Race car building legend Luca Rusconi (aka RoscoPC) has been building his stunning historic racing cars for the best part of a decade. He’s recently uploaded another one of his glorious creations to Flickr (where we hope many more will follow), and thus we’re able to publish it here. It’s also one of the weirder racing cars in Luca’s garage, although it might not look remarkable at first glance.
Any classic racing fan will know of the incredible performances of the Lotus F1 team. Led by Colin Chapman, and powered by the legendary Cosworth DFV engine, the partnership delivered four Driver and five Constructor World Championship titles. However, before the DFV was ready Chapman needed an engine to put into his new 43 Formula 1 car for the 1966 season. He turned to previous Championship Winners BRM, and their unique P75 H16 engine.
Yup, H16. Basically two Flat-8 engines stacked on top of one another, yet only 3 litres in capacity. Unfortunately the unusual design was unusual for a reason – reliability. Or lack of it.
Heavy, extremely complicated, and constantly breaking, the BRM engine in Chapman’s Lotus 43 caused it to retire from every race bar one during the 1966 season. However, that one finish was a race win at the United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen, showing that when it worked, the Lotus 43 was quick. Really Quick.
The following year in ’67 the new Cosworth DFV 3 litre V8 engine was ready, Ford added their sponsorship to it (in a stroke of marketing genius), and the year after that the DFV starting a Championship Winning streak that went unbroken for seven years.
BRM’s mental P75 H16 engine was quickly forgotten, although the team continued to produce Formula 1 cars until the late 1970s, and Lotus forged on with a Cosworth partnership that was to become one of the most successful ever seen in the sport.
However, we think the Lotus 43 BRM H16 deserves a little recognition. It was a race winner after all, and for a brief moment two of Britain’s greatest F1 teams combined to produce something, well… a little bit crap.
RoscoPC’s homage to that disastrous partnership pictured here was first built in 2010 and is now available to view in wonderful detail on Flickr. It features working steering, suspension, beautiful detailing, and – of course – a recreation of one of the maddest engines ever seen in Formula 1.
You can see all of the images of Luca’s incredible Lotus 43 build at his photostream via the link above, and if you’re curious to know what an H16 Formula 1 engine sounds like, click here…