Rover V8 History

Malcolm

Supporter
Saw one the other day fitted into a miata. Very neat. Used on ein my first car project, a Dax Cobra. Still quite expensive to get big BHP compared to US lumps although it can be done.
 

Jeff Young

GT40s Supporter
Yes and no.

If you mean just total max power, yeah, you can get more out of a Chevy/Ford/Mopar big block for smaller dollars and even out of a small block for a bit more money.

BUT...to go all alumininum and keep the weight down on an American V8 gets pricey. You can easily spend $8 to 10k building a small block ally 302, or 350 or Mopar 340 that still weighs more than the Rover V8 and might make 500 horse.

A 5.0 liter Rover V8 with Wildcat heads and a good induction system will make 450 hp and probably cost in the $6k range.

For power to weight, I think the Rover V8 remains competitive.
 
The Engine also has quite a racing history

Four world titles for the single-camshaft 16-valve
In 1966, the Repco engine was good enough to score 3 poles for Jack Brabham. In his one-off BT19, it helped him get 4 consecutive wins and both titles in the 9 races long season, a unique accomplishment for a driver and constructor. This was his third title.

They also made a DOHC 32 Valve Engine

Repco - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



repco.jpg
 
Interesting artical but remember it was written in Autocar issue November 20, 1976 It so it does not mention the development of the 3.9L followed by the cross bolted 4 and 4.5L production versions.
Also not covered the versions made for TVR
 

Ian Anderson

Lifetime Supporter
Supporter
Yes and no.

If you mean just total max power, yeah, you can get more out of a Chevy/Ford/Mopar big block for smaller dollars and even out of a small block for a bit more money.

BUT...to go all alumininum and keep the weight down on an American V8 gets pricey. You can easily spend $8 to 10k building a small block ally 302, or 350 or Mopar 340 that still weighs more than the Rover V8 and might make 500 horse.

A 5.0 liter Rover V8 with Wildcat heads and a good induction system will make 450 hp and probably cost in the $6k range.

For power to weight, I think the Rover V8 remains competitive.
Jeff
At present your $6k would be £4k
At £4k you could not get anywhere near that power out of a Rover based engine

At £4k you may get 270 - 330hp but I would wonder about the quality of the parts used.

Ian
 
Jeff
At present your $6k would be £4k
At £4k you could not get anywhere near that power out of a Rover based engine

At £4k you may get 270 - 330hp but I would wonder about the quality of the parts used.
This was what I figured and the reason I discounted the Rover V8 as an option. Sure its (very) light but its also very underpowered as stock. The higher power 'standard' ones (ie tvr etc) s/h still go for a fair bit of money and if you're talking about splashing 4k on a s/h engine for only 270-330hp you suddenly realise that the Ford Racing 302 SBF real steel sells for £4185 with ~340hp is a pretty good deal especially as its rather more 'authentic' than the RV8...
 

Jeff Young

GT40s Supporter
I'd have to disagree.

Blocks here in the US are cheap. Figure a couple hundred for something you can punch out to 5.0. The Rover trumpeted induction system isn't bad and you can pick up one up cheap on eBay. Figure another couple hundred.

Pistons? Maybe $1k.

Your biggest expense will be the Wildcat heads and i agree that is where you start to push spend dollars. I think they run $4k new, but show up used sometimes in eBay for half that.

A 5.0 with a standalone computer (Megasquirt is cheap0 and Wildcat heads -- which solve the biggest problem with the Rover V8 -- gets you close to 450 hp at just over 300 lbs.

From Wildcat's site:

The stage 2 Wildcat has flowed over 150cfm, and helps a 51tr Rover to just under 450bhp. Add electronic fuel injection which will smooth the engine still further and make it more efficient. Heads are complete to include aluminium valve covers, roller rockers, and all valve gear.

I think the Rover V8 is more cost effective than you think, if you plan carefully and do some of the parts acquisition and bolting together yourself.
 

Ron Earp

Admin
The stage 2 Wildcat has flowed over 150cfm, and helps a 51tr Rover to just under 450bhp. A.
That doesn't seem like nearly enough flow for 450hp out of a 5L engine, any 5L engine. Seems to me you'd need a big cam and north of 200 cfm at 6500 to 7000 RPM to pull 450 hp from a 5L engine, but I am just estimating and doing no calculations.
 

Russ Noble

GT40s Supporter
Lifetime Supporter
I think Rons right, and a crank that will take the revs at 5 litre displacement is not cheap. I think the 450 hp Wilcats are pretty much full race with everything that that entails. Anything over 300 hp in a Rover engine gets into big dollars. That was one of the major reasons I ditched my 5 litre TR7V8 for a GT40
 

Ian Anderson

Lifetime Supporter
Supporter
My 3.9 rover / Morgan JE modified engine has bills for about £9000 or about $14500 and it turns out 256hp but a really good torque curve - flat so it pulls at any revs It is a pig at low revs - less than 2000 at low throttle due to the radical cam!

If you can get 450hp reliably of ut of a Rover engine for $6000 k you are in the wrong business and should be building and selling them!

Ian
 
My 3.9 rover / Morgan JE modified engine has bills for about £9000 or about $14500 and it turns out 256hp but a really good torque curve - flat so it pulls at any revs
Ouch. That's a lot of cash for 'only' 256hp.

That is why I went for a stock 1UZ-FE engine, sure its 'only' got 260hp but it's cheap and should be good for many miles. Probably cost even more than the RV8 to tune if I *do* want more power though. :cry:
 

Malcolm

Supporter
I am with you Ian on the UK prices. The UK sucks on prices on this sort of thing. As Jeff has a TR he spends all spare time under the car keeping it alive so not really checking out UK prices :)

The good thing about putting one of these in a Miata/MX5 is that they weigh less than the OEM 1.8 engine. Jeff is certainly right about weight on these v8s being a good benefit though.
 

Jeff Young

GT40s Supporter
Not trying to argue with you guys but that is tough to believe.

I am making 220ish crank hp with a 3.5, with 8.6:1 compression, and STOCK cam, STOCK flapper AFM, and using the much maligned "Federal" plenum and intake manifold. Just simple bolt ons -- cam, the later trumpeted induction and 10:1 compression should get me to 300 hp. Cost on my build including a lot of development work was $7k.

Give me 5 liters, and better heads and I think 400+ is certainly very possible.

I think Rons right, and a crank that will take the revs at 5 litre displacement is not cheap. I think the 450 hp Wilcats are pretty much full race with everything that that entails. Anything over 300 hp in a Rover engine gets into big dollars. That was one of the major reasons I ditched my 5 litre TR7V8 for a GT40
 

Malcolm

Supporter
US to UK prices is always at least just switching currency symbol, and then depending, adding some more! Thats why its cheaper to race in the States. No envy of course......:-(
 

Jeff Young

GT40s Supporter
Just the VAT adds a ton of cost to the parts.....

US suppliers of Rover V8 stuff (and there are several) seem to run about 1/2 to 2/3 of the cost of equivalent stuff from the UK -- did some checking last night. Maybe that is the reason for the disagreement on cost.

Still don't get the power issue though. Hell, a late model 4.6 in a Range Rover, tuned for torque, made 300 hp crank. Just a more aggressive tune coupled with some exhaust work should get you 350.
 
My experience is more in line with Ian's; I had JE Engineering build me up a 4.3 L RV8 engine (bored/stroked), 1/2 race cam, larger valves and uprated valvetrain, ported and polished with 4x2 Dellortos. Was dyno'd with 280 hp at crank but wide torque curve; 200 ft-lbs @ 1500rpm with 299 max at 4K. Cost me 4.5K pounds 15 years ago, so not cheap per hp but I was obsessed with making a lightweight 40. Turned out almost exactly 1000kg curb weight.
 

Russ Noble

GT40s Supporter
Lifetime Supporter
A 5.0 liter Rover V8 with Wildcat heads and a good induction system will make 450 hp and probably cost in the $6k range.
Maybe, but I would be interested to see how long it lasts! Everything below the head gaskets would become suspect.

The problem is the blocks and the bottom end. The two bolt blocks suffer from cap walk even with ARP studs. The four bolt blocks are prone to pulling the rear main out of the block even at standard power levels! As for the rotating assy....?

Have a look at what Repco had to do to the blocks and they still wouldn’t hang together over 400hp.

“For the 1968 season, the Repco engine was fitted with new four-valve, dual overhead camshaft heads. This made the engine roughly as powerful as the Cosworth DFV, but proved to be too much for the stock block, which broke on many occasions.” Quoted from Rover V8 - The Wedge Shop

In 1968 the DFV was producing 410hp…..

In 66 and 67 with 380 hp they were reliable and won both the drivers and manufacturers F1 championships both years. An extra 30 hp obviously broke the camels back....

Some experts will say there is very little to choose in block strength from the 215 Buick through to the latest 4.6s but tend to plump for the SD1 block as being marginally the best.

Maybe thats why Wildcats make blocks as well .....
 
Back in the early 80's Janspeed (remember them?) built up a twin turbo TR8 for LeMans. It produced something like 500bhp but the only way to improve reliability and prevent block flexing was to introduce a crankshaft cradle (or block girdle as it was called). After considerable development work, they finally got some level of reliability and actually managed over 200 mph down Mulsanne straight but still failed to qualify due to long list of non-engine related problems. JE Engineering version of cradle shown
 

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