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Ex-John Surtees BRM P139-01


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#1 Myhinpaa

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Posted 17 November 2022 - 22:45

This car looks amazingly unspoilt and original! Hopefully it will be preserved or sympathetically recommissioned rather than restored. 

 

714217.jpg

 

More photos in the advert: https://williamianso...ula-1-for-sale/

 

As I understand 3 P139 were made, and all three have survived in private collections, but "01" might be a unique case?

 

(I have no affiliation with neither the owner or seller of this car.)



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#2 Gary C

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Posted 18 November 2022 - 05:44

Aside; I helped Will when he first started in Historic Formula Ford with the HSCC. He was running a Nike like mine. Somewhere I have a photo of both of us in close proximity at Brands, two Nikes in the same race, which must have been unusual.

#3 GazChed

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Posted 18 November 2022 - 09:21

Aside; I helped Will when he first started in Historic Formula Ford with the HSCC. He was running a Nike like mine. Somewhere I have a photo of both of us in close proximity at Brands, two Nikes in the same race, which must have been unusual.


Even further aside, a pair of Nikes have competed in the Castle Combe Formula Ford series in recent seasons, Alan Slater in a Mk4 and Peter Hannam in a Mk6. Apologies for drifting, back to subject.

#4 Gary C

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Posted 18 November 2022 - 09:35

....I've a feeling the Alan Slater car was mine.

#5 Charlieman

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Posted 18 November 2022 - 11:16

Does anyone know why BRM chose to build their own gearbox? Were there significant limitations with Hewland gearboxes at the time?



#6 Doug Nye

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Posted 18 November 2022 - 12:50

Hewland gearboxes were regarded by many of their users as an affordable expedient that was reliable enough.  Colin Chapman described them once as "that bunch of old mangle gears".  BRM gearboxes were designed and manufactured virtually regardless of cost.  Few were made and most proved very reliable, with - as in any extreme use - the occasional significant exception. Generally, they were very highly regarded.

 

DCN


Edited by Doug Nye, 18 November 2022 - 12:51.


#7 D-Type

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Posted 18 November 2022 - 13:00

Does anyone know why BRM chose to build their own gearbox? Were there significant limitations with Hewland gearboxes at the time?

I think it was a combination of principle, culture and tradition.  BRM were manufacturers, not assemblers of bought-in elements, with the only exception being the 1961 Coventry Climax engines which was not particularly successful.  Rather than adapt their design to suit the Hewland they preferred to design their own gearbox as an integral part of their design.



#8 Ray Bell

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Posted 18 November 2022 - 13:37

Didn't they also have a six-speed in the 1.5-litre days?

 

It's also true that they broke a few when they brought the 2-litre versions of the V8s to the wide brown land. Stewart, for instance, lost the Australian Grand Prix at Lakeside after breaking his.



#9 10kDA

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Posted 18 November 2022 - 15:18

This car looks amazingly unspoilt and original! Hopefully it will be preserved or sympathetically recommissioned rather than restored. 

 

Absolutely. A clean-up, fix-up, and just enough paint-up to address the removal of the storage corrosion would be ideal.



#10 Bikr7549

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Posted 18 November 2022 - 15:23

Does anyone know why BRM chose to build their own gearbox? Were there significant limitations with Hewland gearboxes at the time?

 

And the Hewlands were not available till early 1960's, well after BRM started building cars.



#11 Doug Nye

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Posted 19 November 2022 - 09:17

When times became hard - 1967ish-1969 and economies were enforced, BRM did resort to Hewland on occasion.  But more from expediency than choice.

 

DCN



#12 AllanL

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Posted 19 November 2022 - 13:55

I dimly recall, so it may well be rubbish, that John Surtees had an interesting time with the engineering side at BRM during his sojourn. One visible modification that I thought that resulted was a broader flatter nose that was similar to the TS5.

 

I suppose that Volume 4 will elucidate....

 

Sighs, grabs coat and ducks for door.................



#13 Roger Clark

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Posted 19 November 2022 - 14:10

This car looks amazingly unspoilt and original! Hopefully it will be preserved or sympathetically recommissioned rather than restored. 

 

714217.jpg

 

More photos in the advert: https://williamianso...ula-1-for-sale/

 

As I understand 3 P139 were made, and all three have survived in private collections, but "01" might be a unique case?

 

(I have no affiliation with neither the owner or seller of this car.)

Did the P139 ever have a 2-valve engine?



#14 Roger Clark

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Posted 21 November 2022 - 08:48

Did the P139 ever have a 2-valve engine?

If I may answer my own question, the P139 always raced with a 4-valve engine ( exhausts in the vee, inlets outside), while the car in the picture has a 2-valve engine. However, we can see two 4-valve cylinder heads among the spares so the car could be brought closer to originality. I can’t see any camshafts though. 



#15 Myhinpaa

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Posted 21 November 2022 - 10:02

An excerpt from the description on how and why it ended up with a 2-valve P101 engine, instead of the correct 4-valve P142.

 

BRM-P139-01.jpg



#16 Derwent Motorsport

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Posted 21 November 2022 - 10:24

So has the car remained unused for the past 50 years?  Presumably its whereabouts would be known to the like of Doug Nye?



#17 Charlieman

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Posted 21 November 2022 - 11:13

And the Hewlands were not available till early 1960's, well after BRM started building cars.

BRM built their first gearbox for the V16s using inspiration from pre-war Mercedes-Benz. They built gearboxes for 2.5 and 1.5 litre rear engined cars -- quite well, it appears. At the time they did not have much of a choice. However none of these earlier designs was appropriate for the V12 pumping out 400+ bhp so BRM designed a new five speed box. (I'm unclear how this was related to the H16 gearbox.)

 

Gearbox design and manufacture are specialist activities. If we look at the history of 1950s and 1960s rear engined cars, we can see how difficult those activities are. Cooper continually fettled the ESRA/Jack Knight designs, Colotti gearboxes were initially unreliable, and even a big firm like ZF struggled in the early Lotus 49/Cosworth period. Other Lotus experiments are best forgotten...

 

I can understand why a constructor would make a gearbox out of necessity or because they could make a significant improvement (six speeds). However BRM had already established that the Hewland options were good enough. Not Invented Here was part of BRM's mentality but I struggle to understand why they thought they could do better. If you are taking a design risk, surely there has to be a significant benefit?



#18 rl1856

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Posted 21 November 2022 - 13:01

Why was the P139 so uncompetitive ?  The V12 showed promise in 68, and their chassis design was adequate, Surtees may have lost a few 10ths but he was still a very capable driver.



#19 Doug Nye

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Posted 21 November 2022 - 13:45

To answer the above adequately - including John Surtees's take on the situation - would take much space within an entire book...

 

DCN



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#20 Charlieman

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Posted 21 November 2022 - 14:12

Re 1969 F1 season

 

BRM were uncompetitive for the same reasons as Ferrari: Tyrrell/Matra were really strong and three other teams shadowed them. John Surtees was on the grid with six other past or future world champions. 



#21 Michael Oliver

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Posted 21 November 2022 - 14:13

So has the car remained unused for the past 50 years?  Presumably its whereabouts would be known to the like of Doug Nye?

The entrant/driver listed in the event programme for the 1973 Brighton Speed Trials is F.J. Burt, so presumably that is the family name of the owner post-BRM referred to throughout the description. I don't have easy access to my 1973 Autosports to see if there is any reference to the BRM at Brighton.



#22 MCS

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Posted 21 November 2022 - 14:40

Presumably then connected to Patsy Burt's family?  Her racing manager, Ron Smith (PMB Garages) is still alive I think.  He might have had some involvement in looking to prepare the car, maybe.



#23 Roger Clark

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Posted 21 November 2022 - 14:48

BRM also used Colotti gearboxes briefly in 1962, for similar reasons to the Hewlands. It wasn’t a case of NIH. They came from a time and culture where it was natural for a team to design and build as much of the car as they could. It was only with the arrival of Cooper and Lotus that Grand Prix cars became an assembly of parts.

#24 BRG

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Posted 21 November 2022 - 15:08

I can understand why a constructor would make a gearbox out of necessity or because they could make a significant improvement (six speeds). However BRM had already established that the Hewland options were good enough. Not Invented Here was part of BRM's mentality but I struggle to understand why they thought they could do better. If you are taking a design risk, surely there has to be a significant benefit?

Did Ferrari not use their own boxes throughout?  Sauce for the goose is sauce for the BRM gander?



#25 LittleChris

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Posted 21 November 2022 - 15:45

Presumably then connected to Patsy Burt's family?  Her racing manager, Ron Smith (PMB Garages) is still alive I think.  He might have had some involvement in looking to prepare the car, maybe.

 

The BRM Association includes a John Burt. Wonder if he's related to FJ ? 

 

Contact & About Us (brmassociation.org)



#26 Roger Clark

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Posted 21 November 2022 - 18:54

The entrant/driver listed in the event programme for the 1973 Brighton Speed Trials is F.J. Burt, so presumably that is the family name of the owner post-BRM referred to throughout the description. I don't have easy access to my 1973 Autosports to see if there is any reference to the BRM at Brighton.

No mention in Autosport, no report in MN.



#27 Doug Nye

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Posted 21 November 2022 - 19:16

Fred Burt - 'Farmer Fred' - was a very engaging, hugely enthusiastic BRM supporter and owner of a number of cars.  The P139 was preserved by him and his family until being offered for sale in recent months.

 

DCN



#28 Ray Bell

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Posted 21 November 2022 - 19:22

Originally posted by Doug Nye
To answer the above adequately - including John Surtees's take on the situation - would take much space within an entire book...


So your many readers should be asking about Volumes 4 & 5?

#29 Myhinpaa

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Posted 21 November 2022 - 19:57

The entrant/driver listed in the event programme for the 1973 Brighton Speed Trials is F.J. Burt, so presumably that is the family name of the owner post-BRM referred to throughout the description. I don't have easy access to my 1973 Autosports to see if there is any reference to the BRM at Brighton.

 

There's a reference to Fred Burt in a post on an old TNF thread called: F1 cars at the Brighton Speed Trials?



#30 E1pix

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Posted 22 November 2022 - 01:33

Absolutely. A clean-up, fix-up, and just enough paint-up to address the removal of the storage corrosion would be ideal.


I don’t know, it’d feel like sacrilege to even wax it.

#31 BRG

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Posted 22 November 2022 - 09:29

Did they really race this car in that uninspiring and unpleasant sludge colour? 

 

Frankly, whilst I always loved the p153/160/180 era of BRMs, and the earlier 1.5 litre cars, this model seems to have failed to impinge on my memory at all.  



#32 Doug Nye

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Posted 22 November 2022 - 11:20

Let's just say that 'Lust. Metallic Green' simply sludgifies with age...   :rolleyes:

 

DCN



#33 Gary C

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Posted 22 November 2022 - 13:56

Oh, to have the good fortune of finding something like this myself.

#34 Michael Oliver

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Posted 22 November 2022 - 13:57

There's a reference to Fred Burt in a post on an old TNF thread called: F1 cars at the Brighton Speed Trials?

Interesting that, in that list, it says the car raced at Brighton in 1973 was a BRM P153, not a P139? The programme unhelpfully just says 'BRM'. But it says in the description that there is a photograph that appeared in the Brighton Evening Argus, so there shouldn't be any doubt as to what car it was.



#35 amerikalei

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Posted 22 November 2022 - 13:58

To answer the above adequately - including John Surtees's take on the situation - would take much space within an entire book...

 

DCN

This thread has sent me back to the Tony Rudd autobiography, as well as V3 of "the saga".  Seems like there were many challenges and conflicts at the time.  Has sufficient time passed to be able to unravel them as objectively as possible?  Many great, and some not so great characters were involved.  Fingers crossed that someone someday completes the narrative.



#36 Roger Clark

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Posted 22 November 2022 - 16:50

I’m sure Doug will tell us like it was. 



#37 10kDA

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Posted 22 November 2022 - 20:04

... this model seems to have failed to impinge on my memory at all.  

I don't recall any mention of the P139 in period, though I'm sure it was mentioned somewhere in "Sports Car Graphic" or "Road & Track", the two mags I read on a consistent basis. I recall one race report stated Surtees drove a P138 at that race, which may have been Spain, and I must have assumed he drove a P138 all season.



#38 10kDA

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Posted 22 November 2022 - 20:13

I don’t know, it’d feel like sacrilege to even wax it.

I guess I've become used to old airplanes. To me it's better to have a good look at the mechanicals and return them to airworthy status, which is not the same thing as restoring them, preserving as much of the "used" or historic condition as possible while addressing functional squawks. This car is already an engine removed from its intended state, as when Surtees drove it, so I don't see a problem with preparing it for track use.



#39 Charlieman

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Posted 23 November 2022 - 11:00

BRM also used Colotti gearboxes briefly in 1962, for similar reasons to the Hewlands. It wasn’t a case of NIH. They came from a time and culture where it was natural for a team to design and build as much of the car as they could. It was only with the arrival of Cooper and Lotus that Grand Prix cars became an assembly of parts.

 

Did Ferrari not use their own boxes throughout?  Sauce for the goose is sauce for the BRM gander?

My disagreement is not particularly strong. It's just that building and designing gearboxes requires knowledge -- tribology -- which is outside 'core' mechanical engineering. As a constructor of road cars, Ferrari had a team with the experience and machine tools to build gearboxes. BRM were not in the same position and had always relied on the British motor and engineering industries for fundamental components such as castings and pumps. Even the most thoroughbred constructors rely on external suppliers for significant elements -- tyres, brake systems, electronics, fuel and ignition control.

 

Several teams, notably McLaren, bought Hewland gearboxes and reworked them in a similar way to engine rebuilders tweaked the DFV. A decent advantage could be obtained without building from scratch. The late Mauro Forghieri's transverse gearbox concept (I know that he wasn't the first) sought a major advantage.



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#40 petere

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Posted 23 November 2022 - 11:23

No mention yet of Alec Stokes (BRM's in house gearbox designer, author of 'Manual Gearbox Design(1992)) ?

 

I remember the gearbox as being the part of the car's that other teams admired in period. Usually seemed very reliable.

 

Looks like there was  a decent amount of in house knowledge and expertise ?


Edited by petere, 23 November 2022 - 11:23.


#41 Sterzo

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Posted 23 November 2022 - 13:43

Given that a gearbox is a key component which influences performance, the default surely was (and is) to design your own. In a way, the seventies were an anomaly, in that you could buy in a proprietary top class engine and excellent gearbox, and defeat the world with them.



#42 doc knutsen

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Posted 23 November 2022 - 15:33

Given that a gearbox is a key component which influences performance, the default surely was (and is) to design your own. In a way, the seventies were an anomaly, in that you could buy in a proprietary top class engine and excellent gearbox, and defeat the world with them.

Everybody is always looking for that little bit extra, that unfair advantage. Lotus were experimenting with their own gearbox design as late as in the Peterson years, in the late Seventies, when Hewlands were in use by most everybody.



#43 Ray Bell

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Posted 23 November 2022 - 21:07

And, of course, most builders stepped up to building their own casings for the Hewland gears...

 

Even in carbon-fibre, which I felt was a brave step.

 

But I seem to recall that some Formula Fords had bespoke cases for their Hewland gears. A far cry from when McKee adapted a Corvette 4-speed to attach a final drive to make a transaxle which would handle V8 power.



#44 JonnyA

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Posted 24 November 2022 - 07:44

Purely from memory, more H16 retirements were recorded as gearbox than engine failure. Whether that is actually the case, though...



#45 petere

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Posted 24 November 2022 - 16:57

Purely from memory, more H16 retirements were recorded as gearbox than engine failure. Whether that is actually the case, though...

Wasn't the clutch mounting at fault on the original box for the H-16  ? Tony Rudd "we had to accelerate the whole drum and the starter ring instead of just the plates". Maybe that had something to do with it ? Not sure if that counts as a case of poor gearbox design or not !



#46 Doug Nye

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Posted 24 November 2022 - 17:23

Here's the clutch mounting on the tail of the transaxle on the 1966 nd Lotus-BRM 43 (H16):

 

REVS-1966-LOTUS-BRM-43-H16.png

 

And - still in the troublesome overhung position on the tail of the gearbox where its inertia kept the attached shaft rotating, hampering each gearchange and adding wear - on Jackie Stewart's BRM at the 1967 Canadian GP.

 

REVS-BRM-H16-JYS-1967-CANADIAN-GP.png

 

Photos Copyright; Revs Digital Library

 

DCN



#47 JonnyA

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Posted 24 November 2022 - 20:12

Thank you very much for the pictures, Doug. Pardon my ignorance but in the second one has the actuator been moved from the rear of the clutch to the side?



#48 Doug Nye

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Posted 24 November 2022 - 21:06

Yes.

 

DCN



#49 petere

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Posted 25 November 2022 - 10:21

Thanks for that. Tony goes on to say that the modifications arrived at Monza 1966. He also says "Stokey's inside-out clutch became the basis of Borg and Beck racing clutches for many years". I think that would be the revised version avaliable at Monza, and so the unit shown in the picture from Canada 1967, which clearly has a revised casing and actuator. In "Excellence was expected" Karl Ludvigsen points out that the BRM box was very similar to the original box fitted to the Porsche 908 in 1968 (as far as clutch placement) and on some versions of the 1961 Ferrari 156. The Porsche box had the clutch plates dogged to a hub that was splined onto the countershaft which carried the input gears. The cover and ring gear  were splined directly to the input shaft that ran inside the countershaft receiving direct drive from the crankshaft (via step up gears in the case of the 908). As recounted in Excellence this gearbox shifted very quickly, and was only replaced in 1969 because it was very heavy. 

 

Presumably the second picture shows this layout for the revised H-16 box ?



#50 GTMRacer

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Posted 25 November 2022 - 16:05

Here's the clutch mounting on the tail of the transaxle on the 1966 nd Lotus-BRM 43 (H16):

 

REVS-1966-LOTUS-BRM-43-H16.png

 

And - still in the troublesome overhung position on the tail of the gearbox where its inertia kept the attached shaft rotating, hampering each gearchange and adding wear - on Jackie Stewart's BRM at the 1967 Canadian GP.

 

REVS-BRM-H16-JYS-1967-CANADIAN-GP.png

 

Photos Copyright; Revs Digital Library

 

DCN

 

Interesting they changed to a top wishbone in 67 from 66 using radius arms that seemed to be standard in GP racing at the time, I guess it makes fettling the injection easier!