Open Access Articles- Top Results for Coventry Climax

Coventry Climax

Coventry Climax
Limited company
Industry Speciality machinery and engine manufacture
Fate Purchased by Jaguar Cars, businesses merged by British Leyland or divested
Predecessor Coventry-Simplex
Successor Kalmar Climax (forklift business)
Founded 1903
Defunct 1986 (Coventry Climax Holdings Ltd)
Headquarters Coventry
Key people
Lee Stroyer, Henry Pelham Lee, Leonard Pelham Lee, Walter Hassan, Harry Mundy, Peter Windsor Smith
File:Green Goddess pump.JPG
Coventry Climax Godiva fire pump in a Green Goddess

Coventry Climax was a British forklift truck, fire pump, racing, and other speciality engine manufacturer.



The company was started in 1903 as Lee Stroyer, but two years later, following the departure of Stroyer, it was relocated to Paynes Lane, Coventry, and renamed to Coventry-Simplex by H. Pelham Lee,[1] a former Daimler employee, who saw a need for competition in the nascent piston engine market.

An early user was GWK, who produced over 1,000 light cars with Coventry-Simplex two-cylinder engines between 1911 and 1915. Just before World War I a Coventry-Simplex engine was used by Lionel Martin to power the first Aston Martin car.[2] Ernest Shackleton selected Coventry-Simplex to power the tractors that were to be used in his Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914.

Hundreds of Coventry-Simplex engines were manufactured during World War I to be used in generating sets for searchlights. In 1917 the company was renamed to Coventry Climax and moved to East Street, Coventry.

Throughout the 1920s and 1930s they supplied engines to many companies manufacturing light-cars such as Abbey, AJS, Albatross, Ashton-Evans, Bayliss-Thomas, Clyno, Crossley, Crouch, GWK, Marendaz, Morgan, Triumph, Swift, and Standard. In the 1920s the company moved to Friars Road, Coventry and in the late 1930s they also acquired the ex-Riley premises in Widdrington Road, Coventry. In the early 1930s the company also supplied engines for buses.

With the closure of Swift in 1931, the company was left with a stock of engines that were converted to drive electric generators, giving the company an entry into a new field. The economic problems of the 1930s hit the business hard and Leonard Pelham Lee, who had taken over from his father, diversified into the production of water-pumping equipment and the "Godiva" was born.

Going into the war, Coventry Climax used their marine diesel experience to further develop and build the Armstrong Whitworth supercharged H30 multifuel engine for military use. This has been fitted as an auxiliary engine in the British Chieftain and Challenger battle tanks and Rapier anti aircraft missile systems.


File:Coventry Climax ET 199 fork lift truck.jpg
Coventry Climax ET 199 (1949 model)

In the late 1940s, the company shifted away from automobile engines and into other markets, including marine diesels, fire pumps, and forklift trucks. In 1946, the ET199 was announced, which the company claimed was the first British-produced forklift truck. The ET199 was designed to carry a Script error: No such module "convert". load with a Script error: No such module "convert". load centre, and with a Script error: No such module "convert". lift height.[3]

In 1950, Harry Mundy (previously of Alvis, ERA, Morris and BRM) and Walter Hassan (previously employed by Bentley, ERA and Jaguar) joined Coventry Climax, and a new lightweight all-aluminium overhead camshaft engine was developed in response to the government's ambitious requisition outline asking for a portable fire pump that is capable of pumping double the amount of water specified in the previous outline, with half the weight.

This was designated the FW, for "Feather Weight". The engine was displayed at the Motor Show in London and attracted attention from the motor racing fraternity for its very high "Horsepower per Pound of weight". With strong persuasions at the Show including those by Cyril Kieft (who had Stirling Moss as a F3 driver) and a young Colin Chapman, Lee concluded that success in competition could lead to more customers for the company and so the team designed the FWA, a Feather Weight engine for 'A'utomobiles.

The first Coventry Climax racing engine appeared at the 1954 24 Hours of Le Mans in the front of one of two Kieft 1100 sports racers, but both cars (one with a MG engine) failed to finish the race for problems unrelated to engine. The FWA became popular in sportscar racing and was followed by Mark II and then by the FWB which had a capacity of nearly 1.5-litres. The new Formula Two regulations suited the 1.5-litre engine and it quickly became the engine to have in F2 racing. The following year, the first Climax engines began to appear in Formula One in the back of Cooper chassis.

Initially, these were FWBs but the FPF engine followed. Stirling Moss scored the company's first Formula One victory in Argentina in 1958, using a 2-litre version of the engine. In general terms, however, the engines were not powerful enough to compete with the 2.5-litre machinery and it was not until the 2.5-litre version of the FPF arrived in 1959 that Jack Brabham was able to win the World Championship in a Cooper-Climax. At the same time, the company produced the FWE engine for Lotus Elite and this enjoyed considerable success in sports car racing, with a series of class wins at the Le Mans event in the early 1960s.

In 1961, there was a new 1.5-litre formula and the FPF engine was given a new lease of life, although the company began work on a V8 engine, designated the FWMV, and this began winning races in 1962 with Jim Clark. There would be a total of 22 Grand Prix victories before 1966 with crossplane, flatplane, 2 valve and 4 valve versions of FWMV. When the new 3-litre formula was introduced, Coventry Climax decided not to build engines for the new formula, withdrew from racing after the disastrous FWMW project, with the exception of the new 2-Litre version of FWMV.

Also in the early 1960s, Coventry Climax was approached by Rootes to mass-produce FWMA for use in a compact family car project called Apex with all aluminium alloy over head cam engine combined with full-syncromesh aluminium transaxle. This combination was considered very radical at the time, especially the syncromesh on all forward gears had been declared 'impossible' by Alec Issigonis of the BMC Mini fame. The adoption to mass-production was successful, and the project came out to the market as 875cc Hillman Imp totaling over 400,000 units made by 1976 including the later 998cc version.

Final years

The company was purchased by Jaguar Cars in 1963, which itself merged with the British Motor Corporation (BMC) in 1966 to form British Motor Holdings (BMH).

In May, 1964, the Royal Automobile Club presented the Dewar Trophy, which is given at the recommendation of RAC's Technical and Engineering Committee for the most outstanding British achievement in the automotive field, to Leonard Pelham Lee. The citation reads: "Awarded to Coventry Climax Engines Ltd. for the design, development and production of engines which have brought British cars to the forefront in the field of Grand Prix racing."

History of this trophy dates back to 1906. The last time Dewar Trophy was awarded before 1964, the recipient was Alec Issigonis for BMC in 1959 on the design and production of ADO15 Mini, who once was a Junior Engineer at Coventry Climax.

BMH merged with the Leyland Motor Corporation in 1968 to form the British Leyland Motor Corporation, which was then nationalised in 1975 as British Leyland (BL). Coventry Climax became part of the British Leyland Special Products division, alongside Alvis, Aveling-Barford and others. At the end of 1978, BL brought together Coventry Climax Limited, Leyland Vehicles Limited (trucks, buses, and tractors), Alvis Limited (military vehicles) and Self-Changing Gears Limited (heavy-duty transmissions), into a new group called BL Commercial Vehicles (BLCV) under managing director David Abell.

In the early 1970s the fire pump business was sold back into private ownership, and the Godiva Fire Pumps company was formed in Warwick. In 1977 Coventry Climax acquired the Warrington forklift truck business of Rubery Owen Conveyancer, renaming it to Climax Conveyancer.

1982 saw the sell-off by BL of the Coventry Climax forklift truck business back into private ownership, to Coventry Climax Holdings Limited. Sir Emmanuel Kaye, also chairman and a major shareholder of Lansing Bagnall at the time, formed the company, independent of his other interests for the purpose of acquiring Coventry Climax.

In 1986 Coventry Climax went into receivership and was acquired by Cronin Tubular. In 1990, a further change of ownership came with the engine business being sold to Horstman Defence Systems of Bath, Somerset, thus breaking the link with Coventry. Kalmar Industries acquired the forklift truck interests of Coventry Climax in 1985. The company traded as "Kalmar Climax" for a few years, but is now trading as Kalmar Industries Ltd.[4]

'Coventry Climax' logo is owned by Peter Schomer's company Coventry Climax Engineering Ltd. (England) Registered Trade Mark # 2527892 is protected under the Trade Mark Intellectual Property and Patent Office of Great Britain.

The engines


Within the complicated corporate lineage, the reputation of Coventry Climax as the top-rate engine designer/builder is largely credited to Walter Hassan and Harry Mundy, who designed and developed the Feather Weight (FW) together. The following design aspects are credited to these two people, except the last two items, in which Peter Windsor Smith played a considerable role in place of Harry Mundy who left the firm in 1955 and returned in 1963.

  • Designed as a fire engine component, one unique requirement the Feather Weight fulfilled was the ability to be run at nearly full throttle without a proper warm-up. This required careful attention to lubrication and thermal expansion rates on its parts, which translated into legendary durability in rough racing environments at a small price of not so frugal oil consumption.
  • Another technical significance of the FW series, which was carried over to the FWM, is an interpretation of Sir Harry Ricardo's intake turbulence theory,[5] whereby intake and exhaust valves are tilted to the same side of the engine where intake and exhaust ports are located. In the SOHC reverse-flow cylinderhead design where valves are actuated directly under the camshaft, and where the intake and exhaust ports are located fore and aft of the cylinder bore center, this arrangement allowed intake and exhaust flows to encourage a swirl in the same rotational direction in the combustion chamber going into and coming out of the cylinder.
  • Later crossflow DOHC FPF design incorporated the same concept in a completely different arrangement where the tracts in the intake manifold are connected to the intake ports in a staggered manner, somewhat like in a corkscrew fashion, to create the turbulence by the intake flow.
  • The FWMV had unusually small exhaust valve size to intake valve size ratio for an increased intake flow speed for the same reason. At one time, FWMV's exhaust valve size (1.37") exceeded inlet valve size (1.35") on the most successful Mk.4 version.
  • Separately, FWMV Mk.III and Mk.4 became famous for proving that flatplane crankshaft design is more advantageous for a racing V8 than crossplane, in spite of the engineering theories at the time suggesting otherwise. Flatplane crankshaft became the norm in V8 racing engine designs from the 1970s to the present day.


The OC was initially made with a capacity of 1122 cc as a straight-4 using a bore of 63 mm and stroke of 90 mm with overhead inlet and side exhaust valves, producing Script error: No such module "convert".. It was introduced in the early 1920s and also built under licence by Triumph.


A six-cylinder version of the OC engine, the JM, was made with a capacity of 1476 cc developing Script error: No such module "convert".. The JMC version had a capacity increase to 1640 cc by increasing the bore to 63 mm and produced Script error: No such module "convert"..


File:Climax FWA 1098.jpg
1098cc FWA installed in Lotus 17
Lotus Elite for which FWE (E for Elite) was developed

The FW 38 hp 1020 cc straight-4 SOHC was designed by Walter Hassan and Harry Mundy as the motive unit for a portable service firepump which was supplied to the government under three contracts totaling over 150,000 units. This engine was revolutionary in its lightness, with the bare weight of 180 pounds, combined with the maintenance-free valve adjustment using shims under overhead camshaft.

In 1953 it was adapted for automotive racing as the 1098 cc FWA retaining the cast crank 3 main bearing construction of FW but with distributor ignition in place of magneto, different camshaft and a higher 9.8:1 compression ratio. With a bore of 2.85 inches and a stroke of 2.625 inches it initially produced Script error: No such module "convert". and was first used at Le Mans in 1954 by Kieft Cars. After the FWA was introduced, FW was renamed to FWP (Pump).

The larger bore (3 inches) and longer stroke (3.15 inches) 1460 cc FWB engine followed, it retained the FWA head but had a forged steel crank and produced a nominal Script error: No such module "convert".. The most significant of the series was the FWE which used the FWB bore size and the FWA stroke for a displacement of 1216 cc. In exchange for a 1000 unit purchase agreement signed by Colin Chapman, it was specifically designed with forged steel crank for Lotus Elite but became a firm favourite with a number of sports car racing firms for its racing durability and high power-to-weight ratio.

  • FWE Stage I - 10:1 Compression Ratio, Single 1-1/2" SU H4 carburetor on cast iron intake and exhaust manifold, 75 bhp at 6100rpm
  • FWE Stage II - Dual 1-1/2" SU H4 carburetors on alloy manifold, standard on Series 2 Elite, 80 bhp at 6100rpm
  • FWE Stage III (Super 95) - 10.5:1 Compression Ratio, Dual twin choke Weber 40DCOE, 95 bhp at 7000rpm
  • FWE Super 100 - 5 bearing high lift camshaft, steel timing gear, ported head, 100 bhp
  • FWE Super 105 - 11:1 Compression Ratio, racing exhaust manifold, 105 bhp

Other FW variants included a short-stroke (1.78 inches) steel crank version of the FWA named the 744 cc FWC, as used by Dan Gurney early in his career in US club racing. The objective of this engine was for Lotus to campaign for the 750 cc Le Mans Index of Performance prize in 1957, three engines were made for this purpose and they successfully won the prize. Lotus also campaigned FWC at Le Mans in 1958.

FWE powered Lotus Elite won their class six times and the 'Index of Thermal Efficiency' once during the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Notably FW series engines in modified forms also powered Lotus Eleven cars which took three class wins at Le Mans and one 'Index of Performance' win.

In 1966-67, Fisher-Pierce of America imported an 85 hp version of FWB with twin-carburetors to be mounted vertically in their outboard marine unit. This boat engine came out to the market as Bearcat 85.

FPE (the 'Godiva')

Commission Sportive Internationale announced in 1952 that 2.5L naturally aspirated engines would be a part of Formula One regulation starting 1954. Walter Hassan and especially Harry Mundy having their roots deeply in the racing field, started discussions and preliminary designs of a 2.5L 8 Cylinder GP engine in 1952 without a formal directive from the father and son Pelham Lees. Because this project was a pure racing engine from the beginning, which was in stark contrast to the corporate product history up to FWA, the engine was named FPE for 'F'ire 'P'ump 'E'ngine ('E'ight according to another lore) by the playful minds of Hassan and Mundy.

After the corporate blessing was given to the project with the name 'Godiva', this DOHC 90 degree steel crossplane crank V8 engine was built in 1954 for a F1 Kieft with the intention to use the fuel injection system made by Skinners Union (SU).

File:Kieft GP car Donington pits.jpg
2.5L FPE Godiva with Weber Carburetors finally installed in the original 1954 Kieft chassis after being separated for 48 years.

However, this fuel injection system, being designed for aeroplane engines, was found not having the means to enrich the mixture for acceleration, which is not suitable for automobile use. FPE initially showed 240 bhp using Weber carburettors, but the press at the time reported the rumoured fuel-injected Mercedes 2.5L GP engine is quoted as producing more than 300 bhp, and a corporate decision was made not to release FPE to Kieft in light of the lack of proper fuel injection, leaving the Kieft F1 project, as well as other prospective users, HWM and Connaught, high and dry. [6]

There were reports to the effect that the engine was not run because of fears about the rumoured power of other 2.5L GP engines, but shortly after, John Cooper brought a race-winning, works Maserati F1 engine he had on loan into Coventry Climax, where it produced 225 bhp running on the same dynamometer upon which the FPE had made 264 bhp after some development. [7]

Ultimately, development on the engine was abandoned in favour of focusing on the FPF engine, which was already proven competitive in 1.5L form with side-draft Weber carburetors in the F2 races, and the entire stock of parts were sold to Andrew Getley in the mid-1960s. When the Formula One regulation changed to 3 Litres for 1966, Mr. Getley permitted Paul Emery to rebuild one FPE to 3 Litre format, and fit it to a one-off Shannon steel monocoque chassis to make the Shannon F1 car named SH1 driven by Trevor Taylor at 1966 British Grand Prix. Bored out to 3 Litres and Tecalemit Jackson fuel injection installed, this Emery-built FPE produced 312 bhp on the dynamometer at Chrysler's Kew facility.[8]

Remnants of other FPE parts were much later found by the then-owner of 1954 Kieft F1 chassis, Gordon and Martyn Chapman, in an air-raid cellar in the abandoned building which used to belong to Bill Lacey (of Power Engines Ltd., a Coventry Climax specialist) near the main entrance of Silverstone Circuit, including 3 blocks, 2 cranks, 16 cylinder heads, 20-some cam covers (carriers?), two cardboxes full of timing gears and camshafts, which all belonged to "Doc Murfield" who had purchased the parts from Andrew Getley in 1968-69 and had entrusted them to Bill Lacey. [9]

These parts were assembled into two engines under the ownership of Gordon Chapman and then under Bill Morris, who bought the engine parts and the Kieft chassis after Gordon Chapman's death. One engine was sold by Chapman to the then-owner of Shannon SH1, and this FPE is said to be in Austria together with Shannon SH1.[8] Another using two of the later type twin spark plug heads in the stock, was run in the original 1954 Kieft-Climax V8 Grand Prix chassis with downdraft Weber 40IDF carburetors when they were finally mated and the construction finished on September 21, 2002 at VSCC Silverstone Meeting, and this car was campaigned in VSCC events for the next 10 years.

Four sets of period-correct Weber 40DCNL carburetors were installed on the FPE during the 10 years, and the car, one spare chassis, and the FPE parts were sold in a lot at Bonhams Chichester auction on September 15, 2012 for £185,000.


File:Cooper-Climax T54 "The Kimberly Special" - Flickr - andrewbasterfield.jpg
1961 Cooper T54, the first rear-engine Indy car, with 2.75L FPF

The FPF was a double overhead cam all aluminium four cylinder that was essentially half of the above FPE V8 engine, which was designed as a pure racing engine from the outset. Designed in 1955 and becoming available in 1956,[10] it had gear-driven camshafts, steel alloy cylinder sleeves and individual oil scavenge as well as pressure feed pumps for a dry sump system. Carburetion was by two twin-choke Weber DCO side-draft carburettors.

It started life as a 1,475 cc Formula Two engine by enlarging the 2.95" bore of the FPE to 3.2" with the slightly increased 2.8" stroke,[11] and was gradually enlarged for use in Formula One. See the above Design section for its unusual intake port design.

A 1,964 cc (3.4" x 3.3") version took Stirling Moss and Maurice Trintignant to Cooper's first two Grand Prix victories against 2.5 L opposition in 1958. After the interim 2,207 cc (3.5" x 3.5") version, a larger block was cast to result in 2,467 cc (3.7" x 3.5") in 1958, and then to a full-sized 2,497 cc (3.7" x 90 mm[12]) in 1960.[13] Jack Brabham won the World Championship of Drivers in both 1959 and 1960 driving FPF powered Coopers.

The FPF with larger block (to accommodate larger bores) was then adapted to the new 1.5-litre Formula One of 1961 as 1,499.8 cc (82mm x 71mm) FPF Mk.II and won three World Championship Grand Prix races in that year. In addition, capacity was increased to 2,751 cc (96mm x 95mm) for the Indianapolis 500[14] and this larger variant was also utilised for sports car racing,[14] the Intercontinental Formula[15] and Formula Libre racing. It also served as a stopgap in the new 3.0 L Formula One regulation, which went into effect for 1966. The old 2,497 cc FPF gained a new lease of life in 1964 with the introduction of the Tasman Formula and the Australian National Formula, both of which had a maximum engine capacity of 2.5 litres.

The following is the list of FPF versions:

  • 1956 FPF 1475cc 4 cyl 3.20 x 2.80" 141 bhp (105 kW)@7300rpm for F2
  • 1957 FPF 1964cc 4 cyl 3.40 x 3.30" 175 bhp (130 kW)@6500rpm for F1
  • 1958 FPF 2207cc 4 cyl 3.50 x 3.50" Smaller block
  • 1958 FPF 2467cc 4 cyl 3.70 x 3.50" 220 bhp (160 kW)@6500rpm Larger block for F1
  • 1960 FPF 2497cc 4 cyl 3.70" x 90mm[12] 239 bhp (180 kW)@6750rpm.[13][16] for F1
  • 1961 FPF 2751cc 4 cyl 96mm x 95mm Indianapolis and Formula Libre
  • 1961 FPF Mk.II 1499.8cc 4 cyl 82mm x 71mm 151 bhp (113 kW)@7500rpm for F1

See the below F1 engines section for comparison to other models.


The FW was designed in response to the British Government's Defence Ministry (MoD) requisition outline issued in 1950, specifying a water pump and gasoline engine combination to deliver 350 Gallons of water per minute at 100 psi, with 35 to 40 bhp at the weight of 350 pounds or less. The successful bid by a portable pump driven by the 38 bhp FW mounted in a steel pipe frame resulted in a 5000 unit supply contract in 1952.

By 1956, 1460 cc FWB was adapted back to a higher output fire pump engine as FWBP with good results, and led to the realisation that the newer 35 hp general purpose engine specification by the government (including for Search Lights and Generator Sets) could be met with a smaller displacement engine. This resulted in the development of SOHC 654 cc (2.35" bore x 2.25" stroke) FWM in 1957, which basically was a smaller and lighter version of FWP with many detail differences that reflect the improvements and cost-cutting as well as weight saving measures found in the development of FWA, FWB and FWE. The differences include:

  • Deletion of the intermediary shaft (Jackshaft) making the cam drive a single stage chain as opposed to FW series' two stage gear/chain set up. This made the camshaft to turn in the same direction as the crank.
  • Conrod big end part line was made horizontal, as opposed to the previous diagonal.
  • The number of cylinder head studs was reduced from 18 to 10.[17]


It is common to refer to FWM as "Feather Weight Marine", however, three facts need to be considered with regard to this naming. First, a number of American made small cars called 'Crosmobile' were imported to England in the 1940s and 1950s with uniquely light and compact 44ci SOHC 4 cylinder engines cosmetically similar to the FW series. This brand of cars were made and sold as 'Crosley' in the US, with its engines designed, patented (US Patent Number 2341488 in 1944) and licensed by Lloyd M. Taylor of California. This Crosley engine was successfully developed into various marine configurations, and became known as Peek Wildcat and Beaver inboards, as well as Homelite 55 outboard until 1966 and Fisher-Pierce Bearcat 55 outboard engine thereafter .[18] This engine with cast iron block 5 main bearing format was developed to become the DOHC Bandini 750 (63.5 x 59.0mm) in Italy, which has no relation to the 3 main bearing aluminium block FW or FWM.

Secondly, the aforementioned Fisher-Pierce imported 1460 cc FWB to make into Bearcat 85 outboard. [19] As the boat maker had its own 55 hp engine, this contract was not on FWM, and this is an event after the 1966 purchase of Homelite business by Fisher-Pierce, which is long after the creation and naming of FWM.

Lastly, one of the first contracts given to Coventry Climax on FWM was for Defence Medical Supply Centre as an electric generator unit .[20] These three facts may indicate that the 'M' in the type name was not for 'Marine' as widely believed, but was for 'Medical', despite some seemingly reliable sources claiming FWM was successful as a marine engine. [21]


FWM was then developed into automotive engine as FWMA of 742 cc with larger 2.45" bore and 2.4" stroke in 1959. Several versions of FWMD Diesel utility engines (including a marine version, again, much later than the birth of FWM) followed, and then a chain-driven DOHC 2 valves per cylinder crossflow cylinder head was developed and became the FWMC, succeeding FWC as the all-out racing engine for the 750cc class. FWMC became known for the unusually loud and high-pitched exhaust note when installed in a specially made super-light version of Lotus Elite ran by UDT Laystall at 1961 Le Mans 24 Hours. It was this 4 cylinder DOHC FWMC that was used as the basis to develop the successful FWMV V8.

However, coinciding with the promotion of Peter Windsor Smith as the Chief Engineer (reporting to Walter Hassan) in 1960, Coventry Climax reverted (as in OC and JM engines) to using Metric system for specifying piston and crankshaft sizes, so FWMV was born with 63mm (2.4803") bore and 60mm (2.3622") stroke, ending up having almost no parts interchangeability to FWMC despite having an extremely similar design .[22]

To streamline the production, the 63mm x 60mm sizes were later applied back to the 4 cylinder engine to form the 748cc FWMB with the same cylinder head as the FWMA.


The 1.5-litre FWMV V8, developed from FWMC using a crossplane crankshaft, was designed in 1960 and ran for the first time in May 1961. It produced Script error: No such module "convert". from 11.5:1 compression ratio and made its debut on Cooper T58 at 1961 German GP in August. Initial developments resulted in Script error: No such module "convert". at 8500rpm soon after, but Jack Brabham at Cooper and Stirling Moss at Rob Walker Racing Team suffered over-heating problems while enjoying a great amount of power for the rest of the season.

The problem was diagnosed to originate in the thermal expansion rate of the cylinder sleeve causing the Cooper Ring in between the block and the head to leak. With this problem solved in the Mk.II 186 bhp version, having a larger 1.35" intake valves (1.30" previously), FWMV started to score GP victories, ending the 1962 season with 3 wins for Lotus, 1 win for Cooper, 5 second places and 4 third places, in addition to 7 pole positions and 6 fastest laps.

For 1963, Coventry Climax was able to convince Lucas to supply the cogged belt driven fuel injection system originally developed for BRM with then-unique sliding throttle plates with four round intake bores cut out. With the larger bore (from 63mm to 68mm) and shorter stroke (60mm to 51.5mm) compared to Mk.II, notable changes include the increase in conrod length (from 4.2" to 5.1" center to center, with a shorter piston crown height) and the switch from crossplane to flatplane crankshaft, which surprisingly did not increase vibration in the higher RPM range because the longer conrod length counteracted the increase in secondary vibration inherent in flatplane design.

The flatplane crank was adopted partly due to Rob Walker's proposed successor to the 4WD Ferguson P99 Formula 1 having a front engine layout, which could not accommodate exhaust pipes that merge with pipes from exhaust ports on the opposing banks on crossplane arrangement, but this project did not materialise. Later, such elaborate crossplane exhaust system became known as "bundle of snakes" on Ford GT40, but was a feature of FWMV Mk.I and Mk.II.

This Mk.III developed Script error: No such module "convert". at 9500rpm, propelling Jim Clark, Lotus 25 and Team Lotus to 7 wins, 7 pole positions, 6 fastest laps and the World Championship title.

Mk.4 was developed for 1964 with yet larger bore (72.4mm) and shorter stroke (45.5mm) with a larger exhaust valve (from 1.237" to 1.37") and 12:1 compression ratio to result in Script error: No such module "convert". at 9750rpm. One-off Mk.5 was made with larger inlet valve (from 1.35" to 1.40") for Script error: No such module "convert"., which was delivered to Lotus and said to be used by Clark in the 1964 season. Mk.4 and Mk.5 scored 5 wins (3 by Clark for Lotus, 2 by Gurney for Brabham), 7 pole positions and 7 fastest laps.

A one-off 4 valve Mk.6 had 1.04" intake and 0.935" exhaust valves, new pistons, cylinder sleeves and crankshaft, and had gear driven camshafts as opposed to the previous chain drive. This engine made Script error: No such module "convert". at 10300rpm and went to Lotus during 1965. Another 4 valve one-off, Mk.7, was built with 1.107" intake and 1.043" exhaust and all the new Mk.6 parts for Script error: No such module "convert". at 10500rpm, and was delivered to Brabham. However, these engines started showing reliability problems.[23]

Except for these two one-off 4 valve engines with characteristic ribbed cam covers, all the FWMVs used in 1965 season were 2 valve Mk.5 or earlier versions with various levels of upgrade. This was because Coventry Climax had started the FWMW flat-16 project, which was finally announced at the beginning of 1965, and had more than a handful in things needed to be developed or solved, so the 4 valve configuration on FWMV did not get completely developed nor did reach a series production. However, Jim Clark was able to win 6 championship races (3 with Mk.6), 6 pole positions and 6 fastest laps to become the 1965 World Champion.

At the end of the 1965 season, the failure of FWMW project left Coventry Climax with no 3 Litre successor to FWMV for the next season, so a 2 Litre version of FWMV was assembled using Mk.4 bore (72.40mm) and Mk.II stroke (60.00mm) and was used by Lotus (also used by Joakim Bonnier on a Brabham chassis) in 1966 with no success.

Overall, FWMV powered Cooper, Lotus, Brabham, Lola and Scirocco-Powell Formula One cars and won 22 World Championship Grand Prix races.


By the middle of 1962 season, Peter Windsor Smith and Walter Hassan were convinced that the only viable route to higher specific power was through higher revs, and the decision was made on developing a 1.5-Litre flat-16 designated the FWMW, partly in light of Harry Mundy's experiences on the screaming 1.5-Litre supercharged British Racing Motors V16 (BRM V16) in the past. Design work started in 1963, and a prototype was running on the bench in late 1964 with two flatplane flat-8 cranks (not a boxer arrangement, but rather like a 180 degree V8 with shared crank pins) shrunk-fit to the central spur gear at 90 degrees phase shift to each other.

Work on this project continued through the later years of the 1.5 L formula with Lotus and Brabham the likely recipients. The packaging was successful in making the engine fairly compact at 30.9" long (only 1" longer than FWMV Mk.4) and 22.6" wide, but there were a number of design issues still to solve before the formula ran out. The engine had not only shown no power advantage over the V8 despite its much higher rev limit, it had a number of design issues that would either have taken a major rework to solve or at least resulted in the need for complete engine rebuilds after 3 hours of running.

The largest problem was torsional vibration on the crankshaft from the outset, at one time necessitating a ban on using below 4000rpm on the bench, that often caused the conjoined cranks to shear itself off the central spur gear resulting in the engine becoming two aphasic flat-8s, or the parallel quill shaft (driven at 0.8 times the crank speed, located below crank, which in turn drives the flywheel and ancillaries) overheated by the vibration and disintegrated.

This unique central power-take-off system using the parallel shaft was meant to lessen the anticipated torsional vibration of the long crankshaft, however, the self-destructing vibration appeared no matter what they changed in firing order, crank counter-weight configuration or crankshaft weight distribution.

As a result, Coventry Climax could not derive revenues from the project, and was further forced to develop a 2-Litre version of FWMV so that Lotus, who built one Lotus 33 chassis specifically for FWMW, who also were counting on using FWMW's anticipated 3-Litre successor, could avoid missing the first races of the 1966 season. Not the old 4 cylinder FPF nor the 8 cylinder FWMV could be enlarged to 3 Litres, and the 11 years old 2.5-Litre FPE parts had been sold off in the entirety and were in the hands of Paul Emery, who was in the process of enlarging FPE to 3-Litres as described in the above FPE section.

Partly because of this project's grand scale failure, and partly because of Jaguar's take over[24] in 1963, Coventry Climax could not develop a 3-Litre successor to FWMW, and announced the withdrawal from F1 engine business, with its reputation and the long standing relationship with Lotus seriously tarnished.

Jaguar V12

Main article: Jaguar V12 engine
File:XJ13 engine.JPG
Jaguar XJ13 5 Litre V12
Jaguar 5.3 Litre V12

Having designed and developed the successful Jaguar XK engine under the guidance of William Heynes at SS Cars Ltd, Walter Hassan and the team were tasked to develop a Jaguar 5.0 L DOHC V12 engine when Coventry Climax was purchased by Jaguar in 1963. It was about this time when Walter Hassan convinced Harry Mundy, who had left to become the Technical Editor of The Autocar magazine in 1955 (while there he also designed the Lotus-Ford Twin Cam for Colin Chapman[25]), to rejoin the team, which now included the Jaguar engineer, Claude Bailey, who always worked under Bill Heynes from the days of XK engine development. William Heynes was the executive in charge of the team, who retired in July, 1969.

This engine was initially conceived in 1954 for Le Mans 24 Hour Race by combining two Jaguar XK cylinder heads on a common 60 degree block. [26] The first prototype was assembled in 1964 with LM8 aluminium alloy sand cast block and flanged cast iron liners, EN4A forged and nitrided 7 main bearing crankshaft for 4994 cc (87mm x 70mm). This racing engine, with its intake ports in between the intake and the exhaust camshafts, came out to be the fuel injected 5L DOHC Jaguar XJ13 engine in 1966, but more importantly, it was further developed by the same team into the series-production 5.3 L SOHC V12 engine.[27] This engine, with characteristically long intake tracts connecting the four carburetors on the outside of cam covers to the intake ports inside the V angle, came out to the market on Jaguar E-Type in 1971, on Jaguar XJ12 in 1972, and, together with the later 6.0 L version, remained in production until 1997.


After the designing was finished on the 5.3 L V12 and the Jaguar XJ, Jaguar wanted a modern engine for a smaller version of XJ. Although Jaguar had gained access to the 2.5 Litre iron block Daimler V8 with the take over of Daimler in 1960, it was a pushrod engine designed in the 1950s, and was not particularly small or light as it was based on, and had many common components with, the 4.5 Litre version.

In response, Coventry Climax designed an aluminium crossflow chain-driven SOHC cylinder head somewhat similar to the 5.3L V12 head, on FWMV Mk.4 block with a stroked crank and wet sump. Tecalemit-Jackson fuel injection was used for the development on this 2,496 cc CFA V8, and the engine was installed on Leonard Pelham Lee's personal Triumph 2000 Estate.

The testing was promising, and a 1,812 cc CFF version was prototyped, however, this 1.8 - 2.5 Litre baby XJ project was killed along with the V8 engines when British Motor Holdings merged with Leyland Motor Corporation in 1968 for the strategy to eliminate internal competition against what came out to be the Rover SD1.

F1 engines

Problems playing this file? See media help.

The F1 engines were as follows (bore and stroke figures are unified in inches on Metric designs for comparison):

  • 1954 FPE 2492cc V-8 2.95 x 2.78125" Script error: No such module "convert".@7900rpm Godiva
  • 1956 FPF 1475cc 4 cyl 3.20 x 2.80" Script error: No such module "convert".@7300rpm for F2, ran in GP races
  • 1957 FPF 1964cc 4 cyl 3.40 x 3.30" Script error: No such module "convert".@6500rpm
  • 1958 FPF 2207cc 4 cyl 3.50 x 3.50" power figures unknown
  • 1958 FPF 2467cc 4 cyl 3.70 x 3.50" Script error: No such module "convert".@6500rpm
  • 1960 FPF 2497cc 4 cyl 3.70 x 3.54" Script error: No such module "convert".@6750rpm[16]
  • 1961 FPF 2751cc 4 cyl 3.78 x 3.74" Indianapolis and Formula Libre
  • 1961 FPF Mk.II 1499.8cc 4 cyl 3.23 x 2.80" Script error: No such module "convert".@7500rpm
  • 1961 FWMV Mk.I 1496cc V-8 2.48 x 2.36" Script error: No such module "convert".@8500rpm Crossplane crank
  • 1962 FWMV Mk.II 1496cc V-8 2.48 x 2.36" Script error: No such module "convert".@8500rpm 1.35" Intake, Crossplane
  • 1963 FWMV Mk.III 1496cc V-8 2.675 x 2.03" Script error: No such module "convert".@9500rpm Fuel injection, Flatplane
  • 1964 FWMV Mk.4 1499cc V-8 2.85 x 1.79" Script error: No such module "convert".@9750rpm 1.37" Exhaust, Flatplane
  • 1964 FWMV Mk.5 1499cc V-8 2.85 x 1.79" Script error: No such module "convert".@9750rpm 1.4" Intake, Lotus
  • 1965 FWMV Mk.6 1499cc V-8 2.85 x 1.79" Script error: No such module "convert".@10300rpm 4 valve/cyl, Lotus
  • 1965 FWMV Mk.7 1499cc V-8 2.85 x 1.79" Script error: No such module "convert".@10500rpm 4 valve/cyl, 1.107" Intake, Brabham
  • 1966 FWMV Mk.8 1976cc V-8 2.85 x 2.36" Script error: No such module "convert".@8900rpm 2 valve/cyl, Lotus, Bonnier
  • 1964 FWMW 1495cc F-16 2.13 x 1.60" Script error: No such module "convert".@12000rpm 2 valve/cyl[28]

Climax-powered vehicles

Some notable Coventry Climax-powered cars:

See also




  1. ^ Simister, John (2004-04-01). Legendary Car Engines: Inner Secrets of the World's 20 Best. MotorBooks/MBI Publishing. p. 86. ISBN 0-7603-1941-3. 
  2. ^ "Aston Martin: Car Manufacturer: Great British Design Quest". Design Museum. 
  3. ^ Coventry Transport Museum
  4. ^ Kalmar Industries ltd. : About Us
  5. ^ Ricardo, Harry R. Sir(1941). The High-Speed Internal Combustion Engine (3rd ed.). Glasgow: Blackie.
  6. ^ "1954 Kieft-Climax V8". Retrieved 2013-07-04. 
  7. ^ Hammill, Des (2004). Coventry Climax Racing Engines: The Definitive Development History. Veloce. ISBN 978-1-903706-83-1. 
  8. ^ a b "Shannon F1 Project". Autosport. 2008-05-26. Retrieved 2013-12-12. 
  9. ^ Chapman, Martyn. "Lady Godiva and E.R.A. V8". Autosport. Retrieved 2013-07-06. 
  10. ^ Hammill, Des (2004). Coventry Climax Racing Engines, The Definitive Development History. Veloce. p. 295. ISBN 1-903706-83-1. 
  11. ^ Whitelock, Mark (2006). 1 1/2-Litre Gp Racing 1961-1965. Veloce. p. 295. ISBN 978-184584016-7. 
  12. ^ a b See the FWMC description in the FWM section for the reason for this inches/mm mixed specification
  13. ^ a b See the FWM section for the use of Metric system by Coventry Climax.
  14. ^ a b ML Twite, The World's Racing Cars, Second Edition, 1964, page 74
  15. ^ ML Twite, The World's Racing Cars, Second Edition, 1964, page 56
  16. ^ a b Setright, L.J.K., "Lotus: The Golden Mean", in Northey, Tom, ed. World of Automobiles (London: Orbis, 1974), Volume 11, p.1228.
  17. ^ Simister, John (2004-04-01). Legendary Car Engines: Inner Secrets of the World's 20 Best. MotorBooks/MBI Publishing. p. 92. ISBN 0-7603-1941-3. 
  18. ^ Stewart, Scott. "Merging Quality with Hobby...". Retrieved 2013-07-08. 
  19. ^ Ortenburger, Dennis (2002). Lotus Elite, Racing Car for the Road. Coterie Press. p. 73. ISBN 1-902351-03-7. 
  21. ^ Brain, Eric (1994). "Coventry Climax Engines Ltd.". Retrieved 2013-07-10. 
  22. ^ Whitelock, Mark (2006). 1 1/2-Litre Gp Racing 1961-1965. Veloce. p. 297. ISBN 978-184584016-7. 
  23. ^ Whitelock, Mark. 1-1/2-Litre Grand Prix Racing 1961-1965. Veloce. pp. 299–304. ISBN 978-184584016-7. 
  24. ^ See the Jaguar V12 section for the reason why Jaguar wanted Coventry Climax resources.
  25. ^ Wilkins, Miles. Lotus Twin-cam Engine. MBI Publishing. p. 13. ISBN 0-7603-1692-9. 
  26. ^ Bywater, Roger. "The technical history of the Jaguar V12 engine". Retrieved 2013-07-30. 
  27. ^ BBC, Raymond Baxter. "Jaguar V12 Engine, an episode of Tomorrow's World". Retrieved 2014-05-24. 
  28. ^ Whitelock, Mark (2006). 1 1/2-Litre Gp Racing 1961-1965. Veloce. p. 306. ISBN 978-184584016-7. 

External links