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Gerry Beddoes of Jaguar
I was privileged to be in a position to facilitate the reunion of Gerry Beddoes, one of Jaguar’s prime architects of Jaguar’s legendary quad-cam V12 engine with former ex-Jaguar colleagues Peter Wilson, Frank Philpott and Jim Eastick. For many years after Gerry’s retirement, he “fell off the radar” as far as contact with his former colleagues was concerned and it was such a pleasure to be able to reunite these gentlemen once again.Building The Legend, Jaguar, XJ13, Neville Swales, E-Type, Classic Car, Jaguar XJ13, Jaguar Heritage, Jaguar Classic, C-Type, D-Type, XKSS

© Neville Swales – Gerry Beddoes (left) meets Jim Eastick for the first time in many years

© Neville Swales – Left to right – Gerry Beddoes, Frank Philpott & Jim Eastick share a few memories

© Neville Swales - We met at the home of Peter Wilson who treated us to a delightful afternoon tea

Memories of Jaguar

Gerry recalled …

“Like many before me and myriads after I was overwhelmed by the XK l20 when I saw it aged seventeen at the 1948 Motor Show (and still have my precious brochure). My admiration for the car and its engine were reinforced by a visit to the Swallow Road factory to see the cars being built as they wound their way through the wooden buildings of the old munitions plant. I was then in the early days of my Engineering Degree course and, to that point. had not decided where I should use my newly acquired skills. Following those visits I had no doubt and set about my studies with greater vigour. The next decision was how to persuade Jaguar to take me on. In this I was helped by a friend of my then girlfriends family, Peter Duncan, who was producer of the popular BBC Saturday evening radio programme. In Town Tonight. He was the proud owner of a Mk.5 and knew Bill Lyons and Bill Heynes, having interviewed them on his show. He was kind enough to contact them in late I950 to mention me as an enthusiastic but unskilled potential employee.

Original XK120 at Earls Court, London

Early the following year I. received an invitation from Bill Heynes to attend an interview with him in his office at Swallow Road and. on a cold morning in late March, my girlfriend (who by then was my fiancee) and l made our way by bus from our homes in Worcestershire to Coventry. Leaving her to pace up and down Burnaby Road in the cold I found my way to the Design Office and had a pleasant hour with Bill Heynes going over my ambitions and his requirements. I left with an offer of employment in the Experimental Department, assisting Jack Emerson in Engine Test, subject to my spending a weekend there to see whether he and I could hit it off together and also subject to mypassing my Finals that summer. Six weeks later I made my way back to Coventry to meet Jack Emerson. Claude Baily and my future colleagues in the wooden shed that was the Engine Experimental Office.

WM Heynes, Jaguar’s Chief Enginer from 1935, was Gerry’s boss. Here he presents Gerry with an award at the Rifle Club Dinner in 1954. To Bill’s left are Bill Young (drawing office) and Ted Barber (production control) – © Gerry Beddoes

By then the 1951 Le Mans engines were in full development and the two test beds on which all engine tests were made for production and race development were in use seven days a week. My face seemed to fit and a start date of early August was agreed although this anticipated my examination results by several weeks. The Department I joined consisted of four – including me — Jack Emerson as Chief Development Engineer, me to record test results, calculate performance and draw graphs. Fred Kettle as Tester and Jim Eastick as his assistant. Jim was about the same age as me and had joined Jaguar as an lmprover, a kind of apprentice. Also sharing our office was Wally Rheese who kept records for all Experimental Department activities. Engines were built next to the test shed by Jack Lea and Frank Rainbow in a corner of the general Experimental Shop. Phil Weaver was in charge of the vehicle section with Harry Case as Foreman, soon to be replaced by Bill Cassidy on his retirement. Ron (Soapy) Sutton had left shortly before my arrival to be replaced by Norman Dewis the following year.

The test house itself was an asbestos panelled shed set between two of the parallel wooden buildings of the first world war shell filling plant and had two Heenan and Froude DPX 4 water brakes. Engines were cooled by passing the cooling water into a tank at the front of each test bench, the temperature of which was controlled by a tap water feed with the excess spilling over into the drains. All engines were then without oil scavenge pumps so oil cooling was by means of water sprays from a ‘U’ shaped pipe around each sump. Fuel was gravity fed from car fuel tanks high up on the wall which were filled from jerry cans carried up a step ladder. The exhaust system was also taken from a car and emerged from the rear wall through a hole knocked in the asbestos sheeting. All in all a Health and Safety nightmare!

Over the next months we tested everything from the l95l TT ‘C’ Type engines to 2 litre four and six cylinder XK engines, a militarized 3.4 for assessment by the Fighting Vehicle Research and Development Establishment at Chobham and an alcohol fuelled racing engine. This latter engine gave us some excitement on two occasions — tirstly when running it at close to 7,000 RPM. faster than attempted before. the rurbber bonded crankshaft damper failed when the rubber melted due to the energy absorbed from crankshaft vibration. The inertia ring dropped to the floor. ran across the concrete floor and stood against the wall. jumping up and down showering us with sparks. As there was no remote reading of engine parameters we were all standing beside the engine. without ear defenders. so failures like that made us jump pretty smartly. Later on the Company Fire Service had to be called out when sparks from the exhaust set alight packing cases left piled outside by the Service Department engine rebuild shop next door. I also accompanied Jack Emerson and Malcolm Sayer on C Type test days at MIRA and had the great excitement of a lap or two as passenger with Peter Walker. Transport to Mira on those occasions was one of the two Mk 6 cars. which were Mk 5 cars fitted with the 3.4 XK engine.

One of Jaguar’s Engine Test Beds – © Gerry Beddoes

There were many visitors to our little office and I would sit enthralled listening to Jack Emerson exchanging memories with Harry Weslake, Ginger Woods of SU Carburetors (both, like Jack Emerson, ex motor cycle racers)and others. I also remember Laurie Hathaway (nicknamed Baron Oswestry by Fred Kettle) for his very colourful choice of swear words spoken with an impeccable English accent.

Graduate Apprenticeship

Shortly after joining Jaguar I had become a Graduate Member of The Institution of Mechanical Engineers, which had (and still has) a very active Automobile Division Section in Coventry. In order to qualify for full Membership later on it was necessary for me to spend a two year Graduate Apprenticeship going through all areas of the company from manufacturing to staff areas. I was helped in drawing up a timetable by Mr. Green, the Apprentice Supervisor but Bill Heynes was. at first, reluctant to have me leave the Engine Test Department However, he was a leading member of the Automobile Division and so could not refuse. So. in early 1952 I put on green overalls and found my way to Browns Lane. Manufacturing was in the middle of transferring to the new location although Design Engineering was still at Foleshill. Lorries would carry a machine, its operator and work in progress so that it could be dropped into position, connected up and restart production with a minimum of delay. My first assignment was in the grinding section. making selector rods for the gearbox but shortly after I was given the opportunity to move to a new production line being installed to make the crankshaft for the Meteor engine used in the Centurion Tank. Jaguar had begun overhauling Meteor engines (a non supercharged development of the famous Rolls Royce Merlin aero engine) and testing them in cells adjacent to the Morris Engines Plant at Courthouse Green and, perhaps as a condition of permission to take over the ex shadow factory in Browns Lane. were to set up to manufacture complete new engines.

Claude Baily, whom Gerry worked with on numerous projects including the XJ13 quad-cam engine

Transfer lines were installed for cylinder blocks and heads and a separate linked line for cranks. I worked on the last of these with a near namesake, Jack Bedder as Setter. and took two crank forgings from one end to the other. setting up machines as we went. In contrast to the block and head lines which had new German Huller machines, our line was made up mainly from machines taken out of MOD storage so needed much renovation. One machine I remember had Russian nameplates on the controls, presumably intended for or even returned following support for Russian manufacture of Merlins during the war. Other machines were clearly American in origin after production there by (I think) Packard. Our two forgings made their way towards the end of the line and were almost finished when a stop was put to the whole project, the machines were stopped and later removed.

During my time in the machine shops the two foremen. Ted Gough and particularly Bill Ward, gave me much help. I moved on to the XK engine assembly line in September I952 and then to the vehicle assembly line. I even spent a couple of weeks on the line producing the C Type cars and remember a mockup of a single seat racing car being made nearby. Having toured most of the production areas I then moved into Bill Norbury“s area, the Service Department. About three weeks later l was surprised to receive a summons to Claude Bailey’s office in the Engine Design Office. Smoothing down my dirty green overalls I made my way there to be told that the company had been given a contract to design and develope a 9.25 litre V8 engine for military use but he was having trouble with balance calculations for the crankshaft — would I take it on. With all the confidence of my 21 years I said “of course” and moved into the design office next day.

Jaguar 1952 Christmas Party (left to right) Stan Paskin, Roy Kettle, Frank Denmee, Gerry Beddoes & Jack King- © Gerry Beddoes

The Ministry V8 Engine

I joined two others who were preparing schematic drawings and beginning detailing- Bill Hayward, who was Section Leader. and Alec Forbes- and began work. In the following months I completed the crank design and went on to calculate all other aspects of the engine such as bearing loads, camshaft drive gears, connecting rod sections and valve gear and also to make some of the detail drawings. In those days we had no computers so every component weight, combustion pressure. inertia force andicrankshaft mass had to be calculated by slide rule or log tables. something I did for every fifteen degrees of crank angle. For its time the engine was very advanced with four valves per cylinder, twin overhead camshafts in each cylinder head driven by gears, an enclosed ignition system to permit immersion and drives for an alternator. hydraulic pump and power take off.

The original version had a carburetor but later engines ran with fuel injection. Power output was targeted at 375 HP at 3750 RPM but both of these figures were exceeded as development progressed. Components for around seven engines were machined and testing carried out on the Courthouse Green test beds as well as at Chobham. My calculation reports were addressed to Claude Baily and copied to Bill Heynes and to FVRDE Chobham. Regular meetings were held with the Chobham engineers, Mr. Tafft and Mr. Semmonds. As my efforts with my slide rule became accepted I began to be asked to complete other design tasks for engine and chassis components.

Gerry Beddoes – © Gerry Beddoes

In early August 1952, just before the midsummer holidays Bill Heynes approached a few of us in the drawing office and asked whether anyone could stay at work to draw up a modified rear suspension for the C Type car. I volunteered as my wife and I had no committed plans for the break. As originally designed it had two blade type lower links connected to the transverse torsion bar and a single triangular upper link which was offset to the right hand side of the differential and inclined downwards towards the front of the car. Under hard acceleration this was under tension due to torque reaction from the axle and opposed the engine torque applied by the propeller shaft. Wheel loadings were kept the same and wheel spin minimized. This was effective in its objective as I had witnessed in acceleration tests at MIRA but provided poor lateral location when cornering giving uncertain handling. My task was to design, detail and see fitted twin upper links for braking and acceleration loads and a Panhard rod for lateral location. This was completed and the cars for the 1952 Goodwood 9 Hour Race were run in that condition, the car driven by Tony Rolt going on to win. Rear suspension for the later Light Alloy car and D Types followed the same design except for a triangular ‘A’ bracket to give better lateral location.

Light Alloy car and D Type

While design work for the Ministry engine was going on I became involved with a project for a successor to the C Type, known within the drawing office as ‘The Light Alloy Car’. I was to calculate stresses and determine sizes for suspension components and torsion bars. This brought me in close contact with Malcolm Sayer who was preparing layout drawings and who, like me, lived in Kenilworth. lt fell to me to prepare weight estimates so that cornering and braking loads could be determined and l followed on by completing detail drawings for many of the suspension components. During construction I got to know Phil Weaver and all the Racing Shop mechanics well. The layout was very similar to the later D Type and, like the first D Types. was constructed from a 4% magnesium/aluminium alloy. This needed shielded arc welding and l remember the specialist from BOC training some of the Experimental fitters in its use. Norman Dewis drove the car for road development. most of which was carried out away from public gaze at Gaydon airfield, then non operational but later to become a V Bomber base and later still a Rover and now Land Rover Engineering center. During one of his tests Norman had a front wheel hub seize up at high speed, which must have been memorable to say the least. The car was brought back apparently undamaged and l was very interested to see whether my wishbone designs had survived. They had but the mounting bracket for the rear bearing of the offside upper suspension arm had a crack about half an inch long. There was much discussion over the relative merits of various remedies such as running a bead of weld along the crack but in the end all that was done was to drill a small hole at the end of the crack and for testing to carry on. I think the high speed runs at Jabekke and road tests at the Rheims track in 195 3/ l 954 must have been made in this condition. Brave Norman!

Another of my tasks in l953 was to make preliminary studies for a V12 engine, based on two 2.4 cylinder heads. The crankshaft stiffness was a concern but it was felt that with a short stroke design giving good overlap of main bearing and crankpin journals a satisfactory engine could be built. l went on to make a quarter size drawing of the engine and gearbox for use in styling sketches for a large saloon car. I still have a copy of this drawing.

Gerry Beddoes played a part in Jaguar winning of the 1953 Le Mans through his work on the C-Types.

Following my work on the Light Alloy car (later given the number XKC 054) l worked with Malcolm on the D Type, making weight estimates and carrying out stress calculations for the suspension members. One feature that gave me some thought was the attachment of the front torsion bar to the lower wishbone where, instead of a bulky attachment in line with the rubber bearing the torsion bar was splined directly in an extension of the wishbone. This meant that as the wishbone moved the end of the highly stressed torsion bar was displaced, adding bending to torsional stresses.I concluded that the clearance around the splined end of the bar would permit a degree of movement and no excessive stress would result. This was born out in vehicle use and later on in the E Type which had basically the same front suspension..

The “Light Alloy” car of 1953. Gerry worked closely with Malcolm Sayer on this car.

Another project which occupied me was a 4-valve cylinder head design by Harry Weslake. This was unconventional in that instead of inlet and exhaust valves down opposite sides of the head inlet and exhaust alternated down each side, with each pair of inlets diagonally opposite in each chamber. Weslake had made layout drawings only and it fell to me to complete detail drawings for a prototype. This necessitated several visits to his establishment in Rye. always an entertaining day. He was a larger than life character and full of stories. His office window looked onto the sand dunes so he kept a loaded 12 bore shotgun standing in the comer to take pot shots at rabbits if they came too close. His practical knowledge of airflow in engines was enormous and, although we tried very hard, we could never equal the power he achieved from cylinder heads he had fettled. The 4-valve head design had one weakness in that the close spacing of valves imposed by the long stroke XK cylinder spacing meant that rocker arms instead of tappets had to be interposed between camshaft and valve instead of tappets. The geometry for these was not ideal and the prototype head suffered badly from scuffing of the cam face. Several attempts were made to overcome this, including a deposit of Stellite and alternative lubricants but only bench tests were made. These indicated that, although low speed performance was good, the extremely rapid air swirl at high speed was not beneficial.

The very first D-Type (XKC401) on the ramp in the Experimental Department (note no fin yet)

Another interesting exercise, prompted by the performance of the Mercedes racing cars. was a look at desmodromic valve gear. I drew a trial system of rockers operated by a single camshaft and a single valve rig was made. but the necessary cylinder head and cam drive changes were so great that little or no running was done.

Mk l 2.4

Drawing Office Staff – left to right – (unknown), Mac McKenzie, Gerry Beddoes, Laurie Hewitt, Frank Denmee & Jack King – © Gerry Beddoes

My services with a slide rule were again involved in what later became known as the Mk l 2.4 litre. As first conceived this was to have an updated version of the 4 cylinder 2 litre engine, this time with a five bearing crankshaft. Early weight estimates were on this basis but, although not in time to stop a batch of fifty cylinder blocks, engine tests showed that even with five bearings the four cylinder engine was not as smooth as required and with 2 litres capacity could not produce enough power. Stan Paskin was the designer for the front suspension and I worked with him to determine wishbone loads and sizes. The front suspension assemblies were to be supplied ready built up by Alford and Alder who also supplied Standard Triumph. Their Managing Director. whose name was Turner and their Chief Engineer, John Lind were very proud of their involvement with the Triumph Herald which had just been released and were keen to carry over some of its design features to the new Jaguar. The first Mk l prototype was therefore built with screwed bushes for the suspension bearings and a geometry which placed the front roll center below ground level. This gave two problems ~ firstly excessive friction and second excessive roll. My job was to design the road springs to give the desired riding height but the friction meant that it was possible to push clown the front of the car. slowly release and get one ground clearance, then raise the car. release and get another 1% inches greater! This was soon corrected by the adoption of rubber bushes for the wishbone bearings. The second resulted in poor handling that no amount of development could cure.

Memo from Gerry to Claude Baily discussing what would form the basis of Jaguar’s first V12 and one which would power the XJ13 Le Mans Prototype

After a few weeks it became clear that changes were urgently required and, one Friday afternoon Stan Paskin and I were given the task of revising the design. Such was the speed with which change was possible that by the time we went home, much later that evening, a new geometry was determined. dimensions for a new vertical link decided and someone dispatched to obtain pieces of EN 16 steel from which they could be machined. Harry Hawkins and Bill Cassidy-“s machinists worked through the weekend. as did Stan and l._ so that by midday Monday Bill Heynes could drive the modified car. By Tuesday morning the new design had been released and drawings issued. l do not think that today’s rapid prototype systems could have done any better.

The rear suspension also went through some development changes. The initial design had cantilever leaf springs that not only acted as lower radius arms but also provided lateral location for the axle. The rubber mounts at the front and center of the spring allowed so much lateral movement that. together with the front end problems, handling was uncertain at very least. The solution was addition of a Panhard rod but space limitations meant that it had to be very short and to the offside of the differential so that geometry was not ideal and loads on the mountings were high.The final change was to the design of the upper wishbone. All the prototypes had a fabricated wishbone duplicating a pressing that wrapped around the upper ball joint and was curved to miss the telescopic shock absorber. As built up by welding sections of angles and plate these had given no problems and drawings had been released for production tooling. However, when the first ‘off tools’ components were put on pave road test the decrease in metal thickness and generous radii resulting from pressing allowed the wishbone to fold in the middle. Something close to panic ensued as l00 sets of front suspension crossmember assemblies were being built for the first production vehicles. These were committed for the initial release and could not be delayed so, as a temporary ‘fix’ all wishbone sections were doubled by the addition ofa stiffener made from a second wishbone pressing with the ends cut off, spot welded in piggyback fashion. The first cars left the factory with this temporary fix but were soon modified by the substitution of a new wishbone assembly that Stan and I drew up.

© Gerry Beddoes

Shortly after the first prototype 2.4 car was put on the road life at Jaguar was enlivened by the arrival of Bill Nicholson. He was an ebullient Irishman who had left BSA motorcycles after several years as leader of their successful trials and scramble team. Soon after his arrival he was ticked off by Sir William for driving the only 2.4 prototype up and down Browns Lane in clear view from the offices at speeds well over any legal limit. He survived that time and was more careful where he drove like that again. As a road development engineer he was given the job of debugging the application of power steering to the Mk 9 and 2.4 litre cars. I was to look after the Design Office aspects such as mounting of the pump, reservoir and piping, together with liason with Burman Gears who made the steering boxes. I got to know Bill well over the next few months and liked his irreverent approach to everything. even if it made life a little difficult at times. One day we were returning from a visit to Burmans and I commented. as he rounded the traffic island at Meriden with his usual gusto, that the local citizens would have been well woken up by the squeal of the tyres which prompted him to do a further three or four laps of the island at ever increasing speed and smoke level. A ride with him in his immaculate MG was an experience never to be forgotten!

ln the mid l950s the power race in America was in full swing and Bill Heynes was keen to assess any means to raise the power and torque of the XK in all its variants. One project I was involved in was turbocharging. At that time it was being introduced for diesel engines and we worked with Holset for a while to match one of their smaller units to a 3.4 engine.I had several visits to their Huddersfield factory where their Managing Director, P.J.F.Croset, was a keen Jaguar owner. Some test bed work was carried out but, in the absence of suitable fuel systems and waste gate valves to limit maximum boost pressure, no roadworthy system emerged. For trips such as those to Holset or to Weslake at Rye I drove one of the two 2.4 l prototypes retained in Experimental. RVC 591 and 592.They were both a great contrast to my own car, a well prewar Morris Ten.

Gerry still has his drawing he made when a V12 engine was first being proposed by Jaguar. This quad-cam layout was later adopted for the XJ13 Le Mans project

Since for all this time I was still involved with the Ministry Engine project my call up for National Service was deferred. ln this I had a sympathetic supporter at the local office of the Ministry of Labour and National Service who just happened to be Bert Hadley, a driver of the prewar Austin 750 racing car and several times a driver for Jaguar. Each year I would visit him, talk about Jaguar for a while. complete forms stating my reasons for deferment and go back to work for another year. At that time young men were liable for call up until the age of 26 years but when I reached my 25″‘ birthday Mr. Hadley stated that he could only grant me deferment for periods of three months at a time, and would not be allowed to grant three such periods. Accordingly I accepted the inevitable and, in spite of being by then married. buying a house and with a son, allowed myself to be called up to Army service with REME in October 1955.

National Service

Because of my motor industry experience I soon passed a trade test as a Motor Mechanic and used this to attempt to be posted to Chobham. where the Jaguar V8 engine was under development but this was not possible as the had no positions open to National Service recruits. I was therefore sent, after basic training, on a Leading Artisan Sergeants course at Bordon in Hampshire. This gave me training on all of the Army’s vehicles from tanks to bulldozers over 32 weeks and was great fun. However, two weeks from the end I passed a Selection Board and began another training course as an Officer Cadet at Mons Barracks in Aldershot. During my training there and later at Bordon I was constantly reminded by those who knew of my Jaguar connections that I was following Sir William’s son who had been commissioned in REME some months before. There were tales of his exploits such as driving his XKl20 around the hallowed area of the parade ground. chased by irate drill Sergeants.The last eight weeks before passing out were back at Bordon where my previous training stood me in good stead. One enjoyable week was motorcycle training under Jeff Smith, Bill Nicholson’s successor as the leading rider for the BSA scrambling team who had been called up shortly before and, not surprisingly, made a motorcycle instructor. Afier passing out I had only nine months left to serve so the Army did not consider it worthwhile to send ‘me overseas and posted me to a Command Workshops in Bridgend. Our task there was to service vehicles from local units and to refurbish a large number of Bedford trucks from a nearby vehicle depot. I put my Jaguar experience to use by installing a test bed to run engines after rebuild. Eventually in October l957 I lefl Bridgend and rejoined Jaguar./em>

Return to Jaguar

Back in the drawing office I resumed my former task of “slide rule pusher’ and my first task was design of a crankshaft for the 3 litre racing engine. Experience with the 3.4 crank had shown that the maximum speed was limited by torsional vibration. The natural frequency for that crank of around 21.000 cycles per second meant that torsional stresses became excessive at engine speeds over 6.500 RPM. near the peak of the third order vibration. Racing cranks had already been stiffened by a larger front end diameter and enlarged rear crank web but this had not given a significant increase in safe speed. The 3 litre crank, with its shorter stroke and greater overlap of journals was naturally stiffer and gave no trouble in use. That was not the case with all components of the engine however.

The connecting rods in early test engines were made from Titanium to reduce bearing loads and were carefully polished and crack detected. But this did not prevent a couple of spectacular failures on the test bed which nearly cut the aluminium cylinder blocks in two. Close examination of the broken parts showed that there were fine forging cracks present but these had been hidden by the very polishing operation intended to reveal them because of the way titanium alloys flow under surface stress and fuse together to make a continuous skin. Later engines reverted to steel rod forgings.

Another problem arose with the valve gear where both camshafts and tappets were failing, often leading to the ruin of a whole engine. I made an analysis of the cam and valve train system and concluded that the failures arose because of the design of cam profile used. Jaguar had always had cam profiles based on what was known as the three arc design where both flanks and the nose of the cam were of constant radius. This made lift calculation easy (albeit long-winded with ten figure log tables as I well knew) and also contributed to good breathing by virtue of a fat lift curve resulting from instantaneous changes in acceleration. As the contact point moved up the flank of the cam on valve opening the acceleration is high and almost constant over between ll and 12 degrees of camshaft rotation but when contact moves on to the nose this changes instantaneously to a lower deceleration so that the valve arrives at full lift where it is instantaneously at rest. On closing the valve and tappet are accelerated towards the valve seat until the contact point moves off the nose and the flank now suddenly begins to decelerate them to close the valve at low velocity. These suddenly imposed acceleration changes and the resulting load (amounting to a theoretical half a ton at the design speed of 8,000 RPM) created shock loads on camshaft and tappet leading to failure after less than an hour at high speed. Following some study of available literature I devised a cam profile that had its point of highest acceleration at only half of the tappet face radius and had a smooth transition from acceleration to deceleration. I was also able to alter the shape of the acceleration curve to permit use of a high rate valve spring with a high natural frequency which was much less prone to surge. On a test rig my design survived 24 hours at the equivalent of 8,000 RPM engine speed without failure but. on a straight substitution for the standard cam. did not give the same power due to the slightly ‘softer’ profile. As the 3 litre racing programme came to an end shortly after, my ideas on cam design went no further.

Mk 10 ( Zenith ) Project

This did not mean that I had nothing else to do as. one moming I saw two of the Body Office draughtsmen carry a full size plywood profile of a large car into their area and trace around it onto their wall mounted board. This was the start of the Zenith project later to be the Mk 10 saloon and I was to design the front suspension and crossmember. It was immediately clear that the whole profile needed to be raised as ground clearance under the engine and rear seat headroom were inadequate. I was not involved in the discussions with Sir William but I understand that they were not easy! However. he relented a little and the bonnet line was raised enough to fit in the XK engine if a new sump was designed. However this left much less space below for the suspension crossmember, at least as a pressed steel fabrication like the 2.4 car. We were therefore forced to adopt a forged I beam from the start which lead to some difficulty in attaching the spring turrets and suspension arms. Many layouts were made and Bill Heynes was a constant visitor to my drawing board. At that time he was interested in rubber suspension springs and I paid several visit to Dunlop with sketches for discussion. I see from my note book that I calculated transverse leaf springs and torsion bars as alternatives but after many sketches and much doodling a fairly conventional coil spring layout was reached, detailed and put into production. lasting for many years as the 420G and becoming the basis for the Daimler Limousine. With only a small team in the drawing office we worked long hours — overtime each evening and also weekends.

The fruit of the Zenith project – Mk10 in all its voluptuous glory

One Sunday morning I took my young son. then about four years old, with me and gave him a few pieces of scrap paper to doodle on. To my consternation in walked Sir William and I expected to be ticked off. Instead he immediately came over to us and proceeded to spend twenty minutes teaching him to draw patterns with a pair of compasses. He left me saying that he was pleased to see such a young recruit getting his hand in! In addition to these major projects I was still making design calculations for all sorts of components ranging from gudgeon pins to XK I50 rear springs to gear pairs for the gearbox. For the last of these I followed the guidance of Dr.H.E.Merrit, formerly the gear specialist for David Brown Gears and designer of the transmission system for the Centurion tank. As a consultant he was in demand for many industries and was a great help to me. Bill Heynes was never slow in calling on expert outside advice if needed and also recruited people who took his fancy. In the Body Drawing Office there was one of the Van den Plas family from Belgium who worked as a stylist for a few years – very short sighted with thick spectacles but able to make beautiful drawings, even if he could not see both ends at the same time! I had as my assistant a Polish Engineer. Tadeusz Sokolowski, a graduate from Warsaw University in I938 who had spent all of the war years in first Russian and then German prison camps who wrote to Heynes setting out his story. Several young engineers were also put under my wing for a while to gain experience, among them being Graham Robson, later to become a successful writer and motoring journalist.

Associated Engineering Group Research

By 1961, nearly four years after returning from National Service I was becoming restless. Although I enjoyed my job (who would not!) l was a little frustrated in that nearly all of my work in design calculations relied on estimated or even guessed input loads. Jaguar had no means to measure dynamic loads although the means to do so were becoming available. When I saw a job advertisement in the local paper for qualified engineers to join a new research center not far away I was tempted to apply. Accordingly, in the autumn of that year I joined the Associated Engineering Group Research Centre at Cawston, near Rugby as their motor industry engineer, much to the annoyance of Bill Heynes. The Centre had been established after a Government Report had been published showing the proportion of turnover allocated by companies to R & D in major countries around the world. Britain came near the bottom of the table and the AE Group decided. if R & D was what was needed to improve their prospects then they would have some. Accordingly, Cawston was set up and around I00 staff taken on with backgrounds in many fields such as mechanical engineering, electronics, metallurgy, physics and control engineering. Laboratories and workshops were lavishly equipped and I helped to install test beds with costly dynamometers. The only thing the AE Board did not provide was any directive on what we should do, this being left to the staff to make proposals.

After a few relatively minor projects I joined one of my colleagues in designing and developing an electronic fuel injection system. We had all the means required on site with an Electronics Laboratory headed by Mike Westbrook, later to be head of the Ford Dunton Electronics Laboratory and his deputy, Dick Skipworth. The starting point for our work was a paper by Bendix in USA who had announced a system in the mid l950’s that relied on gas filled valves. It did not prove reliable in service and was dropped. Later on, Bosch had announced their D Jetronic system. for which claims of power, consumption and emission improvements had been made. With that background, Board approval was obtained and we set about designing and making our own system from scratch. The colleague who had initiated the project was Ken Wallace, an inventive and persuasive individual. His persuasive powers were demonstrated when after some rig testing and single cylinder work we wanted to equip a road vehicle to assess driveability. His proposal was to buy an already fuel injected car so that a straight comparison could be made with a car on sale to the public — his choice, which was accepted by the AE Board, being no less than a Mercedes 300 SL Gullwing.We found a fairly low mileage second hand car at a London dealer and brought it to Cawston. The first job was to record base line perfomiance figures on the test bed that took several weeks. Then the Bosch mechanical injection system was removed, the inlet manifold modified and our own system fitted. Calibration and tailoring our system to the engine took a further few months and then came the exiting task of assessing road driveability. Ken an.d I used to use the car for normal transport overnight, leaving it outside our homes so that cold starting could be assessed. at least in UK conditions. Once the 300 SL was on the road we bought a more typical family car ~ a l.6 litre Ford Classic that became our main development workhorse. With a better inlet manifold but no other engine modifications this became a real flyer while showing much improved tractability.

“Gerry’s” Mercedes 300SL Gullwing.

By 1964 we had gone through several design levels for all the individual components and had accumulated many hours of rig tests. Ken Wallace had left AE in circumstances I had better not describe and I was now the Chief Engineer for the project, ably assisted by Brian Croft. later to be Chief Engineer at SU Carburetors. We had installed an environmental test chamber for corrosion and other tests and had begun to equip a third car — this time a 3.8 Mk 2 Jaguar. Outside suppliers for some assemblies had given costs for volume and rough time scales for production and an AE Company chosen for assembly — Brico Engineering in Coventry. It was now time to reveal our work to our potential customers I therefore wrote to the Engineering Directors and Chief Engineers of all the UK car manufacturers inviting them to each spend a day at Cawston looking at our work and driving the Ford Classic. About fourth on the list. alter Ford, Aston Martin and Vauxhall came Jaguar and I played host to Bill Heynes and Wally Hassan. I think they were impressed but when I accompanied them in driving around the local roads I was surprised to be asked by Mr. Heynes whether I was happy at AE as he had a proposal to make to me. It so happened that I had some concerns over the future management of the project which had been put in the hands of the Brico board who, whilst very experienced in piston and ring manufacture and were developing great expertise in sintered metal. had no knowledge of electronics and electromechanical components. There were also growing concerns over the strength of our patents. particularly as Bosch had filed several patents with very broad claims which seemed to cover almost any means of fuelling an engine. I explained this and Mr. Heynes said he had a project that might interest me — acting as liason engineer between Jaguar and the designer of a transmission system in which Jaguar had an interest. I accepted his offer and once again resumed my familiar journey to Browns Lane each moming. I was given an office next to Claude Baily, sharing his secretary. and was put on the Executive payroll, enabling me to buy a new Jaguar each year at ex factory price. a perk I much enjoyed! This benefit continued for three years and I had successively a 3.8 MkII, a 3.4 S Type and a 340 until the merger with Leyland when the contrast with their executives driving Austin Maxis and us at Jaguar became too much to bear and we all had to join the company car hire scheme.

Badalini Transmissions Ltd

The following account is based on my understanding of events and my sketchy knowledge of the background to them.

The transmission concerned was an infinitely variable hydrostatic system, designed by an Italian Giovanni Badalini who had a development workshops in Rome and a drawing office managed by his brother in Milan. Jaguar interest in his work was stimulated by Digby (Digger) Cotes-Preedy, then Sales Manager for Cam Gears. a manufacturer of steering gears for car, truck and tractor use. Digger was a pilot in the Battle of Britain, flying Blenheim fighter/bombers and flew all through the war, ending by flying ground attack in a Typhoon. After demobilization he joined Dunlop Aviation as their test pilot for aircraft brakes and flew most of the British post war civilian aircraft. When that career ended he joined Cam Gears. One of his customers was International Harvester in Doncaster and, during a visit there, Digger was told by Joe Ziscal the American Chief Engineer that he was disappointed by his US head office which had prevented him from continuing development of a prototype tractor fitted with a Badalini transmission. He had commissioned this from his own budget, had it manufactured in Italy and given it exhaustive tests in England. Ziscal believed the system had some promise and wondered whether Cam Gears might be interested in taking on the rights. Their Managing director Mr. Douglas Leese agreed and took an option on promotion of Badalini’s patents. He and Digger approached all potential customers. naturally including Jaguar. After some assessment of the Badalini”s prototypes by Bill Heynes and Dr. Tait, the very experienced engineer who joined ®Jaguar when Daimler was purchased, an order for two Jaguar sized units was signed in October 1962.

D’Attilia and Franco of Badalini Transmissions work on a first prototype ®Jaguar gearbox in Badalini’s Rome workshop – © Gerry Beddoes

Two other companies which showed interest were Ford and Massey Ferguson and. in January the following year, Ford too placed an order through Cam Gears for two transmissions to suit their Cortina car. In March I963 Cam Gears and Jaguar set up a jointly owned British company, both having a 48% share with the Italian company Cambi Idraulici Badalini having the remainder. As part of this deal, Badalini granted the UK company rights to develop and manufacture transmissions for car. truck, tractor and industrial use throughout Europe and North America for their own and other company’s use. It was also agreed that Badalini Transmissions would set up a design and development facility to support Badalini’s own rather meagre workshop in Rome. Badalini too had a remarkable history. having been called up in the Italian Air Force as a pilot at the beginning of the 1939 war. He won Italy’s Gold Cross for low-level daylight bombing of Malta but was shot down on a later mission, crashing into the Mediterranean with a badly injured back. After a day in his rubber dinghy he was picked up by a British rescue boat and taken to hospital in North Africa. By the time he left hospital with his back in a steel brace Italy had capitulated. with many of their forces opting to join the Allies. Badalini volunteered to join a Royal Air Force Wing being established with all Italian crews but. not unsurprisingly. was required to demonstrate his loyalty to a new cause before being let loose with an aircraft full of bombs. Badalini was therefore dropped by parachute in Northem Italy on a mission to aid the partisans and, on completion. made his way south to the front line and walked across by night to claim his RAF wings. He then won a bar to his Gold Cross bombing the Germans. During the l950’s he built up his transmission business and had licensed the German company Flender to manufacture industrial drives in Germany and Italy. MV Augusta had made a motorcycle transmission to his designs that had been used for street circuit racing which had come to the notice of Honda. They made their own version to be used in a de luxe scooter, using published infomiation, but had run into serious problems when committed to production. They were apparently compelled to contact Badalini and he went to Japan, overcame the problems and the scooter went into production under the model name Juno. In all this he had the backing of an Italian industrialist, Count Vaselli. who appointed one of his legal staff, Dr. Angelo Lauria to guide him commercially. It was Angelo who met me when I first went to Rome to meet Badalini. In his small workshop in the outskirts of the city he had several dusty examples of earlier applications of his ideas including two MV Augustas, a Fiat car and the ex International Harvester tractor. There were also two Ford Cortinas, equipped under contract from Ford Basildon and in full use for development. Ford had, like International, looked at many options for infinitely variable transmissions and decided that Badalini’s ideas warranted investigation. Several companies had investigated hydrostatic transmissions and many papers had been written about them. Industrial variable ratio drives were in production to a number of designs. The simplest had an engine driven hydraulic pump supplying oil to a motor in a circuit. speed being controlled by varying the capacity of either pump or motor. This meant that in “top gear’. the most common condition for a motorcar transmission, oil flow was at a maximum. which lead to poor efficiency. Badalini had overcome this, using swash plate pumps and motors. by mounting the pump swash plate on the motor casing. This meant that engine torque was always transmitted mechanically to the output shaft, the hydraulics providing the speed reduction for ‘lower gears’ and additional torque. In ‘top’ gear the motor capacity was reduced to zero so that the hydraulic circuit was stalled and all the transmission internals rotated together.

By putting the pump inside the motor the motor capacity was nearly treble that of the pump so that. for the same swash plate angle. the output torque was nearly four times the input in ‘bottom’ gear. (See Appendix for details). One consequence of the large diameter motor swash plate was the high rubbing speed for the thrust bearing and this proved to be the most intractable problem in the following years. The Ford prototypes had a ball bearing motor swash plate but this was noisy and I was advised by bearing specialists later that ball or roller bearings would not be quiet or durable enough. In early I962 the Ford cars were shipped back to Coventry but soon Digger and I drove them back to the old Ford Engineering Block at Rainham. Our contact there was Alf Haigh, then Chief Engineer, Transmissions. and a young engineer Peter Beattie. Ford continued work on their prototypes for a few months and we had one back in Browns Lane for a while but as they were by then to a superceded design they suspended further work. I suspect that. following Jaguar involvement, they did not wish to be beholden in any way to a rival motor manufacturer.

Honda Juno Scooter

Prior to my rejoining Jaguar a Honda Juno scooter had been shipped over from Japan and had been tested and examined by Ford and this was now brought up to Coventry. I rode this home several times and even saw Sir William, clad in a riding mac and tweed cap ride off one evening back to Wappenbury! He enjoyed his retum to two wheels, as the Juno was great fun. Control was by a normal throttle twist grip for the right hand and a similar left hand twist grip that controlled the ratio. An impressive getaway could be achieved by winding the left grip away for the lowest ratio and the right grip towards for full power. The ‘clutch.’ function was automatic, controlled by rising oil pressure as the priming pump speed increased. As the engine revs rose to the maximum of 8.000 the left grip could be slowly rolled back to maintain acceleration. LI p to around 40 MPH it would beat most cars but the 375cc flat twin engine, although rewing to 7600 RPM, did not give it motorway performance.

Early visitors to Badalini’s workshop in Rome were engineers from Massey Ferguson. They had been approached by Digger following the withdrawal of International Harvester and were keen to follow up the successful trials at Doncaster. They drove the tractor around the area and left us with a long list of engines and performance requirements covering agricultural and industrial applications. Badalini produced outline drawings and, on my return to Coventry. I began to refine them in discussion with Mr. Bisset and Mr. Yapp of Massey. Coincident with this Badalini had produced drawings for a revised car transmission. this time of a size to suit the 4.21 Jaguar engine. and he was soon authorized to begin manufacture. Badalini had no test bench capable of running a Jaguar sized unit so I had a Mk l0 shipped out via our Rome Distributors, joining it myself on arrival. As many features of the transmission and control system were new the unit was in and out of the car many times, sometimes twice in one day. Badalini had two fitters working in Rome, d’Attilia and Franco. They were sculptors in metal and made most of the components on one lathe and a pillar drill.

Badalini – tractor demonstration – © Gerry Beddoes

Badalini and l drove the Mk l0 around the suburbs of Rome, sometimes leaving a trail of oil behind us. slowly improving the performance and control and putting together a list of design changes to remedy problems. In due course Badalini combined these into a new design for which detail drawings and manufacture would take place in Coventry. I therefore engaged a draughtsman, Ray Kitchen, who had previously worked in a contract drawing office and had wide experience. Ray picked up Badalini’s ideas quickly and was soon producing a steady flow of detail drawings. As the list grew I cleared them with Badalini and set about organizing manufacture. Some parts were made ‘in house” but most were sub-contracted to local companies including Harry Ferguson Research and Henry Meadows, then part of the Jaguar Group. I also had assistance from outside companies for anodizing and other special finishes. When finished parts began to arrive l needed someone to put them together and an area in which to work so was allocated Stan Hanks, a fitter in the Experimental Department and one of the ten engine test cells which had space for an assembly bench and the capacity for testing the unit before installation in a car. The Mk X car was no longer needed in Rome and was shipped back to Browns Lane for this purpose.

In parallel with all this the Massey Ferguson design had been agreed with their Management and we were given the order for preparation of detail drawings. Ray Kitchen set about the task of making these and I met regularly with Mr. Yapp and Mr. Bisset to tackle minor problems of installation and performance. At intervals major reviews of the project were held, either in Coventry or in Milan, to agree details of the range of variants necessary to cover a range of tractors for agricultural and industrial use. These were usually chaired by Dr. Bottrill. Massey Chief Engineer and attended by Badalini. By 1967 the number of variants had resulted in such complexity that cost estimates by Massey and GKN, their chosen sub contract manufacturer. and the project was close to ending. Badalini, who had always protested at the growing list of variants, proposed a simpler design based on the car design and initial schemes were prepared at Jaguar. Following acceptance of these by Massey plans were made to begin detail drawings with a target oflate 1968 for prototypes.

At Browns Lane we were busy developing the completed Mk X transmission and slowly overcoming control and mechanical problems. The most intractable of these were the motor swash plate and noise, but progress was being made. Schematic drawings were prepared for a constant speed drive for engine accessories such as air conditioning. alternator and power steering pump. This would reduce the power absorbed by these at high speeds and permit the use of simpler and cheaper accessories. Mid 1968 brought bad news for us. following the absorption of Jaguar into British Leyland. Bill Heynes and I attended a meeting at Leyland to explain our programme and its current status to their engineers, lead by Dr. Fogg. overall BL Engineering Director. The reception given to us was not promising and there was no enthusiasm for investment in manufacturing a transmission exclusively for Jaguar, let alone one for Massey who competed with BL’s own tractor sales. I returned to Coventry full of gloom and gave the sad tidings to Digger. He set about exploring other possible collaborators and we even took interested engineers for trial drives in the Mk X, sneaking out quietly for a final ‘test run‘. One memorable meeting resulted from these attempts to interest other Companies when Digger contacted BRD, the manufacturer of transmission shafis. One of their Board Members was J.J.Parkes. Chairmen of Alvis in Coventry and with his help a meeting was arranged in Milan, unknown (or ignored) by Bill Heynes at the time although he would probably have supported it. A dinner that evening was dominated by pilots and ex pilots as the attendees were Mr. Maxwell, BRD MD and an ex bomber pilot. J J Parkes. a private pilot although then in his 70s, Count Vaselli, associated with the Italian Schneider Trophy Team in the early l930s, Digger. Badalini and myself. T o add even more interest we were joined by Mr Parkes’ son Michael who flew himself down from Le Mans where he had won the 24 hour race the previous weekend for Ferrari for whom he was their Chief Development Engineer. I hardly said a word all evening and just sat there spellbound at the tales of war and peacetime exploits.

All of this came to nothing, and in August 1968 the whole project was wound up. The transmissions were scrapped, the car returned to the Experimental fleet and the test bed reclaimed for engine development. Digger stayed on for a while but left at the end of the year, Stan Hanks. the fitter moved into the Experimental Shop and Ray Kitchen. the draughtsman into the Engine Drawing Office. It was altogether a very sad time and I was sorry to lose contact with Badalini and Angelo Lauria who had by then become close friends.

Back to Jaguar Engineering

For me however, the closing of one door opened another for, at that precise time. October I968 Claude Baily retired and Harry Mundy moved into his position as Chief Designer and Executive Director, Power Units. I was appointed Chief Development Engineer. Power Units, working alongside Ron Burr. Chief Designer and Trevor Crisp. Chief Emissions Control Engineer. My deputy was George Buck with Frank Rainbow as Engine Build Foreman and Jim Eastick as Test Foreman. Development engineers were Frank Philpott, Ian Bush , David Scholes and Bob Alsopp with Ray Townsend looking after transmissions. For the next eight years I enjoyed their support in continuing development of the XK engine in various forms and completing development of the V12. Projects I covered included the Slant 6, a 6.41 V12 and liaison with MVEE. the Ministry of Defense Establishment at Chobham, on development of the 4.2 XK for use in the Scorpion tank.

The Slant 6 was literally a V12 with one bank cut off and tun first with a standard two valve head then later with a 4 valve design. This was a bulky engine and grew into the 3.6l and 4.0l engines which went into production in the XJS and saloon cars. The 6.4 V12 was built by a 20% increase in the standard 70mm stroke, which in turn required an aluminium packing plate on top of each bank to match the taller liners. Performance was exhilarating to say the least, with only about 6 or 7% increase in power but close to 30% more torque which was over 400lbft from 1200 RPM to the top of the power curve. On the road it was hardly ever necessary to change gear as, even at over 100 MPH, the back wheels of the E Type we put it in would shudder with wheel spin. It was later installed in Harry Mundy’s XJ12 car.

Soon after I took up my position we became interested in electronic fuel injection, particularly for the V12 as obtaining satisfactory performance from the carburetted version was not easy and because of my experience at AE Group Research I looked after initial installation and liaison with firstly Lucas and later Bosch. This was in fact the second time I had been involved with PI as. in the mid 19505 I had designed a gear drive from the XK camshaft for the Simmons injection system then promoted by SU. It was soon replaced by the Lucas system used successfully in racing. The better breathing obtained with a PI manifold gave much better performance and I recall seeing 150mph on the calibrated speedometer of an XJ 12. I had a lot of contact with Lucas, not only with their fuel injection department but also with the ignition department sorting out some of the problems with the Opus Ignition system fitted to the V12. Temperature was a major concern as the control box was fitted in the center of the Vee on the cover over the distributor drive shaft. On the E Type. which had a rather ineffective oil cooler, temperatures could exceed 150 C and early units failed due to components melting.

Later on I did the first installation of the L Jetronic system from Bosch in a V12. intended for the American market, as this was the first system that could incorporate exhaust gas sensors essential for efficient use of catalysts. In about 1973 we got to hear of Michael May and his high compression combustion system and this seemed to offer us a chance of improving the V12 fuel consumption at a time when large, thirsty engines were considered antisocial. Harry Mundy met him and decided to investigate his claims. I went to Rolle, in Switzerland, where he had his workshop and spent a few days watching his experimental techniques to get the desired air movement and making a rough sketch of the combustion chamber shape needed. On my return this was drawn up and prototype cylinder heads cast. We could not quite achieve the very lean air/fuel ratio that May had forecast but nevertheless went ahead with what became the HE V12.

During my years as Chief Development Engineer there were several problems which were difficult to solve and which were very embarrassing. The first of these was a spate of crankshaft bearing failures after modest mileages. Together with Vandervell engineers we looked at every factor involved and eventually traced the problem to the introduction of high speed grinders in the Radford machine shop. These had excellent control of size, roundness and surface roughness but, with a grinding speed of around 15.000 ft.per minute, produced a small degree of smearing at the surface which was not completely removed by subsequent lapping. This left tiny projections which lifted in running and created a file which quickly destroyed the bearing. Changes to the grinding and lapping procedures overcame the problem but not before a number of customer failures.

A second problem was confined to the 2.8 l engine where we saw an increasing number of burnt pistons occurring at low mileages and with gently driven cars. After interviewing several angry owners a pattern emerged. Most had driven their cars in city or urban areas and then, on motorway driving, noticed a loss of power followed by a holed piston and lots of smoke. One failure happened to a car delivered to a dealer in late November where it was kept in the showroom until the first of January to get the later year registration. Whilst there it was moved occasionally for short distances to gain access to other vehicles. On the first of January it covered only 50 miles when the piston failed. The oil and fuel companies gave us much help and we were eventually able to trace the problem to oil ash deposits laid down on the head of the exhaust valves during light running which then glowed when power was increased, igniting the charge in the cylinder well ahead of normal timing which rapidly raised temperature and pressure leading to piston failure. A permanent solution was for the oil companies to limit the ‘sulphated ash’ content of their lubricating oils so that critical deposits were not formed. We never uncovered the real reason why the 2.8 l was so sensitive to this whereas the similar 4.2 I was not.

By 1976 ®Jaguar had become part of ‘Ihe Large Car Division’ of British Leyland and, following the Ryder Plan, was beginning to lose it’s identity. I was involved in discussions of a new Technical Centre that would handle all of the BL range with drafting and development facilities shared by all. Jaguar would have only a few dedicated engineers and they would have to compete for use of these facilities. In common with many others I was very depressed at this prospect so, when I was approached with a job offer as Product Engineering Director of TRW Valves I accepted. From being responsible for all components of one engine range I became involved in one component for many engines, ranging from lawnmowers through road vehicles to marine diesels, in UK and overseas. Jaguar became one of my customers and I contributed to all their engine programmes, encouraged the adoption of lighter valves which culminated with the 7mm stem diameter valves in the V8 and V6 engines. My involvement with Jaguar extended therefore from beginning to end of my working life, starting and ending with a V8 engine, and I retain many, many happy memories.

I count myself as extremely fortunate that I was part of the Jaguar team during such an exciting period of the company’s growth and was given the opportunity to work on such a variety of projects,something today’s young engineers can seldom match.”

1966 Le Mans - Ford vs Ferrari .... vs Jaguar?

In my opinion?

Yes.

Let me explain ...

How did the competition look?

When I scan through reports, analyses and tests, Jaguar clearly had two cars in its sights - Ferrari's 330 P3 and Ford's GT40.

Ferrari 330 P4

In 1964 their eyes will have been on a 1966 Le Mans debut for a team of XJ13s. These cars would have raced as Le Mans Prototypes

In the spring of 1963, Ford heard that Enzo Ferrari was interested in selling his company to Ford. Ford committed millions of dollars researching and auditing Ferrari's company only to have Ferrari unilaterally withdraw from talks at a late stage. This angered Henry Ford II who directed his racing division to find a company that could help them build a Ferrari-beater on the world endurance-racing circuit. The Ferrari-beater turned out to be the GT40 which, although American-built, was based on a collaboration between Ford and England's Lola. Ford did not, at this time, have the racing prowess to take on the likes of Ferrari so had earlier engaged in discussions with England's Lotus, Cooper and Lola - eventually choosing the latter as a partner. The first GT40s raced in 1964 and 1965 with no great success. In 1966 however the 7-litre Mk II absolutely dominated the 24 Hours of Le Mans race with a 1-2-3 result - shades of the Jaguar victories in the 1950s. This dominance continued in 1967 with a win by the Mk IV version of the car.

Ford GT40

The Lucas Mechanical Fuel-injected 1966 Ferrari 330 P3 used a rather fragile transmission that was later replaced by a ZF. Jaguar's design included Lucas Mechanical Fuel Injection and the more robust ZF DS25-1 transmission from the outset. In 1967 the P3 became the P4. The latter car finished 2nd and 3rd at Le Mans in 1967 behind the winning Ford GT40 Mark IV.

How would the XJ13 have fared against the mighty GT40?

Project delays and lack of commitment by Jaguar meant things got off to a slow start and the car wasn't completed until 1966. Sadly, the car's main opportunity to shine at Le Mans may have been missed.

Although Jaguar's rebuilt "original" will probably never race, my car perhaps could. However, even though I can recreate a car with similar power and identical handling characteristics to the 1966 original, it would probably be humbled by a GT40 if it lined up against it on a track today. The reason being that, since 1967, original GT40s have undergone continuing race development and are probably now achieving levels of handling and performance far in excess of those achieved in 1967. The Jaguar XJ13 hasn't enjoyed the best part of 50 years continuous development and would likely be embarrassed if placed on a track alongside an original GT40 today.

This would definitely be true of Jaguar's one-and-only rebuilt "original" which has led a sheltered life punctuated only by the odd low-speed excursion and short run over the last 50 years since it was rebuilt as a "demo queen". In performance terms, the engine powering the "original" is only a shadow of its former self and would likely struggle to maintain any sort of pace.

As a lasting homage to the genius of its late designer Malcolm Sayer, Jaguar’s rebuilt “original” does continue to inspire with its superb lines but is likely to remain as no more than an inspiration.

However ....

We can at least examine the many contemporary records and reports that have recently come to light. We are fortunate in being able to re-live events through things such as the detailed development and testing reports recorded at the time. The XJ13 Project Manager, Mike Kimberley fortunately recorded events in detail through his meticulous test reports and worklists that were prompted by post-test analysis. A then-current GT40 was acquired by Jaguar's Competition Department in 1966 and the results of their findings were also recorded.

In addition ....

Readers of this blog will know of my intention to not only recreate the XJ13 exactly as it was in 1966 but also to eventually see it on a racetrack. I am taking great (some would say "obsessive" ) care to remain true to original suspension design/location so that my recreation should perform similarly to the 1966 original. The finished product may give us additional insight into how the original may have fared in competition. Watch this space!

"Jaguar's GT40"

By the middle of February 1966, the XJ13 was nearing completion. With all eyes on the likely competition at Le Mans in 1967, "Lofty" England (Jaguar's racing team manager) succeeded in borrowing a Ford GT40 from Ford Advance Vehicles. It was duly delivered to the Competition Department where it was subjected to a detailed analysis. Mike Kimberley, Derrick White and Malcolm Sayer were very much involved in this analysis of the "competition" and participated in its stripdown, measurement and analysis. Someone else also involved in this analysis was Peter Wilson - author of the definitive work on the XJ13, "XJ13 - The Definitive Story of the Jaguar Le Mans Car and the V12 Engine that Powered it".

The car Lofty borrowed wasn't a racer but a road-going version powered by a 4.7 litre wet-sump engine.

According to Peter Wilson:

"Touring equipment in the form of 'luggage boxes' were fitted either side of the engine compartment, adjacent to the exhaust manifolds. We felt these were good for very little else other than keeping one's fish and chips warm on the way home from the chip shop! This car, road registered OVX 355D, sat on wire wheels and was painted silver, while the cockpit was fully-trimmed and featured a driver's door mounted, push-button Motorola radio, together with a twin speaker system - sheer luxury on wheels!"

Has this car survived? Perhaps any GT40 enthusiasts could please let me know?

The car was taken to MIRA on 4th March 1966 by Mike Kimberley & Norman Dewis and the car was put through its paces. Testing wasn't particularly extensive as the car wasn't a full race version - in any case, time was running short!

In his book, Peter Wilson gives an account of the MIRA test. Bearing in mind Norman Dewis had comparison with the XJ13 in mind, in summary:

  • Despite being a "road car", the general handling characteristics were very good and the car was responsive with sensitive and positive steering.
  • There was low-speed understeer which only changed to oversteer at maximum power.
  • The car was very susceptible to being blown off course in conditions of changing wind direction - requiring correction to maintain course.
  • Maximum cornering force was just less than 1G.
  • Whilst smooth, even braking could be achieved, it was not possible to lock the wheels. The pads hadn't been fully warmed for these tests however.
  • The maximum lap speed was found to be 133mph which compared poorly with the D-Type's 155mph - highlighting the "road-car" spec of this GT40.
  • Even though the car was et up for the road, ride refinement was lacking with a hard ride and "kicks" from the steering.
  • Static geometry checks showed the car had been quite badly set up with a 1" difference in track front-to-rear (both should have been 54").
  • The gearchange for the DS25-1 transaxle was found to be light and easy to use (as was the case with the XJ13). I'll let you know in due course!
  • Pedal spacing was ideal and made "heeling-and-toeing" very easy. The accelerator pedal was a pendant type wheras the XJ13's was organ type.

After the driving tests, the car was taken into the MIRA wind-tunnel and Malcolm Sayer was able to examine the car's airflow characteristics in some detail.

Sayer noted differences between the car and its racing version including blanking-off of brake ducts and side-cooling ducts. He also noted the rear spoiler was a good 4" shorter than the 1965 car and the car didn't have the lift-reduction deflector plates which would have increased drag.

Although drag for the road-car was lower than the 1962 E-Type and 1962 Ferrari Berlinetta, it was significantly worse than the 1955 racing D-Type. Aerodynamic lift did seem to be an issue and it was interesting to note that "reliable sources" stated Ford were suffering with excessive lift on their racing versions. These "reliable sources" may have been from MIRA who were carrying out secret air-studies for Ford at the time.

It was interesting to see that the XJ13 (which was almost complete at the time these comparisons with the GT40 were carried out) had many similarities to the GT40. Two completely disparate teams of individuals working towards a common goal - success at Le Mans - ended up with very similar solutions. For example:

  • The Ford famously was just over 40" high wheras the XJ13 was lower at just under 39"
  • Wheelbases were within an inch of each other (Ford 95"; Jaguar 96")
  • Tracks were similar (Ford 54"; Jaguar 56")
  • Width (Ford 70"; Jaguar 71")
  • XJ13 had similar but smaller frontal area (Ford 16.91 sq ft; Jaguar 15.97 sq ft)
  • XJ13 had similar but superior drag (Ford 0.35; Jaguar 0.29)
  • XJ13 was lighter (Ford 2,707 lbs; Jaguar 2,600 lbs)
  • Lower centre of gravity for the XJ13 (Ford 15.02"; Jaguar (14.5")

XJ13 - Tested at Silverstone

The XJ13's main test driver was David Hobbs. Although Jaguar already had a competent driver in the shape of Norman Dewis, William Heynes recognised as early as 1964 that a car such as the XJ13 really needed a top-flight race driver to help develop it. There is some evidence to suggest that Jack Brabham had been approached in this respect but, in the end a former Jaguar apprentice - David Hobbs - was recruited for testing. In 1969 Hobbs was included in a FIA list of graded drivers which was an élite group of 27 who were rated the best in the world. It was Hobbs who achieved the unofficial UK closed lap record with the XJ13 which stood for the next 32 years. The XJ13’s main test and development driver, Hobbs, was joined at Silverstone for the XJ13’s final test at full racing speed by another top-flight racing driver (and ex-Jaguar apprentice) Richard ("Dickie") Attwood.

On the morning of Tuesday, 15th August, the XJ13 was taken to Silverstone amidst great secrecy. Mike Kimberley planned for David Hobbs to drive all that day for comprehensive testing under full racing conditions. They wanted to see what the XJ13 could do! Unfortunately, rain began to fall (this was an English Summer after all) and testing was curtailed early on. Conditions looked better the next morning and David Hobbs was joined by Richard Attwood. Although drying, the track was still wet in places and the XJ13 gingerly took to the track. Conditions continued to improve although a shower did interrupt proceedings for two hours and some dampness did remain at the end of testing. Hobbs and Attwood managed a full five hours of testing - although they had to seek shelter for two hours during the shower.

Hobbs did outperform Attwood. Mike Kimberley later described Hobbs as "a fearless driver" who clearly drove with maximum commitment. Hobbs had also carried out the lions' share of testing and so was very familiar with the car already. His best time was a respectable 1 minute 35.7 seconds - this on a drying track with a lingering damp patch at Beckets. A time comparable to Attwood's previous best time in a Ferrari LM of 1 minute 35 seconds - the same time as the best time for a GT40 in the hands of P. Hawkins (1 minute 35 seconds).

The test at Silverstone was to be the final outing for the XJ13. It was never to race and only emerged when required to play a supporting role in a promotional film in 1971 for the soon-to-be-launched Series 3 V12 E-Type. It crashed and was rebuilt in 1972/73 in a specification more suited to its role as "demo" vehicle. It has now been established that the crash was caused by the failure of a rear tyre that had been plugged to cure a slow leak - Norman Dewis having ignored instructions not to drive at racing speeds for the camera.

Would the XJ13 have been competitive at Le Mans?

After the Silverstone test, the data was examined and a package of improvements was proposed which may have delivered the following:

  • Improved brakes - an improvement of 2 to 3 seconds
  • Lower axle ratio - a further 1/2 to 1 second
  • Improved tyres/wider wheels - 2 seconds

The above, conservative, estimates would have resulted in a Silverstone lap time in the region of 1 minute 30 seconds. A full five seconds faster than the best lap time achieved by P Hawkins before 1967 and coincidentally, similar to Hobbs' best lap time in a BRM V8 F1 car at the British Grand Prix in 1967 at Silverstone.

The XJ13 was designed in 1964 by a small team of people under Bill Heynes - Malcolm Sayer, Derrick White and Alex Frick. At the same time, they were working on a number of actively-campaigned E-Types. This team was incredibly small considering their workload (even Connaught had a design staff of 8 in 1955!).

In 1964 they settled on a monocoque design using Baily's quad-cam V12 as a fully-stressed member - like the D- and E-Types before it, a more sophisticated and advanced design than its contemporaries. By the end of 1964 they had settled on the basic layout of the rear suspension. In essence, similar to the E-Type with a lower wishbones and a fixed-length driveshaft acting as upper link. White, argued for a transverse upper suspension link coupled with a sliding driveshaft. This would have ensured greater accuracy in controlling rear wheel geometry when faced by the demands of tyres rapidly growing in width at the time. His wishes were constantly rejected by William Heynes.

Derrick White also designed a series of completely novel state-of-the-art front suspension setups. Heynes, it seems, from the outset wanted to adopt an E-Type based setup. Each of White's designs were rejected by Heynes in turn. He also became increasingly frustrated at Heynes' lack of progress and stubborn attitude. In the end White became royally pi**ed off with all this and left Jaguar to join Cooper.

Shortly after joining Cooper (and having been given free reign to design a car in the way he felt it should be designed) his Cooper-Maserati became a front-runner in the 1966 F1 season then won the first race of the 1967 season. He later joined the Honda/Lola/Surtees consortium and helped design the "Hondola" wich won first time out in 1967.

It is a shame he was prevented from exercising his talents on the XJ13 as well as the lack of urgency throughout 1965 as Ford may really have been humbled by the XJ13!

What do you think?

Introducing the tera®

Introducing the tera®

Figure 1 Building the Legend’s tera®. © Neville Swales

Is the 12-cylinder dead?

I ask myself, "Is the 12-cylinder engine dead?" I was about to introduce the tera®, Building The Legend Limited’s own unique quad-cam V12 engine. The type of power unit which could have been heard howling down the Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans in 1966 and beyond. But why did I embark on this craziness? Why design and build a V12 engine? Why the name “tera”?

The last question is easily answered ….Can you think of a better name for one of these engines?

I

The tera® - "to the power of 12". © Neville Swales

Naturally-aspirated and boasting a capacity of 6.1 or 6.8-litres (372 or 488 cu in) with power and torque in abundance. An electric motor may silently propel you forward more swiftly but certainly not with such a big smile on your face ….

When BMW M CEO Markus Flasch was recently asked if the BMW V12 had any life in it, he answered, “Beyond what we have, I don’t believe we will see a new twelve-cylinder model in the foreseeable future.” With the likes of Ferrari downsizing V12 models to a twin-turbo V8 and Lamborghini considering a V8 for their 2024 Aventador, we can be forgiven for thinking that the 12-cylinder is a powerplant of the past.

I completely understand that it’s not easy to justify 12 pistons these days ...but, then, sit in the cockpit of a Ferrari 812 Superfast, a Pagani Huayra, or an Aston Martin DB11, or, dare I say it, ...stand alongside a tera® ... and put a finger to the start button.

Then listen to the resulting sound.

That, sir or madam, friends and fellow-enthusiasts, is the sound of life. The song of a living and breathing entity, the most soulful mechanical invention since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. That is the melody of a dozen cylinders working in harmony, full of anima (the part of the psyche which is directed inwards, in touch with the subconscious) and heart and fury.

Even if it’s no longer the obvious choice (or even the most logical), the 12-cylinder lives ...

In the past, a 12-cylinder engine was the only certain way to guarantee power and refinement. They propelled the fighter planes of World War I and II, and motivated early automobiles from Sunbeam to Packard to Cadillac. The Ferrari V12 was — and is — considered a hallowed Italian treasure, at least equal to anything inside the walls of the Vatican.

The late Cecil (Sam) Clutton, CBE [No-one was better known in VSCC circles than the 100% amateur enthusiast. Clutton was that Club’s President from 1954 to 1956 and had edited very entertainingly its Bulletin from 1935 to 1951. He raced his famous 1908 GP Itala over a span of 60 years, an unique record.] wrote after driving a Hispano-Suiza Twelve,

There is an indefinable magic about every V12 I have driven, whether it is this one, or the [Rolls-Royce] PIII, or the splendid Packard, or the one-and-only 10 ½ -litre world speed record Delage”.

In this era, a V12 is no longer a necessity. All those super-chargers and turbo-chargers coax as much or even more power from smaller, more efficient engines which are lighter and less complicated.

This means that buying a car equipped with a V12 becomes a matter of CHOICE. You opt in because — just like the best watches — you love the connection with a long and wonderful history, a bridge from one bygone era to today—a little bit of a Supermarine Spitfire fighter lives on in your garage. It comes from the heart.

Wasn’t it Enzo Ferrari who proclaimed,

”Every man should plant a tree, father a child and drive a V12 once in his life”?

Try to explain the magic of a V12 to a novice, and you may talk about the boundless torque, the ability to rev into the stratosphere, and the smooth delivery of power.

But soon enough you’ll turn to the sound, the defining element which simply can’t be recreated by a trick turbo. While each car model has its own personality, they share a glorious commonality. The smooth, basso profundo rumble at the start is followed by a rise in pitch and decibels as you coax the revs higher and higher.

Damon Hill [British former F1 racing driver and 1996 F1 World Champion. He is the son of Graham Hill] said,

"I don’t know what it is about V12s, but this arrangement delivers a peculiar pulse that is the sonic equivalent of strawberry mousse and cream”.

“When I hear your 12 cylinders”, wrote conductor Herbert von Karajan [Generally regarded as one of the greatest conductors of the 20th century, he was a dominant figure in European classical music from the mid-1950s until his death.] to Enzo Ferrari, “I hear a burst of harmony that no conductor could ever re-create”.

At full tilt, a V12 produces a howl so sharp that it could cut meat from bone. And with a wide-open throttle, a roaring V12 resonates throughout the entire frame of a vehicle. It’s all around you—even your sternum vibrates like a tuning fork.

With the throttle pinned, the engine sends a thrum through the entire car - irrepressible, exultant…. magical.

The 12-cylinder lives

Perhaps the above goes some way to answering “why did I embark on this craziness?” It’s something that “just had to be done” … I’m sure most of my friends will “get it”. After all, for how much longer will we be able to buy one of these wonderful engines? As the large car manufacturers, egged on by vested interests and their governments rush headlong towards an all-electric future, our choices will become increasingly limited.

OK, so where did this idea for the tera® come from? From the outset, the tera® aims to be a beautifully sculptural engine and unashamedly “of the period”. An engine designed to be seen and with a purposeful beauty hinting at the power lying within.

Matra V12 1967

The tera® draws inspiration from Claude Baily’s [Claude Baily came to Jaguar from the Morris Motors design office. He had come to Morris from the Anzani Engine Factory who built aircraft engines. After designing Anzani and Morris engines, Claude went on to help design and develop Jaguars 'XK' six cylinder masterpiece as well as their first V12.] legendary quad-cam racing engine – an engine designed to return the company to its glory days of Le Mans triumphs and domination – as well as other engines of the period. Before any of our “friends” at Jaguar make any sort of claims about the tera’s® origins, I should emphasise that the tera® is NOT a replica or copy of Jaguar’s prototype quad-cam V12 engine. Instead, it draws its inspiration from Baily’s stillborn engine as well as other engines of the period.

Ferruccio Lamborghini and his V12

Baily’s engine was meant to power the car which should have returned Jaguar to Le Mans – the XJ13 – also stillborn. The one-off car was destined to never turn a wheel in anger and the potential of Baily’s mighty power-unit was never fully realised. Instead, the company re-designed Baily’s racing engine into a SOHC version more suited to sedate applications.

In the words of Jaguar’s Walter “Wally” Hassan …

“… Between 1949 and 1957 Jaguar were actively involved in motor racing in order to create the sporting image for their cars. Amongst their successes were the winning of the Le Mans 24 Hour Race in the years of 1951, 1953, 1955, 1956 & 1957 as well as Sebring and many other international races and rallies. These cars were powered by the six-cylinder XK twin-cam engine and it was thought to be desirable to develop a successor to compete in future races, particularly Le Mans …. in order to provide the maximum potential in power, a 12 cylinder ‘Vee’ configuration … was conceived to provide for safe running at 8000-8500 rpm. By way of comparison the 6-cylinder twin cam XK engine had been designed without racing in mind.
… during the development period it was decided to withdraw from racing and these policy changes eliminated the need for a competition engine and emphasis shifted to the production (SOHC) version.”

Drawing inspiration from Baily’s V12 and other classic racing engines of the period, Building The Legend’s tera® represents a “what might have been”. An engine born to race but whose potential was never fully realised – until now …

The engine is of course normally-aspirated and drivers of these cars will gain the full visceral experience of a howling V12 race-engine. Distributor-less with choice of period Lucas Mechanical or Electronic Fuel injection. Safe running rev-limit of 8,000 to 8,500 rpm. Available from street-spec to full-race.

The engine’s weight is similar to the classic 6-cyl engine with its cast-iron block. It can be installed in cars as diverse as the S3 V12 E-Type, XJ12 Coupe, V12 XJS and many other classic Jaguar saloons such as 420G and Mk10. It can even be installed in 6-cylinder cars with some modification (6-cyl E-Types included). Quad-Cam V12-powered XK120 anyone? Or a twin-engine power boat? The engine does bear cosmetic similarities to those powering classic V12 Lamborghinis and Ferraris …. applications of this engine are limited only by your imagination!

Engine Specifications:

  • Capacity:         6.1 L (372 cu in); 6.8 L (415 cu in)
  • Bore x Stroke:  96 x 70 mm (3.8” x 2.8”); 96 x 78.5 mm (3.8” x 3.1”)
  • Power:             350 – 650 hp   (261 – 485 kW)
  • Torque:            300 – 600 lb ft (407 – 813 Nm)
  • Compression:  11.3:1, 12.7:1
  • 2-valve, over-square architecture, duplex-chain-driven cams with convenient Vernier adjustment.