Rumblings, January 1955

A Promising 1,100-cc Sports-Car Engine
A very pleasing exhibit at last year’s Earls Court Motor Show were the two Kieft sports two-seaters, the only 1,100-c.c. British sports models. They were powered with the overhead camshaft four-cylinder 72.4 by 66.6 mm. 1,097-c.c. Type FWA Coventry Climax engine. This over-square light-alloy engine gives 72 b.h.p. at 6.200 r.p.m. on a compression-ratio of 8.8 to 1 and a maximum torque of 64 ft./lb. at 5,000 r.p.m. It weighs 208 lb., dry. The single-piece cylinder block and crankcase is fitted with easily-renewable slip-fit liners.

The steel crankshaft is of extremely robust, fully counterweighted design with a large overlap between crankpins and main journals. It is carried in three 24 in. dia. by 1 in. main bearings which are identical in size for interchangeability. These bearings are of the lead-bronze steel-backed strip type, and require no fitting.

The aluminium pistons are fitted with Dykes pressure-locked compression rings, the top rings being chromium-plated. The short, stiff connecting rods are split diagonally for easy withdrawal through the cylinder bores. The big-end bearings are of the renewable lead-bronze strip type, 1 ¾ in. dia. by 7/8 in. wide.

The bore/stroke ratio gives the exceptionally low piston speed of 2,500 ft./min. at 5,750 r.p.m.

The heat-treated aluminium cylinder head has wedge-shaped combustion chambers and easy-flowing ports.

The valves, of XB steel, seat on shrunk-in austenitic cast-iron seatings. A carefully-directed stream of coolant is provided by a centrifugal belt-driven pump which has sealed ball-bearings and a carbon gland. The water pump drive belt also drives the fan (if fitted) and the dynamo.

A single overhead camshaft is driven by a two-stage drive comprising a gear reduction from crankshaft to jackshaft and chain-drive from jackshaft to camshaft. The jackshaft runs in pressure-fed white-metal bearings which are renewable without fitting, and drives the oil pump and distributor through skew gears and the fuel pump by means of a cam.

The chain driving the camshaft is of the duplex type. A Weller-type tensioner is fitted on its slack side to damp out vibration. The combination of gear and sprocket ratio has been carefully chosen in order to provide a hunting tooth in each stage to eliminate the localised tooth wear commonly experienced in timing gears. The driving sprocket is coupled to the camshaft by a dowel and setscrew so that the timing is not lost when the cylinder head is removed. The camshaft operates the valves by direct action through chilled cast-iron tappets which work in guides surmounting the valve springs. Tappet adjustment is by means of hardened discs of graduated thickness. The three white-metal camshaft bearings are renewable without fitting.

The tappets are lubricated from a trough formed integral with the tappet guide and camshaft bearing block. Thus, the cams constantly dip into oil spilled from the camshaft bearings.

The oil pump is of the normal spur gear type. A relief valve built into the sump body passes the spill back into the inlet. The oil is therefore drawn from the sump (via a floating pick-up filter) only in sufficient quantity to meet the bearing requirements. This means that oil passes more slowly through the filter, also reducing the likelihood of aeration.

The main oil filter, which is mounted externally, is of the full-flow, renewable element type.

Twin 1 ½-in, throttle semi-downdraught S.U. carburetters are fitted.

The engine is supplied complete with starter and dynamo, and with or without a cooling fan.

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Esso Hospitality
The price of petrol remains pretty high, but the hospitality extended by the Oil Barons to their guests and friends of the Press is certainly lavish. Thus on the evening of November 30th we left the Film House in Wardour Street with what a friend of ours used to refer to as an “unfortunate overhang,” clutching an Esso wallet containing a cute plastic hood for the girl-friend to slip on if she were obliged to vacate the car in the rain on the way home — due, perhaps, to running out of Esso.

The occasion was a preview of two new Esso Competition Films, “Esso Reporter No. 1” and “For Motoring Men. “ The latter featured the British Empire Trophy Race at Oulton Park last year. Many celebrities of English motor-racing were present, notably Alan Brown, winner of the B.E. Trophy, Roy Salvadori, Jim Mayers, Ken McAlpine, Colin Chapman, Cliff Davis, John Coombs, George Abecassis, David Murray, and many, many more invisible in the crowded bar.

“Esso Reporter No. 1” is a miscellany of motor and motorcycle events, including all too brief shots of Reg. Parnell winning at the Crystal Palace, the opening Aintree meeting and the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, interspersed with some fine gliding shots and unnecessarily-long items devoted to the Boy Scouts’ Derby and the skid-kids.

“For Motoring Men” is a 16-mm. colour film of the British Empire Trophy Race at Oulton Park, and it serves to show up the splendid amenties of the Oulton Park circuit, where it would be rather nice to have a Grand Prix.

These films will be joined by “An Irish Reel,” featuring the R.A.C. T.T. and the North-West 200 motor-cycle race and a film about motor-cycle racing at Cadwell Park.

All are available for loan, free of charge, to clubs and other bodies; application should be made to the Competitions Section, Esso Petroleum Company, 36, Queen Anne’s Gate. London, S.W.1.

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A German Miniature
Further to our recent references to motor-car miniatures, through the generosity of Charles Mortimer, we have been able to add to our collection a quite outstanding Prameta replica. Made in Cologne, this polished silver-finish XK120 Jaguar fixed-head coupé is 6 in. long and weighs 12 oz.

Wound-up by a key in the shape of a tiny traffic-cop, this Jaguar runs some 100 feet, steering first in a circle in one direction, then in the other, tail-sliding in a realistic fashion. It is equipped with a three-speed and reverse gearbox (controlled by moving the reversing lamp), stub-axle steering (turned by moving the fog-lamp) with radius control and automatic direction-changer should the car strike objects in its path. The clockwork is protected against overwinding, no iron or tin components are used apart from the screws and springs, and the mechanism is detachable for cleaning.

Besides this Jaguar, Mercédès-Benz 300 and Buick 450 are made. Prameta models are not, we believe, freely available in this country, but when you visit Germany this summer with marks to spend . .
Meanwhile, what about it, British toy industry?