Aero engine, Renault , V8, type A52, 85hp, metal, made by Wolseley Motors, Birmingham, England, 1915
The 90 degree V8 engine became an early standard for aviation use alongside the other standards, the rotary radial, the radial and the upright inline four. The Moteurs Louis Renault Cie chose the 90 degree V8 as their preferred standard and improved on this basis with continual modifications and upgrading. Although the engines were unspectacular performers they were relaible. As one of the earliest mass producers of aero engines the Moteurs Louis Renault Cie products were copied by others. Most notable amongst the aero engines that used the Renault V8 as the basis was the Royal Aircraft Factory type 1A, better known as the RAF1A. Produced in 1913 it used larger cylinders than the Renault and with other modifications it produced 92hp at 1,600 rpm. The RAF1B, introduced in 1915, was a larger version again giving 115hp at 1,800 rpm. By the production of the RAF1E the engine was producing 150hp. The Renault V8 and the RAF V8 were produced in large numbers and used in a variety of aircraft during World War 1.
During World War 1 some automobile makers turned their production facilities over to the licence manufacture of aero engines. Automobile manufacturers of the Renault and RAF1A and B engines include Wolseley, Rolls Royce, Brazil Straker, Standard, Star, Swift, Daimler, Austin, Lanchester and Siddeley-Deasy. The technology of aero engine development and production transferred to the motorcar industry thereby.
One of 304 Renault type WS, 80 hp, 8-cylinder Vee engines manufactured under licence by Wolseley Motors Ltd. of Birmingham, England from August 1914 until December 1918. The addition of the cooling fan identifies this engine as a 'pusher' type having the propeller at the rear. This type was typically fitted to the Maurice Farman 'Longhorn' and 'Shorthorn' training aircraft.
The Wolseley Tool and Motor Car Company Ltd. began the design and manufacture of aero engines in 1907. Their first product was a 30 hp 4 cylinder in-line engine, completed in 1908 but proved to be underpowered. The next product was a water-cooled 8 cylinder 90 degree Vee engine rated at 50 hp with a geared propeller drive. There is some indication that an air cooled version may have been produced.
During the First World War the Wolseley Motors Ltd, as it had become, manufactured under licence several aero engines; the Renault, the Hispano-Suiza and the air cooled engines designed by the Royal Aircraft Establishment. These latter engines owed aspects of their design on the 80 hp Renault V8. At the end of the First World War the production of aero engines by Wolseley ceased. However, in 1931, when owned by Sir William Morris (Bart.), Wolseley Motors (1927) Ltd. initiated a subsidiary company, Wolseley Aero Engines Ltd, which began the design and production of small radial aero engines. This company was registered in 1935. In 1942 after organisational name changes the 'Aero' name was dropped leaving Nuffield Mechanisations Ltd.
The Renault car company completed its first aero engine, an air-cooled 90 degree V8, in 1908. This first engine produced 35 hp at 1,400 rpm. The following year they introduced their uprated version which gave 55 hp at 1,600 rpm. They continued to uprate the engine until it was producing 70 hp and then 80 hp. Although the engines were heavy and required overhauls every 50-70 hours they were very reliable and many were produced in France and under licence in England. They also formed the basis for the Royal Aircraft Factory engine, the RAF.1A
The engine serial number A52/2014 was produced in 1915 at the Wolseley Motors Ltd factory at Birmingham. Its history of use is unknown at this stage but postWorld War 1 it was acquired by Sir Henry Barraclough, Professor of Mechanical engineering at the University of Sydney, along with other surplus aero engines from the English Ministry of Munitions to serve as a teaching collection for the School of mechanical engineering at the University.
In the 1940s, as space at the University was required for the training of military engineers, the collection of aero engines was delivered to the Museum on loan. In 1983 this loan was converted to a donation by the University of Sydney.