[ROVERNET - UK] Merlins and Meteors

Barry Riseley barry-riseley at trump.net.au
Tue Mar 7 21:38:26 GMT 2006

For what its worth, during the darkest hours of World War 2, when the 
British factories were being well and truly pounded by Herr Hitler, 
it was realised that some insurance of supply of the vital engines 
for aircraft was required.

Accordingly, the "drawings" were sent across the Atlantic, for 
manufacture of the engines in USA factories.

Both Merlins and Meteors were built "offshore".

The interesting (well I think it is anyway) aspect is as follows. 
When the USA factories (Packard was one, but there were a number) 
came to the screw threads, they had to modify the designs to suit SAE 
threads in place of UK  Whitworth system. This caused a number of 
problems  with compatability in service and eventually led to the 
development of the "Unified" thread system in the early years 
following the war.

The Austin A30 is generally accepted as the first UK produced  "fully 
Unified" threaded vehicle, and Rover managed to fend of the change 
until well into the 1960's at least.

There is a Museum in a huge ex WW2 Aircraft hangar near Cairns in far 
North Queensland, Australia, which has a number of Merlin and Meteor 
engines on display. It is uncanny that on a casual glance they all 
look the same, but when you actually stand and study them, subtle 
external differences can be discerned , and that's just from the outside.

Regards to all from deepest Tasmania

Barry R.

At 01:29 AM 8/03/2006, Trevor Colebrook wrote:

>The Merlin name tag is often applied to any V12 Rolls Royce engine, not
>just the aero engine fitted to the Spitfire, Lancaster  etc..  I believe
>the name was first used in a Phantom of the 1930s.
>The V12 engine fitted in tanks and subsequently used in several road cars
>was really a Meteor, a similar engine to the Merlin but lacking the
>These engines were built not just by Rover but also by Ford Motor Company.
>My local engine reconditioning company has such an engine, Ford built,  in
>its reception area
>One of the more (in)famous road cars using the Meteor engine was built in
>the 1970s by Roy Phelps, the Santa Pod promoter. This used a fibreglass
>body, loosley based on a Ford Capri, over a custom chassis. It was
>pictured in the Daily Mail only last week in response to a query about aero
>engined road cars.
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