While in Wolverhampton we called at that hive of activity, the Kieft factory, to learn from Cyril Kieft his plans for this season. The 500-c.c. sports cars, of which three are planned, one of which will be driven by Alan Rippon at Le Mans, will have not Turner, but air-cooled flat-four Wooler motor-cycle engines. Developed to give 35 b.h.p. at 5,000 r.p.m., these will at all events for the present, be accommodated at the front of the Kieft chassis to ensure a full flow of air to the cylinders. The usual Kieft all-independent suspension will be used, comprising coil-spring damper units at the front and a transverse leaf spring and bottom wishbones at the rear, the drive to the back wheels being via jointed shafts. The bodies will be all-enveloping glass-fibre two-seaters. On cars of over 60 b.h.p. Kieft uses double wishbones for the suspension.
The same chassis and body shell will be used for Webb’s 500-c.c. Kieft, but a Shorrocks supercharger will put this car in the 750-c.c. sports-car class. In place of the combined differential and combined four-speed gearbox of the Wooler-engined cars, the Turner four-cylinder job will use an M.G. gearbox and an E.N.V. differential. One will be prepared for Le Mans.
Wadsworth will have a similar car, but using a single o.h.c. four-cylinder 1,100-c.c. Coventry Climax engine, but this car will not run at Le Mans, although Trouis and Hitchin hope to have a Kieft of this sort in the French race.
Kieft’s own pet project is a 1 1/2-litre air-cooled flat-four sports car using his centre-seat chassis and a Wilson preselector gearbox. He may build a team of these cars to challenge Porsche opposition. Reg Mead has developed a single-cylinder test rig of this engine to give 32 1/2 b.h.p. at 7,000 r.p.m. This engine will replace the Butterworth, which Kieft has virtually abandoned.
The normal centre-seat Bristol-engined sports Kieft will be continued. For Formula I racing a Kieft chassis has been prepared for Alan Brown which will accommodate the new 2 1/2-litre V8 Coventry Climax engine and using Dunlop disc brakes.
At the works we saw an exciting sports Kieft being built to the order of Goldschmidt, the American driver, to accommodate a de Soto V8 o.h.c. “Firedome” power unit.
Work also proceeds on Kieft 500s. Gordon Bedson is acting as designer and stressman to Cyril Kieft. As to whether all the ambitious projects formulating at Wolverhampton will come to fruition, your guess is as good as ours. But certainly if some of them do not appear this will not be for want of enthusiasm on the part of Cyril Kieft. — W. B.