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Homepage. This page: A rare original photo of the four-cam V8 Grand Prix racing engine developed by Speed Engines Ltd.

Speed Engines Limited.

Two unidentified old photos were found on ebay in 2009, one shows a 4CLT Maserati, and the other this V8 engine, shown below. Fortunately there were some clues as to this engine's identity (the vendor told me that both images came from the estate of a former racing driver?). The cam covers feature the name of Speed Engines Limited, as do the name badges worn by the individuals in the photograph. With this information, a little online digging brought up some interesting information on this prototype, all-new, aluminium V8 Grand Prix engine of the 1950s, known as the Brooke-Weston V8. Brainchild of Leslie Brooke, it led to the formation of Speed Engines Ltd.
The Speed Engines Ltd team with their V8 engine
A very interesting thread on the Autosport forum about this, and the Godiva V8 engines, provided some key information about this engine, it's fate, and the plans to resurrect it that are currently in hand. It also enabled me to identify many of the gents in this photo - from left to right: Leslie Brooke (designer), Ron Dalton (Rootes), ?, Bill Oliver (Rootes), Alderman Harry Weston (Mayor of Coventry at the time, and MD of Machine Tools Ltd), H. Wills and a D. West, also of Speed Engines Ltd. The location is probably Leslie Brooke's home workshop, where the engine had been moved to after assembly at a building owned by the Rootes Group.
The photo shows the four-cam (twin cam per bank) engine configuration, with twin Lucas distributors and a hefty pair of water pumps out front. The carbs were unique downdraught Solexes. Twin plugs were fitted to each cylinder, with each serviced by two inlet valves, and one exhaust valve. Leslie Johnson, of ERA, had been down to produce a chassis for this new engine but suffered a heart attack part way through the project, and on his doctor's advice, sold ERA and pulled out of this project, leaving Brooke and SEL to carry on with the V8's build.
Problems on the test-bench led to development work on this engine ceasing. Shell BP, one of the project's backers, decided instead to concentrate its attentions on BRM, who were struggling to make their V16 engine reliable.
A closer look at the Speed Engines Ltd - SEL - V8
Return to Old Car Photos section, Page No. 10. More racing-related content to be found on oldclassiccar can be read about here.

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