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Bill Hill, R V Marchant and the Rotorvic V12 (merged)


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#1 Keith Howard

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Posted 26 November 2002 - 17:31

If anyone has news of or contact details for R V Marchant, builder of the Rotorvic engine (constructed from six Ariel Arrow motorcycle engines), and/or Bill Hill, who drove the Lotus 23 to which it was fitted, I'd be most grateful for them. Thanks.

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#2 mickj

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Posted 28 November 2002 - 08:51

Keith
No contact details. But photos of Rotorvic motor and Lotus 23 appear on website Utah Lotus Museum.

#3 Keith Howard

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Posted 28 November 2002 - 09:25

Mick,

Thanks. Yes, the 23 chassis is in the Utah museum and the crazy engine is in the Donington collection. But what of Messrs Marchant and Hill?

#4 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

#5 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?)

#6 petefenelon

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 20:59

Photo here.
Bigger picture here

#7 bradbury west

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 21:54

Google works.

RL

#8 Jeremy Deeley

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 21:54

Message to Keith Howard,

I have by coincidence just opened up a thread on the Rotorvic and have seen your 2002 thread. Did you ever get information on the whereabouts of Messrs Marchant and Hill as that is exactly the information I am seeking.

Regards

Jeremy Deeley

#9 Keith Howard

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 06:54

No, Jeremy, I'm afraid not. I never did track either of them down. Good luck.

#10 ian senior

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 08:09

Probably a fairly obvious thing that you may well have tried, but is it worth approaching this from the motorcycle angle by contacting the Ariel Owner's Club?

Must admit I'm fascinated by this engine.

#11 jo-briggs

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 20:49

I had a long chat with Jeremy Deeley this evening, it, being a small world, someone, who knows someone, who knows Jeremy, knowing I used to work for Lotus Cars in Cheshunt, asked me if I remembered this particular "23"; not only did I remember, but as a 17 year old, I had actually stood beside Ron Marchant in his garage gazing in wonder at the excess of ingenuity that had wrought this particular creation. I never heard it run, it was not the sort of engine you fired up at 10 o'clock at night in Cuffley, a quiet country village in Hertfordshire.

I remember Ron as a charming man, who, I believe, was a draughtsman who worked "Upstairs" at Lotus Cars, exactly what he "draughted" I'm not sure. As he seemed, to this callow youth, positively ancient, I would guess him the have been 55-60 years old, so would be surprised if he were still around. I never heard mention of Bill Hill, but hey, we're talking 43 years ago!

#12 David Beard

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 21:02

Originally posted by jo-briggs
gazing in wonder at the excess of ingenuity that had wrought this particular creation. I


Love it! :clap:

#13 bradbury west

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 16:52

Looking through some copy programmes and race entries for 1962, I came across the Snetterton MRC Scott Brown Memorial meeting on 15.7.62, with a 25 lapper for s/r cars in 3 classes for the Senior Service Trophy, going on notes.

The entries included 2 under Rotorvic Eng

Lola Climax 1098 cc Drvr P Postlethwaite or S Fox, probably Sid Fox

and a Lotus X1 1098cc for W Hill

so they had been involved in racing previously. I suspect that Snett was their local circuit.

Just thought it might add to your info. base.

RL

#14 bradbury west

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 17:18

IIRC there was an article in period on the car in Autosport or Motor Sport. Just the sort of thing the irrepressible John Bolster or dear Jenks would love.

RL

#15 Jeremy Deeley

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 19:30

An article appears in Autosport, February 5 1965 by John Bolster entitled "New sound on the Circuits. A Lotus 23 powered by Ariel Arrow - six of them!". I'll try and post a scan of the article.

#16 Jeremy Deeley

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 23:16

Regarding the request for more information on Ron Marchant, I have spoken to a number of ex Lotus employees from the Cheshunt days and Ron Marchant was a Lotus employee at the time. I was told that he was a designer/draftsman who was in charge of the of the engine shop at the time and that the car was a toy project worked on "out of hours" by a number of Lotus staff at teh time. There is someone called Vic Grimwood who is still alive and who worked on the car, apparently.

#17 Jeremy Deeley

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 23:34

Does anyone know anything of someone called Bill Hill who raced a Lotus XI in sports racing car meetings in 1962 (15 July at Snetterton, The Senior Service Trophy and 22 July at Brands) entered by Rotorvic Engineering, of Hertfordshire (possibly from near somewhere called Cuffley). His name appears as "W Hill" in the race programmes.

In 1964/1965, Bill Hill drove a Lotus 23 with a special V12 Air cooled, two stroke engine made up from 6 Ariel Arrow motorbike engines.. There is a record of the car competing at Brands on 31 October 1965.

Any details of the whereabouts of or any contact details for Bill Hill would be gratefully received.

Jeremy Deeley

#18 Peter Darley

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Posted 12 November 2006 - 20:02

There will be a photo of Ron Marchant in my forthcoming book "Jim Clark - Life at Team Lotus".
Sorry if this sounds like a commercial plug !

#19 hipperson

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 14:02

Can anyone help a friend researching this car...it is unknown to me

http://forums.seloc.....php?tid=102619

Thanks

Michael H

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#20 Antoine Pilette

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 17:00

Michael, I think you need to register on SELOC in order to view the thread :

#21 Mark A

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 19:20

You do need to register.

This is the request.


Lotus 23 Rotorvic V12 - Anyone know its history or have photos?



DO YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THIS CAR? -This magnificent historic Lotus is currently being rebuilt and its owner would like to know more about its history.

If you have photographs of the car in action or can fill in some of its missing history we would love to hear from you.

The car was designed by R.V. Marchant and campaigned by Bill Hill at club events during the mid 1960s. It was noted as being in action at Snetterton in an article by John Bolster written in February 1965.

The V12 two-stroke engine was built out of 6 Ariel Arrows motorbike engines and has been displayed at Donington until recently.

The body has recently been back to the UK from the States and reunited with its original engine

The car can be seen at:
http://www.theclassi...hp?exhibitId=24



#22 bradbury west

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 20:38

There is at least one other thread on TNF adequately covering the Rotorvic

Roger Lund.

#23 Ray Bell

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 23:27

Originally posted by bradbury west
There is at least one other thread on TNF adequately covering the Rotorvic.


With photos of the engine, IIRC...

#24 simon drabble

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Posted 15 December 2006 - 09:07

this was the car the Utah Museum were selling for a couple of years. When I lookied into it I thought the problem with it was that it did nothing in period with this engine and at the end of the day without the engine its just another of many 23b's the same place had a 23C for sale which I am still confused by!

#25 hipperson

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Posted 15 December 2006 - 10:11

I am now aware there is information on here.
How do I find it ?......I have searched under 'Rotorvic'...nothing.

#26 David McKinney

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Posted 15 December 2006 - 11:02

Placing Rotorvic in Search BB under Nostalgia Forum "in the last year" brings up five messages

#27 hipperson

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Posted 15 December 2006 - 12:17

Thanks David.....had a blonde moment placing Rotorvic under User Name

#28 David McKinney

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Posted 15 December 2006 - 12:32

That's OK, Rotorvic :lol:

#29 bradbury west

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Posted 15 December 2006 - 17:36

I have already been in contact with the current owner, based on the other Rotorvic/Marchant threads, sending him copies of race entries and programe covers relating to the Rotorvic or Rotorvic Eng or Mr Marchant, which have come my way, and I know he is making some progress.

Roger Lund.

#30 AJB

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 10:54

Bit of a blast from the past, but unfortunately the website domain www.Utah Lotus Museum.com appears to have been hijacked by some Indonesian entrepreneurs.



#31 Rupertlt1

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Posted 11 July 2022 - 14:42

A photograph with caption: " BILL HILL's Lotus 11 about to be passed by Tony Hegbourne's very quick Lola at Sear." appears in Autosport, 7 September 1962, Page 325. The car is #125 at Snetterton M.R.C. Clubmen's Day, 2 September 1962.

 

Any connection here? Possible Hertfordshire registration (XJH 781)?

 

RGDS RLT


Edited by Rupertlt1, 11 July 2022 - 15:08.


#32 bradbury west

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Posted 11 July 2022 - 15:16

As an extra aid, check through all the relevant period race programmes on E Bay as some vendors are kind enough to display race entry lists. From my own marque research I have seen the Rotorvic entered in a, to me, surprising number of races.
Good luck
Roger Lund

#33 Geoff E

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Posted 11 July 2022 - 15:27

Some photos and a video here https://www.facebook...56768471167272/

 

Also some contributions by descendants of RV Marchant (1920-79) who presumably was the Vic of Rotorvic.



#34 Tim Murray

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Posted 11 July 2022 - 15:57

I’ve now merged all the earlier threads specifically relating to the Rotorvic V12 and the people behind it.

#35 Bloggsworth

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Posted 12 July 2022 - 13:12

Me (as jo-briggs) - I can't remember if, when I saw it, each engine retained its magneto (If they had such), or whether a new ignition system had been created for it. I thought there were two problems, chuntering on the common shaft to the gearbox and balancing the carburettors - But hey! 1964 was a long time ago and we've all passed a lot of water since then...


Edited by Bloggsworth, 12 July 2022 - 13:18.


#36 marksixman

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Posted 12 July 2022 - 16:36

Me (as jo-briggs) - I can't remember if, when I saw it, each engine retained its magneto (If they had such), or whether a new ignition system had been created for it. I thought there were two problems, chuntering on the common shaft to the gearbox and balancing the carburettors - But hey! 1964 was a long time ago and we've all passed a lot of water since then...

Looks to me as though there are two distributors and two coils in the 'box' at the rear of the engine. One distributor belt driven from the crank, the second belt driven from the first, so lots of potential for ignition timing errors ! And six Amal carbs to balance ! 

 

I used to be an engine tuning expert, but I'm not sure I would have wanted to go there !! 



#37 Bloggsworth

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Posted 12 July 2022 - 17:23

Looks to me as though there are two distributors and two coils in the 'box' at the rear of the engine. One distributor belt driven from the crank, the second belt driven from the first, so lots of potential for ignition timing errors ! And six Amal carbs to balance ! 

 

I used to be an engine tuning expert, but I'm not sure I would have wanted to go there !! 

Ah! That explains the timing problems - the slightest chatter induced by engines firing out of sync would upset the timing of individual engines if the disrtriburors were driven by the common output shaft.



#38 Bloggsworth

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Posted 12 July 2022 - 20:44

https://youtu.be/cq8zEycle74?t=4