|Welcome to the Gurney Weslake Homepage|
|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 X 60mm). 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.|
|Gurney Weslake V8 Engine|
|Dan Gurney approached Weslake with the idea of building a V8 engine with
alloy heads based on the Ford Fairlane 289cid block. He had made
sketches of his thoughts on this and took them to show Harry Weslake at
Rye in England.
Drawings for the new Cylinder Heads and other special parts were drawn up by Harry and his staff at Rye. Here they designed the now world renowned Gurney Weslake Cylinder head and racing engine components. The heads had the inlet ports inclined at nine degrees as opposed to the standard twenty and were round in shape. The combustion chambers were of the Weslake pattered heart shaped (a Weslake Trademark)
The first Heads were made for testing purposes and cast by Alcoa and tested by John Miller at Dan Gurneys All American Racing in the USA. These were the Mark I type.
Modifications were made following the initial testing and then further heads were made in England of the Mark II type at the Weslake works at Rye. Further testing took place in the USA a feature of this being racing at Riverside in 1965.
In 1966 the Mark III version of the Gurney Weslake head had been developed with alterations to make assembly and maintenance easer to carry out. Further development work brought about the Mark IV version of the Head lighter in weight with narrower rocker covers and an inclined carburettor mounting towards the centre of the engine. These heads were developed for use with the Ford 305 cid engine and enabled Dan to win at Riverside in 1967. More famously these engines were used to power the Ford GT40 to win at Le Mans Twice, first in 1968 and again in 1969.
In 1968 Dan Gurney set up manufacturing of these heads in England to a modified design for passenger road car use. He was hoping for a contract to supply these Cylinder Heads to Ford or Lincoln-Mercury and believing that an order was coming started manufacture of a very large batch of castings. These had the detuned combustion chambers and were of a budget design and also cast in LM8 at the Aeroplane and Motor Foundry. See photos for comparison of some of the differences. These could be machined with different size ports and or valve sizes to the full racing heads and some of the internal passage ways are of differing sizes. In the event no manufactures took up the option to purchase of fit these heads as a standard fitment leaving Dan with an enormous stockpile of Road car cylinder heads. Many of these were converted to as near race car spec as the Gurney factory could make them and fitted to Indy cars. None of these heads were fitted to GT40's at the time. All GT40 Heads were of the William Mills foundry and of the higher grade castings with the Full Race combustion Chambers porting and passage ways.
The Airplane and Motor cast Heads were usually branded as Gurney Eagle although some will by a matter of time have been retro fitted with Gurney Weslake Rocker covers.
Further information on Gurney Weslake products can be obtained from Weslake who hold all the original drawings and information for these items.
|Left: Race car head. Right: Road car head Top: Road car head. Bottom: Race car head|