Brabham BT55 car #8 Elio de Angelis | 1986 San Marino GP
Get low! This was another of Gordon Murray’s sleak designs for Brabham a la the sensations BT52 and of course the innovative BT46B fan car. Despite it’s good looks it was too ambitious and ultimately failed due to forcing the tall BMW engine to be placed at an angle causing all sorts of drive train, crank shaft and gearbox issues.
This car look familiar? Well it should, because this would inspire Murray, after moving to McLaren a year later, to design arguably the most dominating Formula One car of all time, the McLaren MP4/4.
However, the beautiful BT55 also has a tragic note to it, when beloved Italian Elio de Angelis lost his life after flipping the car during an organised test session due in no small part to a lack of proper marshalling (fellow driver Alan Jones being the first on the scene - there were none stationed around the track) and no on-site helicopter - one had to be phoned in before he could be air some thirty minutes later. Despite only suffering a broken collar bone and burns to his back, Elio died from smoke inhalation - something that would have been prevented with appropriate marshalling.