1970 Nomad-BRM Mk.3
The Vintage Racecar magazine stand at the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show was the stage for a special event. The 1970 Nomad-BRM Mk.3 sports car had its post-restoration unveiling to the public, not only that but the stand also hosted a reunion of the original team members along with the restoration team. The car has significance to Lincolnshire not only due to its BRM V8 engine but also as the restoration was undertaken by Neil Fowler Motorsport from Bourne, the original home of BRM.
Funded by husband and wife Mark and Gabriel Konig and designed by Bob Curl Nomad sports cars were a private effort to take on the established big names in the World Sports Car Championship up to 2 litre classes.
Based on the BRM P261 geometry the Nomad Mk.3 was a lighter car than the Mk.1 & 2, still powered by the BRM V8 engine, the Mk.3 was aimed at the European 2-litre Championship. Unfortunately, the Mk.3's 1970 season was not a successful one, a number of non-starts and non-finishes hampering progress.
By mid-season rising costs to the entirely self-funded project saw Konig reluctantly put the car up sale at the request of his bank. The plan now was for Konig to compete in the Mk.2 car and speaking to Autosport at the time he said 'It's now a case of competing for fun rather than competing to win but I hope the Nomad Mk.3 will be bought by someone who can campaign it like the competitive car it is'.
The last recorded race for the car on British soil is at Brands Hatch on August 31st for a round of the RAC Sports Car Championship. Driven by long-time Nomad driver Tony Lanfranchi the car failed to finish, a week later driven by Konig the car again failed to finish the Nurburgring 500.
At the end of the season Konig was approached by Paul Vesty, an established driver in sport car racing circles, who suggested they take the Mk.3 to South Africa to compete during the winter of 1970-71. This was where the Mk.3 proved it had the pedigree of the Nomad M.1 & 2 posting only one failure to finish. With Konig and Vesty twice getting top-ten finishes the best result was in the final race.
Driving solo in the three-hour race at Goldfields on January 2nd Konig finished in third place, this despite running without coolant after the first hour, the engine being sufficiently air-cooled. The car then passed through several owners and was campaigned with a Ford V6 engine in the late 70's. In the 1980's Terry Davison bought the car replacing the troublesome V6 engine for a Porsche flat-6 unit. Following changes to the transmission and suspension Davison was left with a very competitive car that he used in hillclimbs, sprints and club level races, winning a number of HSCC Thundersports and Orwell Supersports races and Championships.
Bringing the story to the present day the Mk.3 has just undergone an extensive restoration by Simon Ayliff and Neil Fowler, both of whom had relatives that worked for BRM in period. The pair considered the restoration project a labour of love and important to BRM's racing history. From the outset designer Curl and former Nomad mechanic Julian Pratt were both involved giving information allowing the car to be back in its original specification. Some 18 months later the car, now fitted with a BRM V8 engine used by Graham Hill to win the Monaco Grand Prix in 1964, was taken to Falkingham Aerodrome for an initial shakedown run. The venue was formerly used by BRM for testing but the large runway has long since gone and now just the concrete perimeter roads remain. Special permission was given to conduct the Mk.3's test run there. Following a successful run carried out by Mike Jiggle of Vintage Racecar magazine it is now hoped that the car will compete in this year's Classic Le Mans meeting.
Back at the show it was Mark Konig, Bob Curl and Julian Pratt who had the privilege of unveiling the restored car along with restorers Neil Fowler and Simon Ayliff and members of their families. Thank you to Vintage Racecar magazine's European editor Mike Jiggle for providing information for this article.
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