BRM, short for British Racing Motors, had a long and distinguished history in Formula 1. Racing in F1 from 1951 through to 1977, the team took 17 wins, 1 world championship and had legendary drivers such as Hill, Stewart, Rodriguez, Lauda and Regazzoni at the wheel throughout the years (to name a few!).
Disclaimer: I know, some images may not be of the P135.
The team was no stranger to historic liveries, with their iconic black with orange accent colours of the 60s, as well being pioneers with what I believe to be the first ever Marlboro livery in Motorsport in 1972.
However, after years of reading F1 encyclopedias as a kid, the one I think back to is the Yardley sponsored BRM of 1970-71. Yardley were the first company to sponsor BRM after Lotus’ revolutionised the sport with their Gold Leaf deal in 1968, and made an impact with this memorable livery.
The livery was rather basic, as was the norm at the time, but a little more involved than most. The single stripe up the middle was used for years, but BRM took it further, fashioning a Y by splitting the line before the cockpit. This was was to “represent the motto of Yardley’s range of men’s toiletries“. Each section of the Y was a different colour, a prong each being gold, black and brown. That’s right, brown according the above link, although I always thought it was red, as it does have a rather reddish hue. I’m sure I’m not the only one!
The sides of the car featured similar designs, although the Ys aren’t quite as obvious. That said, the line along the side sits very nicely above the lower bulge, framing the car well. It’s interesting to note that opposite colours are used on each side, which is easy to miss at first glance, despite the colours on the Y being so obviously asymmetrical on the nose. Side note, that’s Helmut Marko in the photo above!
The livery as a whole is so retro, with the gold and brown looking hideously lovely on the white (or off-white, depending on the picture), whilst the design itself looks straight out of a 70s text book or poster. Mix this with the huge circle numbers on the side and slanted numbers on the nose and classic logos and you’ve got a whole lot of retro goodness all on one car.
After two years, Yardley moved their sponsorship over to McLaren, in effect giving birth to the Marlboro livery. The Yardley McLaren livery was very similar, the only difference at first being a section of the famous McLaren orange below the lines on the sides, before the boxier car of 1973 saw further changes.
This livery was one that encapsulated Formula 1 and design in the 70s just about perfectly. I just wonder why brown hasn’t been used in F1 more often! Eh, maybe there is a reason…