The greatest racing engine of all time. It might be a bold statement, but in the 16 years since its debut on June 4, 1967, the Ford Cosworth DFV has won over 150 grand prizes and helped revolutionize the way Formula 1 cars were designed.
Surprisingly, the DFV was also the first racing engine that its creator, Keith Duckworth, had designed entirely from a blank sheet of paper.
The stats behind the 90-degree 2992cc naturally aspirated V8 make an impressive reading even today. DFV stands for Dual Four-Valve, as the flat-plane crank effectively gives the same setup and firing order of two 16-valve four-cylinder engines.
The block was cast aluminum with drop-in cast iron liners and the two rows of cylinders were staggered to avoid the need for forked connecting rods. To keep the engine gas-tight, with its 11: 1 compression ratio, the cylinder heads were sealed to the block using Cooper mechanical seals – effectively gas-filled steel O-rings.
All four camshafts were gear driven from the front of the engine, it had dry sump lubrication and three oil pumps, two to collect oil from the crankcase and one to pressurize the oil to 85 psi.
There were two water pumps and, mounted between the Vs, a Lucas mechanical fuel injection system with eight throttle bodies topped by eight high-intake trumpets. The ignition system was originally a Lucas Opus (oscillating pickup system) but was quickly abandoned in favor of a capacitive discharge system made by the German firm Walter Scherag.
The first version produced 405 hp at 9,000 rpm and 245 lb-ft at 8,500 rpm, with a rev limit set at 9,500 rpm, but there was more to the DFV than its immense performance and its breathtaking soundtrack.
When Duckworth was commissioned to design the engine in 1966, he made some bold decisions. One of them, after discussions with Colin Chapman at Lotus, was to design the engine as a stressed element forming part of the chassis and supporting the rear gearbox. It would be built as a plug-and-play unit to avoid failure of accessories installed by other parties.
The first car to run with and designed around a DFV was the 1967 Lotus 49, designed by Maurice Phillippe. The 49 was based on a fully loaded unibody aluminum tank, the clean lines of which ended abruptly with a firewall immediately behind the driver. The DFV was bolted to the firewall and the engine and transmission bolted directly to it, using only two plates on the cam covers and two bolts on the crankcase.
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This notice was published: 2021-06-03 11:01:25