The B.R.M. Progress Report.
We have now received, from the Production Committee of the British Motor Racing Research Trust, a Progress Report on the B.R.M. racing car, to which we are very glad to give publicity. It reads as follows: —
“Most of the major difficulties on the production side have been overcome. Many components and special assemblies have already been delivered to Automobile Developments, Ltd., at Bourne, where they will be assembled and tested under the personal supervision of Mr. Raymond Mays and Mr. Peter Berthon.
“A production liaison centre has been set up at the head office of Rubery Owen at Darlaston. Some idea of the amount of work involved on the project may be judged from details of the supercharger which consists of 124 components and sub-assemblies involving contacts with twenty-four firms.
“In this case all the components have been completed and the final assembly is in hand at Messrs. Rolls-Royce.
“The engine is also well under way and 149 specialised items out of a total of 208 are already at Bourne. Standard Motors are well ahead with upper and lower crankcases and cylinder heads and these have already undergone hydraulic testing. The in machining of parts is in progress at the Coventry Gauge and Tool Cooapany. There has been a serious hold up in the delivery of gears, but every effort is being made to overcome this difficulty.
“The first frame has been delivered by Rubery Owen to Bourne. The machining of the gear case by Austin Motors is complete and the machining of the balance of components nearing completion.
“The brake assemblies by Girling have undergone tests and delivery will meet the assembly programme.
“The clutch for the first car, made by Messrs. Borg and Beck, Ltd., is undergoing tests.
“Provided there are no serious snags, the assembly of the first prototype will commence this month.
“A new highly specialised test house is now being completed at Bourne under the supervision of Standard Motors.
“There are considerable difficulties Involved in the production of a car, which is the result of team work between forty-five firms. At the same time It brings many expert and specialised minds to bear on the problems that arise. There is every hope that the final result will be worthy of the immense effort and expenditure involved.”
A full list of the many leading concerns which are lending financial and material help to the B.R.M. project appeared in Motor Sport for June, 1948.
From time to time Motor Sport receives enquiries as to whether any special qualifications are necessary to render one eligible for membership of the exclusive British Racing Drivers Club. To clear up any doubts we contacted the club’s secretary, and are able to present the following observations :
The B.R.D.C. was formed, as a driver’s club, as long ago as 1926, being the joint outcome of occasional dinners given by Dr. Benjafield to his fellow competitors and a separate suggestion made by the late Mr. Ebblewhite during a speech at a celebration given to Malcolm Campbell before he sailed for Daytona. With Harvey Edwards as secretary, and under the presidency of Lord Howe, the club filled a long-felt need, being fully qualified to represent the racing-driver’s point of view. The attractive badge, consisting of a silver shield having the Union Flag in chief and a racing car in the British colours, was designed by Head, S. C. H. Davis’ riding-mechanic.
It was realised that to succeed, membership must be restricted to genuine racing drivers and the committee consist mainly of active drivers. It was agreed that only drivers who had finished 1st, 2nd or 3rd at a B.A.R.C. meeting or who had competed in an open road-racing competition should be eligible for consideration as members; this requirement is still in force.
The club held its first big race in 1929, the 500-Mile Race at Brooklands, which was won by Barclay’s and Clement’s 4 1/2-litre Bentley, at 107.32 m.p.h. When Edwards left to run the Crystal Palace circuit a comparatively unknown Irish enthusiast, Desmond Scannell, took over and he runs the club to this day, organising each year the successful I.O.M. road-races. Since the war the B.R.D.C. has been of inestimable value in assisting British drivers to overcome red tape and go abroad to race.
The present membership is approximately 300, of which 20 per cent. are active racing men at the present time and the remainder have at some time or other qualified for membership as outlined above, many of them in the early days of the Sport, such as at Brooklands before the Kaiser War or during the nineteen-twenties. There are also some associate members not conforming to the full membership qualifications and not necessarily racing drivers.
It is extremely wise of the committee to restrict membership to experienced racing drivers; perhaps it might go further and revise the list, transferring to the associate category all those who have not handled a racing car for an appreciable number of years. In this way the exclusive nature of this club would be preserved, and certainly no one who has the interests of British motor-racing at heart would wish to see the prestige of the B.R.D.C. diminish, for it has performed a valuable function for over twenty years, quite apart from organising some very excellent motor races.
Lord Howe is still President, and the Vice-Presidents are Sir Malcolm Campbell, Lt.-Col. Gardner, John Cobb, Capt. Eyston and Dr. Benjafield. The Committee comprises S. C. H. Davis, W. M. Couper, H. N. Edwards, R. J. W. Appleton, K. D. Evans, W. G. Everitt, Capt. Eyston, K. Erskine, Lt.-Col. Gardner, I. F. Connell, L. G. Johnson, G. E. Abecassis and T. A. S. O. Mathieson.
In passing, we would emphasise that Motor Sport has ceased to be the B.R.D.C. Journal only because prevailing paper restrictions make it impossible for us to continue to supply a free copy to every member of the B.R.D.C. while still meeting the demands of our regular subscribers; because in view of the late and infrequent bulletins received from the club and the difficulty of contacting a responsible official, we were unable to serve it with adequate publicity; and, finally, because Motor Sport’s successful expansion seemed likely to suffer on account of the impression, in certain quarters, that it was a club magazine.
We are pleased to be able to announce that the B.R.D.C. has awarded the E.R.A. Trophy for the best performance during a 1948 race on the Continent with a British car jointly to Leslie Johnson and St. John Horsfall, for their victory at Spa in the new Aston-Martin.