Nothing pleases me more at this point in my jaded career than to see the precious purists--and you know better than anyone else who you are--get their indignant standards stomped on by well-placed combat boots. To today's point, I've been reading occasionally the holier-than-thou drivel poured forth by Bimmer fans and fair-weather Brabham fans regarding new kids Brabham Racing.
Brabham Racing launched publicly at last December's Essen motor show--a former possible rival to our SEMA show but now just another semi-significant show--with the three dark blue bastards you see here on these very pages. Witness the X6 xDrive50i-based BT 71, the M6 convertible-based BT 64, and the ultimate BR poster child, an M3-based BT 92.
How did we get here, though? How did the Brabham family feathers get so ruffled? What has Michael Trick, German bossman at BR, got to do to navigate some hostile waters and make sure his new baby thrives in spite of a world with no money?
Short story made pleasantly shorter, Aussie F1 champeen Sir "Black" Jack Brabham and family in recent years simply had never renewed the proper trademark rights they had held over the various Brabham businesses and the statute of limitations gave anyone the right to jump in and take the name with full legal process. No dirty business about any of it, folks, as so many would like to think. The only black mark seems to have been created by the Brabham family and their legal reps who basically had no case but that they had unfounded fears of their name getting tarnished by idiots selling glow-in-the-dark license plate rims or something.
These Ain't No Glow-In-The-Dark Rims.
So, Michael Trick, ex-broker and banker, bought up the rights in 2004 for Germany and purchased global rights to it all in 2005. Fair and square. So, chatroom hounds and forum wheezers, cease and desist your little wars against perfectly fine things. After all, just look what those dastardly Germans did with Lamborghini, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, and MINI. Isn't success a bitch?
We begin with the E64 M6-based BT 64--for purely personal reasons, since I'm one of the seeming few who is left utterly frigid by the 6 Series' blah unisex lines, at their most blah on the shaky soft top. This member of the trio had a string attached: the Brabham Racing 597-hp 5.5-liter version of the S85B50 5.0-liter V10 was not yet mounted in the pretty blue BT 64 but was in a standard looking E60 M5, so I had to extrapolate a little. Everything else for the BT 64 up-do was present and accounted for and I was secretly happy to try the delectable engine in the M5 body versus the "ageing gigolo" M6 ragger.
Whereas the BT 92 M3 I save for last is a major piece of work in almost every aspect, this BT 64/60 falls just below that level of labor since none of the main body panels changed at all. In keeping with the BMW M strategy of just losing two cylinders from the V10 to create the S65B40 V8 in the M3, what is 4.4 liters in the BT 92 becomes 5.5 liters in the BT 64 and future M5-based BT 60. Bore and stroke get toyed with, from the stock 4,999-cc at 92.0mm x 75.2mm to 5,477cc at 93.25mm x 80.20mm.
This is a good time to talk about the legacy behind the assembled Brabham Racing engineering team. The man in charge of heavily modifying the V8s and V10s goes, for our super-secret purposes, by "O.N." and has been altering Bimmer powerplants in his workshops near the Nrburgring for many years. His father was mentor also to "Camshaft" Paul Rosche who, among other things, engineered the 6.1-liter BMW V12 for the McLaren F1. That's good pedigree and the agreement to carry out this work is exclusive.