Godiva laid bare


I enjoyed reading of the completion of the Kieft Formula One car (March 2003) and to learn that it had been rightfully united with the Coventry-Climax Godiva engine. Judging from the photos it looks a task well done. Such a pity that it never raced in the era for which it was intended.

I should like to point out, for sake of historical accuracy, that the engine fitted to the Shannon Formula One car at the time of the British Grand Prix in 1966 did not burst. After qualifying it had been decided to fit pannier fuel tanks in anticipation of running the full distance. Unfortunately, it was a rushed job, with fuel-line connections not being checked properly. As a consequence, Trevor Taylor retired the car on the first lap soaked in fuel.

Following this debacle Paul Emery removed the engine from the Shannon and fitted it into the John Willment-owned BRP F1 car. John Campbell-Jones drove this in the 1966 Oulton Park Gold Cup where he was black-flagged for dropping oil. Lack of funds meant that the project had to be abandoned, so the engine was removed and the chassis returned to Willment

When the engine was enlarged to three litres, the crankcase, which housed wet liners, was bored to accept Jaguar liners and pistons. Unfortunately, there was insufficient space to fit the required sealing rings to prevent coolant passing into the crankcase, which meant a liquid sealant was used. Although the engine did very limited racing mileage it did a fair amount of private testing, both on the track and the dyno. As far as I am aware, the anticipated problem did not arise. I remember Paul Emery being more than happy with the results of the dyno tests. The power figures produced were as expected and he was confident of improving them with further development.

The engine as used in the Shannon was fitted with Tecalemit-Jackson fuel injection, not SU, although it was initially run on Weber carburettors in early tests. The exhaust system was four-into-two on each cylinder bank. But due to insufficient time prior to the Oulton Park meeting, stub exhausts were fitted when the engine was used in the BRP chassis. It was intended that a full four-into-two-into-one system be fitted had the project continued.

I hope this clarifies the history of the engine while it was in Emery's hands.

I am, yours etc,
Bob Mitchell, Acton, London