The Story Behind Grand Prix’s Biggest Starting Grid

#126 – Adolf Brudes — Veritas Monoposto “Orley Special” – BMW
Grid: 19th / Race: Retired (5 laps / Engine)

(Source: Stadtarchiv Eisenach)
Born: 15th October 1899
Groß Kottulin, Germany
Died: 5th October 1986
Bremen, Germany
Appearances: 1   (1952 German GP)


Veteran driver Adolf Brudes could already look back on a long career in automobile racing, being member of the successful NSKK/BMW-team at Brescia in 1940. He had raced Bugatti as early as 1930 and his own BMW 328 sports car, which he appeared in again after the war, including at the very obscure “Interzone” race, which was carried out during the Berlin Blockade in 1948!

In 1949, Brudes was involved in the development of some new high performance cars produced by the East German BMW factory at Eisenach, among them for example the impressive looking “S1” streamliner in which he won the very first East German race, held on a special high-speed part of the Dessau autobahn. Around that time, Brudes had come into connection with a Russian-American driver, who named himself ‘Alexander Orley’, but also appeared under names like ‘Aleander/Alexandre Todd’, ‘Victor Alexander’ etc. and who was also in partnership with Zora Arkus-Duntov (of later ‘Corvette’ fame). In 1949, Orley had bought one of the early Formula 2 monoposto prototypes from the Veritas company, which was still fitted with a conventional BMW 328 engine as the company’s new ‘Meteor’ engine was not yet available. While Orley initially drove the car himself in international events (disguised as ‘Orley Speciale’ – probably to hide its German origins), he also occasionally gave it to Brudes to drive it in Formula 2 races in Germany from 1950 onwards. Brudes’ first drive in the car at the Schauinsland hillclimb, where he finished in a quite impressive fourth place in his class, beaten only by the top stars of the time, Rieß, Stuck and Ulmen. It wasn’t until the Eifelrennen of 1952 before Brudes reappeared in the car, which he also took to the start in the German Grand Prix, but ending in retirements on both occasions.

In the meantime Brudes had already started working for the Borgward factory (for example doing a record drive in 1951 with their ‘Goliath’ three-wheeler) and became a regular works driver when the company decided to compete in the 1.5 litre sports car category from 1952 onward, entering races at Le Mans, Buenos Aires and the Carrera Panamericana. Brudes continued racing at a lower level until 1968.

1952 German Grand Prix, Adolf Brudes (Source: Revs)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.