OK you may say, not much from the original 105E Anglia engine found its way into the Four Cam V8…..true, that may be so in terms of hardware…. but that is not what this story is about. This was a time when the growth of big horsepower could come about through the development of established designs…. and not only through clean sheet radical design departures. Each step of the way from the original 105E was evolutionary and taught the Cosworth men how not only to get to the power figures required but how to keep the engines together….as a matter of interest, crankshaft journal diameters for the DFV V8 were identical to the 105E.
Here’s the thing though, whilst Hayes had loosened up the £150 000 for the funding on both the FVA and DFV projects he only declared £100 000 to Cosworth as being the absolute development cost for both engines….they achieved it. It is remarkable that at their bidding, Ford developed two championship winning engines, both dominating respective categories and setting new Tech standards for the industry, for an amount that would have been seen as pocket money even in those days. The payback was immense, not only in financial and reputational terms for Cosworth but the racing achievements and branding for Ford. Coming in after the’63 thru ’66 Ford saloon car onslaught and the First of the 24Hr LeMans victories for the GT40 in ’66, this new attack underlined ‘Ford Total Performance’ as one of the most believable marketing taglines in the history of Motoring.
Fordomination in the last years of the 60’s was accelerating, not waning.
The FVA won all Formula two championships from 1967 to 1971 and the DFV winning 12 F1 world championships on the trot from 1968 with the first race win in 1967 and untold numbers of sports car and US oval track victories. The natural progression to the BDA series of engines eventually had this very basic Ford engine block producing up to 260 Bhp in 2 litre form and a further development moving to an all Aluminium version of the BD range in the early 70’s.
The kicker though is the ultimate accolade…..Cosworth had established a new norm in the development of narrow angle four valve cylinder head tech and the big manufacturers were running behind the curve….. BMW is (reliably) reputed to have bought an FVA and used the basic design for their own four valve racing applications. Their most notable development being the 1000+ bhp Turbocharged 1.5 Litre F1 engines based on the 2002 production engine blocks. Mercedes contracted Cosworth to design the 4v cylinder head for their 2.3 Litre 190 Merc……Serious achievements for a company starting out in a shed with a small four cylinder engine producing just 32 bhp.
At this point and as a lead-in to my next article… Fordomination Part 5, covering the Kent derived 1558cc Twin Cam, we need to touch on just how well Ford then used the rule book to maximise the race potential of their product. By the end of 1967 there was not much left for Ford to dominate in saloon car racing. Successful campaigns in Europe, the UK and South Africa put this manufacturer in an unassailable position. The psychological head butt of that Le Mans 1,2,3….. and another Le Mans win in 1967 had Ford firmly on top of the heap.
The rule book in 1968 for the UK (and us here in SA) allowed the use of Cosworth’s new four valve FVA in the newly launched Mark 1 Escort Twin Cam, simply because no-one thought to exclude a four valve ‘head on the Kent bottom end (Europen rules were a bit smarter and outlawed the 4 valver). The rapid march of technology had outsmarted the rule makers and whilst being a teeny stretch of the Homologation rules….it was legal. In no time we had gone from the rather portly Mark Two Lotus Cortina racer with a 175Bhp Twin Cam, which was finding things a bit difficult, to a lightweight Escort at 220 Bhp. Power to weight ratios shifted from around 9lbs per bhp to under 7 in one fell swoop. Lap times were obliterated and the FVA Escorts matched the best of the Falcon V8’s. Sounding exactly like an F2 open wheeler, this car became the second Ford powered sedan racer to join the 10 000 Rpm club and opened a new chapter in racing saloon audio.
For the next year in the UK and South Africa two cars dominated proceedings. In the UK it was the red and gold Allan Mann FVA Escort and in SA the Meissner/Gough equivalent. I need, however to make a point that is oft neglected and in so doing put into numbers the magnitude of Ford’s Domination by 1968. If we take the years prior to 1963 (that year being Ford’s entry into activities) the pack leaders were Jaguar and the Kyalami lap record for saloon cars had hovered at over the 2:00 minute mark for some time. Lap times had not shifted massively during this period but by mid- 1963, the Jags were limbering up to be first to break the barrier in a race….. only to have the new kid on the block, a humble Ford Cortina, do it first with Basil van Rooyen the tuner/pilot.
That was the changing of the guard and one of the most significant upsets in saloon car racing ever. The same scene played out in the UK and Australia at exactly the same time with the Cortina GT bursting the bubble of established saloon car racers around the globe….and what was so special about the Cortina?…nothing startling, except that this was the new trend in lightweight monocoque bodyshell construction and that 1498cc Kent engine. Ford had nailed every lap record on every track hosting saloon car racing anywhere in the UK and SA…with Kyalami as an example…that 2:00 minute barrier in 1963 moved to a 1:41 in 1968. That is 19 seconds a lap…. before the advent of slick tyres…. and whilst the V8’s helped, the Kent engine…. in TC and FVA formats were the primary destroyer of old lap records.
There is lots more interesting stuff to cover on the Cosworth/Kent story and we will do so as we go along… but… at this point we need to digress and touch on the other sibling in the Kent world… the Twin Cam. This was the twin overhead cam cylinder head designed in 1962 around the Ford engine block to power the Lotus Elan. The package was also side-tracked do duty in the Lotus Cortina in 1963. In that application found itself under immediate pressure as a race engine. A fledgling Cosworth had stepped in to help sort out teething problems and very soon this version of the Kent was producing in the region of 100Bhp/litre (160Bhp from 1600, cc) and doing so in top line Cortina racers around the world starting the rise to fame for the TC in 1964 and ’65. By 1966/67 Ford’s range of V8 engined race saloons, the Mustangs and Falcons took the shine off the Twin Cam as the primary race weapon & when the FVA arrived in 1968 the TC’s days looked to be really numbered…or so we thought…