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Air cooled F1 - the Rotorvic V12 engine


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#1 Jeremy Deeley

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 16:25

I am researching the history of the (moderately) well known V12 air cooled two stroke 1.5 litre engine known as the Rotorvic and the car into which it was installed, a maverick Lotus 23, back in 1964/1965. The engine was made up from 6 Ariel Arrow 250cc two stroke engines. The story I have been told is that Colin Chapman allowed one of his friends to take a complete set of bits (minus engine) out of the factory "back door" to build a Lotus 23 and that Chapman/Lotus took an unofficial interest in the development and running of the engine for a while as a possible alternative F1 1.5 litre power plant. This came to nought as the engine was plagued with ignition problems.

The engine has been preserved in the Donington Collection for many years but they have practically no information on it. It was purchased by the Wheatcrofts some years back from the builder of the engine, someone by the name of R V Marchant. The owner of the car was someone called Bill Hill who owned a garage in the Cheshunt area and who drove the car (there are reports of it circulating at Snetterton).

The car raced memorably (on account of its tremendous noise - once heard never forgotten) but not very successfully due to inability to fire consistently on all 12 cylinders.

Does anyone out there have any period recollections of the car or, even better, any links to Bill Hill or R V Marchant or knowledge of their whereabouts, what happened to them or their team. Basically I would be grateful for anything on the engine that could be out there in people's memories, recollections, records, photos, race information, contacts, connections etc..

I can be contacted via this thread or on my day number 020 7367 2809.

Many thanks

Jeremy Deeley

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#2 2F-001

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 16:44

We've certainly discussed this machine here at TNF in the past, but I don't recall what information came to light.
A "Search BB" might yield something.
(Wasn't the chassis reconfigured in more conventially-engined form by an American owner at some point?)

#3 petefenelon

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 20:59

Photo here.
Bigger picture here

#4 bradbury west

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 21:54

Google works.

RL