Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Cosworth Engineering

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Cosworth Engineering, racing car engine designer and manufacturer, of Northampton

1958 Company founded by two friends who met at Lotus - Mike Costin and Keith Duckworth[1]. Duckworth focused on design and Costin on engineering development. The business was set up first in Kensington, then moved to Friern Barnet.

1959 Introduced the Cosworth-Ford FJ engine, based on the Ford Anglia's engine, to Formula Junior

1960 The company moved to larger premises at Edmonton

1962 Costin completed his contract at Lotus and moved to Cosworth

1963 Developed the SCA F2 engine. Racing success achieved especially with the Lotus Cortina.

1964 Acquired greenfield site in Northampton

1965 Formal link set up with Ford[2]

1967 Introduction of new engines for Formula One and Two; Jim Clark won the Dutch grand prix in a DFV-powered Lotus.

1970s General Motors commissioned specialist designs, followed by Mercedes

The Ford V6 1.5 l F1 engine was eventually developed such that it could produce 1000bhp, the most powerful engine the company produced.

1979 Castings plant opened in Worcester

1980 Acquired by United Engineering Industries[3]. Duckworth retired.

1985 Site at Wellingborough opened

1986 Cosworth Research and Development of Worcester gained a Queen's Award for a process for high integrity aluminium alloy castings[4]

1988 500 employees; had made V8 engines for half of the cars on the starting grid of the Brazilian Grand Prix at Northampton; developed a 2l engine for the Ford Sierra RS Cosworth with production at Wellingborough, and a 16 valve engine for Mercedes[5]

1988 Duckworth retired

1989 Carlton acquired UEI

1990 Carlton sold Cosworth to Vickers[6]

1998 Audi buy the company from Vickers and trades as Cosworth Technology

2004 New manufacturing site at Wellingborough opens for cast iron machining

2005 Audi sells the company to MAHLE and it then trades as MAHLE Powertrain

2010 New cylinder head assembly line installed in Northampton

2015 See Company web site


1967 The V8 Cosworth–Ford DFV (double four valve) engine was important for British motor racing, as Coventry Climax had announced it would no longer produce racing engines. Jim Clark won the Dutch grand prix in a DFV-powered Lotus in 1967. The DFV and its derivatives went on to dominate F1 racing until 1983. It was also used in formula two, three, and junior races with considerable success, and DFV-engined cars won the Le Mans twenty-four-hour race and several American speedway races. The key to the engine's success lay in Duckworth's precision in the use of a narrow angle, four-valve-per-cylinder, twin overhead camshaft cylinder head layout, which other firms had to acquire or develop themselves to remain competitive. Based on an off-the-shelf engine, it was sold to independent firms such as Brabham, Tyrrell, McLaren, Hesketh, and Wolf.

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Times, January 27, 1996
  2. The Times, December 23, 2005
  3. The Times, Oct 17, 1980
  4. The Times, April 21, 1986
  5. The Times, April 02, 1988
  6. The Times, March 28, 1990
  • Biography of Keith Duckworth, ODNB