Interview with the biggest Brutus fan

Our museum member Claude Bonifas loves old carts and one in particular: the Brutus experimental vehicle. It is clear that this is no ordinary old-timer: a chain-driven chassis from 1907 forms the basis (this was used by a fire brigade in America for a while). A BMW 12-cylinder aircraft engine with a capacity of almost 47 litres was mounted on it (from the 1st World War). Wherever the fire-breathing, 550 hp bullet with its black cigar-shaped body appears, it causes stunned amazement; true fans of technology shed tears of joy in its eyes and the probably biggest Brutus fan (Claude) of all times even gets a tattoo of it. In summer, his dream has come true: He was allowed to drive the Brutus. Before the second lockdown, the Luxembourger visited us again and told us about his experience.

Your Brutus love even gets under your skin. What inspires you about it?
The Brutus is my dream car. I think it's great what kind of vehicles were built back then and even though there was no money. Everything was built in that was on the left and right side. And I am a BMW fan - but unfortunately they never built such a vehicle. Brutus is my absolute dream car.

How did the museum find out about your tattoo?
My wife simply sent a photo of my Brutus tattoo to the museum and that's how everything started. I am very thankful to my wife for doing this, because through this I got to know very nice and crazy people.

How did it come about that you were allowed to drive the Brutus?
That I was allowed to drive the Brutus was because of my way of not letting up. I also kept joking around with Mr Layher (president of the museum) until he finally agreed!

Then came the day in question. What was it like to drive the cubic capacity monster?
The ride was amazing and exhausting. Thought that my vehicle (hot rod) was already sick, but the Brutus is awesome. To keep this vehicle alive with gas I found it very exhausting at the beginning, because you only use the foot brake in an emergency, because otherwise there is the possibility that it will go off. In addition, you brake with your hand. He does not know slow driving. Otherwise I found that the Brutus is very nice to drive and you feel comfortable very quickly. But you should not lose respect for it. I would not have thought that the Brutus can be driven so well...The video recordings during the ride distracted me a bit.

Would you like to repeat it?
Yes - definitely. I am looking forward to the next ride, then hopefully at the airfield in Speyer. The current Brutus driver of the museum will retire sometime! (laughs)

You are a classic car owner. What do you think fascinates people about classic cars?
I own a hot rod, because I am fascinated by cars before 1940. You can read more about it in the "American Dream Cars" book in the museum. I think that oldtimers fascinate people because it is nice to keep the old cars alive and the people are with heart and soul.

Will there be another Brutus tattoo?
Probably not! (laughs)

And whoever wants to experience our Brutus live, comes to the BRAZZELTAG in Speyer. 


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