...and tribulations




The recent articles on the two Weslake V12 engines brought nostalgic memories to me.

I served my apprenticeship with Weslake in the Dan Gurney days and recall the beautiful sound of the V12 on test, which could be heard sometimes late into the night from miles away — and also the odd occasion when an Eagle was tested on the public road outside the works!

A minor correction, though. The Ford-Weslake Project was not sold to Terry Hoyle, but to my company (at the time), Lynx Engineering. We were heavily involved in the preparation of historic racing cars, especially D-type Jaguars, and in building our D-type replica. But it had always been a dream of mine to construct a Le Mans car, and that was the reason behind the purchase of the Weslake engine project We thought we had a backer for this, but like so many dreams it remained just that — the money could not be raised.

In actual fact, there were some important drawings and pattern equipment missing from the project, so apart from the half-dozen or so semi-complete engines and a large quantity of parts, it would have been quite problematical to start again.

In the end, we sold the project to Aston Martin, who doubtless at the time also held dreams of a Le Mans car. It is a strange irony that Aston Martin is now owned by Ford, the original backers of the Weslake engine; presumably the V12 project is gathering dust at Newport Pagnell to this day.

We did keep one engine and installed it in a Lynx D-type — I seem to recall it went rather well! I gather that this engine was later removed from this car and may well have gone to Terry Hoyle. I don’t know, as I left cars for the world of historic aeroplanes and Rolls-Royce V12 aviation engines — a different, but equally evocative sound!

I am, Yours etc,

Guy Black, Northiam, near Rye, East Sussex