1949 Bmw Veritas Formula 1


Having a vintage race car for a hobby is really different than having an old road car, hot rod or cruiser. Yes, the car you see here is street legal, and you may have seen it on the streets of Payson from time to time.

However, taking this thing for a spin around town is like taking a Kentucky Derby winner on a trail ride. It may be fast but it's just not suited for the job.

First off, my car is a 1949 BMW Veritas Formula 1 vintage race car. It was built in Germany along with 29 cars using a 1936 BMW 328 sports car frame and drive train as the base. Racing in Europe in the late 1940s was very much a put-it-together-yourself-from-whatever-you-could-find type of affair.

My car, when it was originally built, used aluminum taken from downed-military planes, leftover-military camo paint and a jeep steering wheel.

Of the 30 cars built, as far as we know, all 30 still exist. There are only two in the United States, this one in Payson and the other in Florida. They are highly sought after and eligible for all vintage-racing events throughout the world.

I found this car in a back yard in Albuquerque in 1972. It was a completely "clapped out" race car that had been driven a bit too hard a few too many times. The lines looked good. I could get some idea of what it had been, but what a mess.

I only paid $600 for it, but even then, almost everyone thought I was a fool for even looking at it.

It took me 24 years, a lot of sweat and buckets of money to put it into the condition you see here. But, I think it has been worth the effort. The car has garnered a lot of attention from the national-automotive press and has been invited to the Monterey Historic Races every year that we have applied. The Monterey Historics Races are to vintage racing what Barrett-Jackson is to auto auctions.

John Zilisch

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