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Alan Smith R.I.P.


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#1 Giraffe

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 10:56

I have just had the sad news from Sid Taylor that legendary engine builder Alan Smith passed away on August 25th. I can find nothing relating to his passing on the BRDC website, other forums or the web. Sid tells me it was kept very low key.

Edited by Giraffe, 15 September 2011 - 10:59.


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#2 Michael Ferner

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 15:39

Sad news. :(

#3 E1pix

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 18:30

Indeed. RIP.

#4 arttidesco

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 18:45

I can't begin to imagine how many cars I have seen racing powered by his motors over the years, a very sad loss RIP Alan.

#5 David M. Kane

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 19:31

A great race engine builder. RIP. God speed.

#6 Jerry Entin

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 19:41

RIP Alan:

It was always hard for me to believe that his engines were better then say Traco or Bartz at the time. He was in England and had to have all his parts shipped to him. His parts weren't the latest thinking. His engines put out plenty of power and stayed together. He also had Formula One drivers using them.

As Dave Kane has said he was a great engine builder.

#7 Thundersport

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 23:39

RIP Alan remember he also had Team AJS in F3000 running Ekblom and the car/team was always well presented.

#8 PMac

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 10:17

RIP Alan remember he also had Team AJS in F3000 running Ekblom and the car/team was always well presented.


I have a feeling we're getting our Alan Smiths mixed up here, Thundersport. The Team AJS Alan Smith was a Newcastle-based architect. His involvement with the sport was as team owner, but he had no technical background.

I agreed with your comment about presentation - it looked a slick operation.

#9 Jagracer

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 17:11

A Great loss to the racing world I first met him when I was with Sid Taylor in 1969. I then went to work for Mo Skailes with the Chevron B 16 & took our Cosworth FVC engines to him to rebuild. From there I went to Ed Swartz & again we used Alan for the whole season

He would never let you down & would always work till the late hours to get your engines ready on time & they were always reliable & gave good BHP

A very clever Man with a great sense of humour & as I said a great loss to the World of Motor Racing RIP

Phil Bradford

#10 xj13v12

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 22:28

A Great loss to the racing world I first met him when I was with Sid Taylor in 1969. I then went to work for Mo Skailes with the Chevron B 16 & took our Cosworth FVC engines to him to rebuild. From there I went to Ed Swartz & again we used Alan for the whole season

He would never let you down & would always work till the late hours to get your engines ready on time & they were always reliable & gave good BHP

A very clever Man with a great sense of humour & as I said a great loss to the World of Motor Racing RIP

Phil Bradford

His work will live on a bit yet due to all the inlet manifolds still on cars. The cross over slide injection on F5000s was different thinking at that time, seen mostly on Chevrons.

#11 ReWind

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 17:54

Even after intensive googling I'm still mostly in the dark about the man.

I think he was Alan W. Smith from Derby whose company was bought by Bill Gibson's Zytek firm in 1987 or 1988.

But what about personal data? Age, let alone birth date?

#12 Giraffe

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 18:06

Even after intensive googling I'm still mostly in the dark about the man.

I think he was Alan W. Smith from Derby whose company was bought by Bill Gibson's Zytek firm in 1987 or 1988.

But what about personal data? Age, let alone birth date?


Yes, it was the Alan Smith from Derby as referred to above. I understand Alan to have been in his early 80s and Sid Taylor tells me he was married three times. Alan was a close friend of Tim Parnell and I had his phone number but never contacted him as I was concerned that he had not been well for some time and I didn't want to disturb him. I was hoping for some good news from Tim, but sadly it never came........

#13 Allen Brown

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 19:45

I am also surprised that there is so little about him on the web. Quickly browsing my results database, Smith engines are one of the most popular options for F5000 Chevrolets, Formula Atlantic Ford BDAs and sports-racing Cosworth FVCs as well as Ford twin-cams, BDEs and even F3 Toyotas from 1970 (or earlier) to 1983 (or later). I'm fairly certain that it's only because UK Atlantic stopped in 1983 that I don't have more on him from later in the 1980s. Didn't he build Cosworth DFVs for F3000 in the mid-1980s?

In sports car racing, he was the first builder to create a 1900cc version of the FVC and later built the 1975cc "FVD" that was briefly used in Formula 2 in 1973.

In his European F5000 book, Wolfgang Klopfer says that Smith had retired by 1975 and the company taken over by Dave Whitehurst. I'm not sure I understand that - Whitehurst definitely worked for Smith but Whitehurst set up DWR some time around 1975 so maybe he merely took some business with him from Smith when he left.

Surely we can do better than this?

#14 Giraffe

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 20:13

I will ask Tim Parnell through Sid Taylor & others who new him from the BRDC if they can provide further info.

#15 Jagracer

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Posted 24 September 2011 - 10:07

I am also surprised that there is so little about him on the web. Quickly browsing my results database, Smith engines are one of the most popular options for F5000 Chevrolets, Formula Atlantic Ford BDAs and sports-racing Cosworth FVCs as well as Ford twin-cams, BDEs and even F3 Toyotas from 1970 (or earlier) to 1983 (or later). I'm fairly certain that it's only because UK Atlantic stopped in 1983 that I don't have more on him from later in the 1980s. Didn't he build Cosworth DFVs for F3000 in the mid-1980s?

In sports car racing, he was the first builder to create a 1900cc version of the FVC and later built the 1975cc "FVD" that was briefly used in Formula 2 in 1973.

In his European F5000 book, Wolfgang Klopfer says that Smith had retired by 1975 and the company taken over by Dave Whitehurst. I'm not sure I understand that - Whitehurst definitely worked for Smith but Whitehurst set up DWR some time around 1975 so maybe he merely took some business with him from Smith when he left.

Surely we can do better than this?

Dave Whitehouse did work for Alan Smith, I worked alongside him many times when we were desperate to get our Cosworth FVC engines back & was running late
The story I heard was that when Alan decided to retire he handed the Company to Dave to run as he had been with him for a good few years, unfortunately Dave was a brilliant engineer but not very good at the paperwork/office side & things started to slip a little & Alan had to come back in to help out
The last time I met Dave was when he was involved with Roddy Harvey Baily doing development on the Rolls Royce V8 engine to give them more power & run even better I sent such an Engine to them for this update on behalf of one of my Customer's in the early nineties, we fitted it back in & what a fabulous job it was. I was instructed that it had to go back after it had covered 1000 miles to be checked over & re-tuned etc. & Dave was there to meet me & we spent the day going over old times while he set the engine up.
The performance of the Rolls engine was phenominal & much better on the MPG fuel wise.
Hope that helps a little
Cheers Phil Bradford


#16 rdmotorsport

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 19:49

I will ask Tim Parnell through Sid Taylor & others who new him from the BRDC if they can provide further info.



Sid told me the last time I was with him in Brum, Alan was the Derby based engine builder who kept a very low profile but I was working in F3000 when Ekblom was around and the team owner albeit with the same name was not our late Derby man.
RIP

Edited by rdmotorsport, 26 September 2011 - 19:50.


#17 MCS

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 21:05

I am currently reading old Autosports - what wonderful therapy: Ian Phillips, Ian Titchmarsh, Robert Fearnall, etc. It certainly makes you realise what utter rubbish we have to suffer these days.

I found this in the Pit and Paddock section of the March 22, 1973 edition:

Alan Smith's four Brands wins

Derby engine builder Alan Smith had a successful weekend at Brands Hatch. Engines prepared by him won the Rothmans 5000 race (Peter Gethin), the Race of Champions (Gethin), the Yellow Pages Atlantic race (Colin Vandervell) and the British Saloon Car round (Frank Gardner).

Incidentally Smith was at Brands on Saturday, making one of his extremely rare appearance at a circuit, to look after his new fuel injected engine which was fitted to Jody Scheckter's Trojan.


Says it all really. Top man.

Edited by MCS, 08 October 2011 - 21:07.