A redditor dug up this fabulous modern video showcasing a British Racing Motors 1.5L V16 absolutely ripping it down a UK road.

When you’ve got such a small displacement engine supplemented with more than 5 bar of boost, you’re going to end up with one glorious sounding exhaust note. According to Reddit user nomadben and a video he posted up on /r/cars earlier today (May 14, 2018,)  this six-year-old video floating around on Youtube showcasing someone in the UK driving around a BRM V16 on normal country roads shows that some of the best sounding engines are from a bygone era. Since it’s a small engine built for power and not so much day to day reliability, its sound is unlike any other. Check out that video for yourself below.

The video is appropriately titled, “Fabulous drive in appalling conditions” as you can see, the roads aren’t exactly dry. If you know anything about open wheel racecars of that era it’s that, as far as tires go, they were downright skinny compared to their modern-day counterparts. To say this driver has got some courage would be an understatement.

As for the sound, this engine harkens to a time of motor racing that was blessed with engineers hailing from aircraft companies. Developed in 1947, this engine was built right after WWII ended and was presumably the result of asking fighter aircraft engineers to design a race car. Among the 350 companies pegged to develop this complex engine was fighter craft specialist of the time, Rolls Royce, who helped to develop the supercharging unit strapped to the intake manifold.

The story on paper was out of this world. Power peaked around 12,000 RPM but reportedly this engine was good for another 2,000 RPM. Thanks to a maximum boost of more than 80 psi, this 1.5L V16 was capable of more than 600 HP at full sing. I’ve copied over the estimates of power figures at certain RPM’s for this particular engine.

  • 100 bhp (75 kW) at 5,000 rpm
  • 175 bhp (130 kW) at 6,000 rpm
  • 250 bhp (190 kW) at 7,000 rpm
  • 335 bhp (250 kW) at 8,000 rpm
  • 412 bhp (307 kW) at 9,000 rpm
  • 525 bhp (391 kW) at 10,000 rpm
  • 585 bhp (436 kW) at 11,000 rpm
  • 600 bhp (450 kW) at 12,000 rpm

If you can imagine the power graph this engine puts out, if you want to stay in the powerband, you’ll have to keep this engine well above 10,000 RPM.

Unfortunately, as a result of its complex design, the engine proved unreliable in Formula 1 with just two out of four starts and one finish in the points.

Thankfully, there are still some enthusiasts out there keeping alive the reportedly four examples of this engine for us car enthusiasts to enjoy.

Generally, as a recipe for a great sounding engine, small race engines with lots of boost make wonderful sounds.

I might have watched this wonderful video more than once, that’s for sure.


  1. Hi – the video and the sound track are a mashup. The audio is the last few minutes of the BRM track from Nick Mason’s album/book “Into the Red”. The redditor did a great job of matching the video to the sound track. I listen to that track constantly, the whole thing is 7 minutes of the most beautiful engine noise in the world.


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