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Weslake

Weslake Research and Development was founded by Harry Weslake, a cylinder head specialist who had been instrumental in modifying the side valve standard engine used in the first SS (later to become Jaguar) sports car. He also designed the cylinder head for the overhead valve version of the Austin series A engine that was used in the Morris 1000 and the Mini and received royalties on each of these engines manufactured. He was involved in the design of every Jaguar engine up to and including the V12 of the early 1970s. He also designed the Straight-4s engines for the 1958 Vanwall Formula One Grand Prix Car, an engine that was using a lot of technology and experience from a single-cylinder Norton motorcycle engine. The Vanwall car went on to win the 1958 F1 Constructors Cup.

In 1966 Dan Gurney commissioned Weslake Engineering to build an Aubrey Woods designed 3.0-litre V12 Formula One engine for his Eagle T1G. Their efforts produced a V12 that was smooth and powerful. At Monza, an insight into the future of engine design was seen for the first time. The engine had four valves per cylinder at a narrow included angle (thirty degrees) that allowed a single cover to enclose both the close-spaced camshafts on each bank. The sixty-degree-vee layout had a larger bore than stroke (72.8 × 60 mm). Gurney won the Race of Champions at Brands Hatch, a non-championship event, and the 1967 Belgian Grand Prix with the Eagle-Weslake V12 engine.

At Monza in 1966, 364 bhp (271 kW) was available. This increased to 390 bhp (290 kW) during the winter. At the 1967 Brands Hatch Race of Champions, Dan Gurney's engine gave 413 bhp (308 kW) and Richie Ginther's engine gave 409 bhp (305 kW). On test, up to 422 bhp (315 kW) had been achieved. At Monaco, Gurney had 411 bhp (306 kW), Ginther 417 bhp (311 kW). Later in the 1967 season quotes of 416 bhp (310 kW) were made. (These are figures from Motoring News.) The engines peaked at around 10,000 rpm. A figure of 442 bhp (330 kW) was mentioned at the start of 1968, but after money ran out, a test made at the B.R.M. factory recorded only 378 bhp (this may have been a 'tired' engine). Harry Weslake had an eventual goal of 500 bhp (370 kW) @ 12,000 rpm. Later Ford sponsored (75.0 × 56.25 mm) versions in 1972 were quoted at 465 bhp (347 kW) @ 10,500 rpm.

In addition to three Jaguar 24 Hours of Le Mans victories in the 1950s Harry Weslake and his company provided the Gurney-Weslake cylinder heads for the engines that powered the Gulf -Weyr Ford GT40 Mk.I to two consecutive wins at Le Mans, in 1968 and 1969.

During the 1970s Weslake manufactured the Cologne RS2600 engine that Ford fitted to the Capri. This also included the special Weslake aluminium Heads used for Fords Touring car challenge. The Weslake Ford Capri went on to win its class at Le Mans in 1972 and won all but one round of the European Touring car championship outright in the same year. Weslake still continue to manufacture original spare parts for this engine today.

Weslake Engineering went on to design a series of successful motorcycle engines during the 1970s that were also used in early shifter karts. Harry Weslake died in 1978.

Weslake now have two divisions. Weslake Air services is run by Harry Weslakes stepson Micheal Daniel. Weslake Air Services designs and takes to prototype stage aircraft engines especially diesel-powered engines as used in airships and light aircraft. They are at the leading edge of design and world leaders in this field.

The Weslake Heritage and Motorsport division is run by Harry Weslake's grandson Dean and specialises in manufacturing of Original Genuine spares for Weslake past engines and offers a full motorsport package of technical support and engine building and testing. Weslake Heritage now holds most of the intellectual property rights original drawings and pattern equipment to Weslake pre-1980 designs.