Weslake - Gurney-Eagle V8

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Original Weslake Large Wooden Casting Patterns V8 - Gurney-Eagle GT40 Cobra Ford | eBay



"Dan Gurney approached Weslake with the idea of building a V8 engine with alloy heads based on the Ford Fairlane 289cid block. He had made sketches of his thoughts on this and took them to show Harry Weslake at Rye in England.

Drawings for the new Cylinder Heads and other special parts were drawn up by Harry and his staff at Rye. Here they designed the now world renowned Gurney Weslake Cylinder head and racing engine components. The heads had the inlet ports inclined at nine degrees as opposed to the standard twenty and were round in shape. The combustion chambers were of the Weslake pattered heart shaped (a Weslake Trademark)

The first Heads were made for testing purposes and cast by Alcoa and tested by John Miller at Dan Gurneys All American Racing in the USA. These were the Mark I type.
Modifications were made following the initial testing and then further heads were made in England of the Mark II type at the Weslake works at Rye. Further testing took place in the USA a feature of this being racing at Riverside in 1965.

In 1966 the Mark III version of the Gurney Weslake head had been developed with alterations to make assembly and maintenance easer to carry out. Further development work brought about the Mark IV version of the Head lighter in weight with narrower rocker covers and an inclined carburettor mounting towards the centre of the engine. These heads were developed for use with the Ford 305 cid engine and enabled Dan to win at Riverside in 1967. More famously these engines were used to power the Ford GT40 to win at Le Mans Twice, first in 1968 and again in 1969.

In 1968 Dan Gurney set up manufacturing of these heads in England to a modified design for passenger road car use. He was hoping for a contract to supply these Cylinder Heads to Ford or Lincoln-Mercury and believing that an order was coming started manufacture of a very large batch of castings. These had the detuned combustion chambers and were of a budget design and also cast in LM8 at the Aeroplane and Motor Foundry. See photos for comparison of some of the differences. These could be machined with different size ports and or valve sizes to the full racing heads and some of the internal passage ways are of differing sizes. In the event no manufactures took up the option to purchase of fit these heads as a standard fitment leaving Dan with an enormous stockpile of Road car cylinder heads. Many of these were converted to as near race car spec as the Gurney factory could make them and fitted to Indy cars. None of these heads were fitted to GT40's at the time. All GT40 Heads were of the William Mills foundry and of the higher grade castings with the Full Race combustion Chambers porting and passage ways. "
 

Keith

Moderator
I don't get that. All the blurb is for the classic Eagle Weslake cylinder heads implying the 4 x Weber set up yet these casting molds are for a dual plane manifold for a single 4 barrel.
 

Keith

Moderator
Ah. Thanks Rick. I was trying to work out how a mass produced 4 x Webber set up would have made economic sense.
 
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