Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Rover Gas Turbines

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Part of Rover Co

Rover Gas Turbines Ltd, of Solihull

1950 Rover built the first gas-turbine powered car: Jet One[1] with a T8 gas turbine fitted in a Rover: P4 car.

1953 Private company formed as subsidiary of Rover[2]

G. Searle was appointed managing director, Peter Wilks production director

A new gas turbine was developed that could develop 60 hp - this was called the 1S/60.

1954 Portable gas turbine engine for industrial uses was shown at the British Industries Fair[3]

1956 A second gas turbine car was shown at the London Motor Show, the Rover T3, a 4-wheel drive car with fibreglass body and rear-mounted 2S/100 gas turbine.

1961 A third version of the gas turbine car was shown at the Motor Show, the Rover T4.

1962 Rover T4 gas turbine car was shown at the New York Motor Show.

1963 The Rover-B.R.M. Gas Turbine Car, a joint product of Rover and the Owen Organisation, was shown at the 1963 Motor Show. It was the first gas-turbine car to complete the Le Mans 24 hour race but not as a contestant.

1964 The car was fitted with a regenerative heat exchange to improve fuel efficiency. It was also fitted with multiple nozzles in the turbine so that the driver did not have to keep the turbine powered whilst braking[4] but did not context the Le Mans race because of unexplained hairline cracks of the rotor.

1965 A regenerative heat exchanger was fitted to the Rover B.R.M car (with Rover 2S/150/R engine) entered in the Le Mans 24 hour race[5]. It was the first British car to cross the finish line.

A scaled-down version of the S2 power plant, the Rover 2S/75, was the basis of Rotax's CT2023 unit and Lucas's CR201 unit. The gas generator section of this engine formed the basis of the Rover TJ125 minijet engine

1966 Sales of gas turbines continued for a range of commercial and industrial applications[6]

1967 Rover became part of the Leyland organization.

1967 New direction announced, concentrating on larger gas turbines for commercial vehicles[7]

The company became British Leyland Gas Turbines

1968 Launch of prototype gas turbine-engined lorry by British Leyland Motor Corporation[8]

1968 Launch of the T.J.125 turbo-jet engine [9]

1969 Exhibited the gas turbine powered-lorry

1971 Dr Noel Penny left to set up his own company making gas turbines[10]

1974 The schedule for bringing the truck into production was slowed down[11] because of the need to develop a version of the engine operating at higher temperature, which would need new materials[12]

The Rover/Lucas S2, a twin shaft gas turbine engine, was developed from the famous Rover P6 gas turbine, the engine that almost made it as the world's first automotive gas turbine. The engine was later used as a compressor unit for the Nimrod aircraft and also as an Auxiliary Power Unit in the HS748 aircraft.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, Jul 02, 1971
  2. The Times Sep 03, 1953
  3. The Times, Apr 02, 1954
  4. The Times, Apr 28, 1964
  5. The Engineer 1965/04/23
  6. The Times, Nov 23, 1966
  7. The Times, Aug 05, 1967
  8. The Times, Sep 18, 1968
  9. The Engineer 1968/03/09 p251
  10. The Times, Mar 15, 1972
  11. The Times Feb 14, 1974
  12. The Times, Feb 15, 1974
  • Rover Lucas S2 [1]
  • The "nearly engine", By John Mortimer