Editorial: Brutus – BMW Aero Power

Interesting | January 18th, 2011 by 7
franziss cd Editorial: Brutus – BMW Aero Power

This has been making its way through the enthusiast communities on the intertubes. Brutus, a racer resto-mod, essentially takes what looks like a pre-war two …

This has been making its way through the enthusiast communities on the intertubes. Brutus, a racer resto-mod, essentially takes what looks like a pre-war two seat open wheel race car and inserts a big aero engine. Then you take it to a track near you (or haul it to tracks around the world) and make new friends.

Brutus is powered by a BMW ‘VI’ V-12 aero engine from the mid 1920s. The VI was pretty much the last of the non-radial aero engines BMW made. In 1928 BMW licensed the Pratt & Whitney Wasp and Hornet radial engines which led to the splendid BMW 803 radial used in WW II.

The BMW VI was rated for a sustained 580 horsepower, 750 for a one minute duration. When you notice that the tachometer is x100 (not our x1000) and the redline is at 16 (or 1600 RPM) you can get a sense for how much torque this motor develops. And notice the amount of flames the monster produces off idle. Think it’s running a bit rich?

brutus bmw Editorial: Brutus – BMW Aero Power

What’s interesting about the BMW VI is that BMW was developing direct gasoline injection for this engine at the end of the 1920s. Nothing new under the sun.

Throughout the history of racing cars, aero engines have been a siren song for builders. The great pre World War I monsters used them; think Fiat. Turbines, helicopter sized, damn near won an Indy 500. And the first use of dual overhead cams in a race car was the 1912 Peugeot whose cylinder heads were derived from a Peugeot aero engine.

franziss as 655x435 Editorial: Brutus – BMW Aero Power

And to add a little odd fantasy to the mix, there’s an Englishman running a racer called a ‘Franziss’, a Frazer Nash with a Curtiss OX-5 V8 aero engine and the ultimate in silliness (and shear mechanical noise) a Frazer-Nash chain drive four speed rear end.

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