.


Possibly any suggestion that BRM were fobbing their customers off with poor engines is a little unfair, back then most teams had difficulty fielding two of their own cars that were of the same standard, engines varied in the same way, and naturally they'd keep the best ones for themselves. There ware good and less good twin-cams at Lotus, and the exact reasons were often a mystery to those building them, racing engines would have varied in the same way, for often inexplicable reasons.

On any suggestion that Lotus got better H-16s because they paid a lot, never in a million years at the Lotus I worked for!

#46 sterling49

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 15:48

Err... it's Tecno not Techno. Their engine was pants but sounded fabulous when working on all 12. Pedantically yours.



It did, but it was not very often, poor Chris Amon !

#47 alansart

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 16:31

It did, but it was not very often, poor Chris Amon !


The Tecno sounded good....apart from when a mechanic drove it up and down the Silverstone Club Straight at 5.30am on race day 1973. I happened to be kipping in a tent a few feet away at the time :eek:

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#48 arttidesco

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 16:40

It did, but it was not very often, poor Chris Amon !


Had the Pederzani brothers ever designed any sort of a motor before taking on the flat 12 ?

#49 doc knutsen

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 18:21

It's not so much a question of "Why didn't Ferrari sell engines to other teams?" as "Why did BRM do so?". Nobody else sold their current engines to the competition



BRM was meant to be run as a business, part of their business plan was to provide engines for sale to customer teams, in oder to offset the costs of running the works team. Much like the 1000cc F2 engine, which was never meant for a works chassis. Also, there was and the development work on the Lotus/Ford Twincam engine and such projects as the BRM Elan.

Edited by doc knutsen, 07 August 2012 - 18:22.


#50 kayemod

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 19:05

...there was and the development work on the Lotus/Ford Twincam engine and such projects as the BRM Elan.


The BRM developed Lotus Twincam became the Elan Sprint 130 engine, more or less, which eventually went into most Elans, Elan+2s & Europas. I don't know if that was "official", but that's what it was. It seemed to arrive along with Tony Rudd, but I can't think that BRM ever made a significant amount of money from the project, or any others come to that.