tony marsh

Tony Marsh working his 1960 BRM P48 chassis ‘484’, 2.5 litre ex-Bonnier 1960 F1 car very hard, lifting an inside rear wheel into ‘The Courtyard’, Bo’ness Hillclimb, Scotland 1966…

Two of the reasons why the content of this blog is eclectic are that it suits my broad racing interests and that a photo is usually the inspiration for an article, this shot is one of those! I tripped over it on ‘The Nostalgia Forum’, which is a wonderful place for those of you who may not paid it a visit. You can get lost in there for weeks! http://forums.autosport.com/forum/10-the-nostalgia-forum/

Lots of ex-GP cars have found their way into British Hillclimbing over the years and the Tony Marsh BRM P48 is one of those…

p48

The old and new…P25 and mid-engined P48 prototype ‘481’ on test, circuit unknown, August 1959 (Unattributed)

The 1951 BRM P15 supercharged 1.5 litre V16 racer was a disaster, too complex, too late but a fabulous bit of kit and the greatest sound in motor racing full-stop. Aural orgasm is not going too far to describe its musical, mechanical, sonorous howl!

The design which followed, the P25 was the reverse- a simple 2.5 litre, DOHC, Weber carbed, front-engined, space-frame chassis car which served BRM from 1955 to 1959, finally achieving a breakthrough win for Bourne in the 1959 Dutch Grand Prix. Jo Bonnier the driver.

But by then the game had moved on, Cooper dominated the grids with their Coventry Climax engined, simple mid-engined cars- Jack Brabham and Cooper took the drivers and constructors titles in 1959 and 1960 with Coopers Types 51 and 53, Tony Rudd and his team needed to respond.

BRM were famous for their engineering process and toolroom quality but the P48 was a ‘quick fix’, utilising as many of the P25 components as possible, in essence the P48 was a mid-engined variant of the P25, right down to its controversial, less than reliable ‘cookie-cutter’, single, gearbox mounted rear disc brake.

brm p 48

(Vic Berris)

 

monza

The ‘prototype’ chassis ‘481’ BRM P48 was tested in practice at the 1959 Italian Grand Prix, in September by both Harry Schell and Jo Bonnier. They stayed on at Monza for further testing, the P48 was then developed over the winter of 1959/60 and made its race debut at Silverstone early in 1960. (John Ross Motor Racing Archive)

1960 was the last year of the 2.5 litre Formula, the P48 Mk II was more competitive than the first iterations used for most of the season and were devoid of the ‘cookie cutter’ and used the wishbone rear suspension which formed the basis of BRM’s 1961 contenders design intent.

This 1961 car, the P57, was Coventry Climax 1.5 litre FPF powered until BRM’s fabulous and successful P56 1.5 litre V8 was developed for use from the 1962 season. See this link; https://primotipo.com/2014/10/12/graham-hill-brm-p57-german-gp-1962/ The P48 evolved into the P57 which delivered BRM’s first and only Manufacturers and Drivers Championships for the marque and Graham Hill in 1962.

BRM P48 engine and rear suspension

BRM P48…space frame chassis, 2.5 litre DOHC 4 ex P25 front engined car. Strut type rear suspension, ‘cookie cutter’ single rear disc, not the most elegant of mid-engined cars but a good first up effort given the design was not ‘clean sheet’ and BRM learn’t fast! (Unattributed)

 

g hill

(Unattributed)

Graham Hill’s P48 ‘485’ (above) took third place in the 1960 Belgian GP at Spa won by Brabham’s Cooper T53 Climax.

The weekend was one of racing’s worst, Stirling Moss broke both legs after an axle failure, Mike Taylor’s steering broke, he crashed into trees suffering grievous injuries which made him paralysed, eventually with therapy he walked again- both were driving Lotus 18’s, the accidents took place in practice. In the race Chris Bristow crashed his Cooper T51 Climax at Malmedy whilst pushing too hard and crashed to his death whist Alan Stacey’s Lotus 18 Climax was hit in the face by a bird near Masta, also crashing and dying instantly.

Tony Marsh…

Tony Marsh German GP 1957

Tony Marsh attacking the Nurburgring in his Cooper T43 Climax, German GP 1957. (Unattributed)

Marsh was an iconic hillclimber, first taking the British Hillclimb Championship title in a Cooper Mk8 Jap in 1955, after two more successive wins he turned to circuit racing winning the British F2 Championship in 1957 with a Cooper T43 Climax. He also contested the 1957 German GP, finishing fifteenth in his F2 car and eighth in 1958 in a Cooper T45 Climax.

Marsh raced a private Lotus 18 Climax and his own BRM P48/57 1.5 V8 engined car in 1962 in some Non-Championship F1 events- best placings were fourth in the Pau GP and seventh in the International Trophy at Silverstone.

He returned to hillclimbing in the mid-sixties winning the championship a further three times and was still competing right up until the time of his death at 77 years of age in May 2009.

tony marsh brussels gp

Tony Marsh ahead of Willy Mairesse in the 1962 Brussels GP held on 1 April. His BRM P48/57 was factory entered along with Graham Hills P57, both non-classified. The race was won by ‘Wild Willy’ in his Ferrari 156. (Unattributed)

 

tony marsh 2

Tony Marsh warming up his BRM P57 1.5 Litre V8 prior to practice of the ‘Aintree 200’ in April 1962. He qualified 10th, and retired on lap 6 with an oil leak , he had a lot of problems with this car! (Brian Tregilgas)

Bo’ness Hillclimb…

Bo’ness is 17 miles north-west of Edinburgh, the hillclimb was used from 1934 to 1966 and ran through the grounds of Kinneil House- James Watt of steam engine fame lived there, the grounds contain the ruins of his cottage and the boiler of his ‘Newcomen Engine’.

Tony Marsh set the record for the climb in June 1963, one which stood for all time, the last meeting at the venue was held in June 1966- revival meetings have taken place in recent years.

Some former motor racing greats held the climbs’ record including Bob Gerard, Ken Wharton, Ron Flockhart and Jim Clark, the latter early in his career with a Lister Jaguar in 1959.

Etcetera…

Dan Gurney P48 Silverstone 1960

Dan Gurney awaits adjustments to his P48 ‘486’ , Silverstone, British GP 1960. That transmission mounted ‘cookie cutter’ single rear disc and caliper clearly shown (Unattributed)

 

Jo Bonnier P48 BRM Monaco 1960

Jo Bonnier in the Tony Marsh BRM P48 ‘484’ at Monaco in 1960, he finished 5th. ‘Up his chuff’ is Stirling Moss, heading for victory in Rob Walkers’ Lotus 18 Climax (Unattributed)

Credits…

The Nostalgia Forum, John Ross Motor Racing Archive, Brian Tregilgas, Doug Nye, Vic Berris

From Ballarat to Bathurst, BRM P48’s in Australia, Part 2…

https://primotipo.com/2018/03/16/bourne-to-ballarat-brm-p48-part-2/

Finito…

 

Comments
  1. graham64 says:

    Great photo of Dan Gurney at Silverstone in 1960 – is he wearing a pair of business shoes?

    • markbisset says:

      See 10 shots of Dan and 10 different shoes, usually not Racewear!

      • John Wood says:

        Mark – Many thanks for your Primotipo articles. I like the broad range of topics that you cover. There’s a correction needed here – Mike Taylor survived after his crash at the 1960 Belgian GP.

      • markbisset says:

        Gee, thanks John,
        I really stuffed that one up- ‘killed him’ fifty or so years too early! Many thanks, i’ve made the correction, thanks for letting me know.
        Mark

  2. greg moss says:

    Being uneducated in old open wheelers, can you explain what the cookie cutter on the rear of the Dan Gurney car is please?

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