A collaboration between BRM and Rover produced this turbine-powered car for the 1963 24 Hours of Le Mans, seen here with Graham Hill behind the wheel. Though an “experimental” entry, it completed all 24 hours and would have finished in the top-10 if classified.
Photo: John Sismey Collection
It was seeing Raymond Mays’ ERA that first drew a young John Sismey to mechanical engineering. After a grammar school education, he worked as an apprentice machinist with Peter Brotherhood Ltd. of Peterborough. National Service beckoned and a spell with the Royal Air Force honed his mechanical and engineering abilities further. An eight-year spell with BRM was the prelude to Sismey forming his own engineering company, Vegantune, which built racing engines for a number of racing series and helped launch the burgeoning careers of drivers like James Hunt and Alan Jones. VR’s European Editor, Mike Jiggle, welcomed an opportunity to talk to Sismey about his life in engineering. Part one of this interview looks at his early career and his time with BRM.
You started working for BRM in 1957, by that time things were on the up and weren’t racing successes just around the corner for the team?
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