Rare Coventry Victor petrol engines

Posted by Chris Graham on 9th April 2021

Phillip Scott, from Western Australia, requests help concerning two, recently-acquired Coventry Victor petrol engines.

Coventry Victor petrol engine

Coventry Victor petrol engines: The Coventry Victor AN4/3, serial number 7742, now restored.

Recently, two Coventry Victor, twin-cylinder, air-cooled, horizontally-opposed petrol engines were donated to me. Manufactured by the Coventry Motor Company, the two machine have the serial numbers 7742 AN 4/3 and 7822 AN 4/3, and I’m wondering if anyone can help by dating the pair from these numbers?

I received them from the owner of a water-drilling company who, following a yard clear-up, discovered he had no use for them. He can’t remember when he acquired them or, indeed, what he’d intended to do with them in the first place! So, being surplus to requirements, they had to go but, not wishing to see them scrapped, he offered them to me for restoration/preservation.

Coventry Victor petrol engine

Another view of the same engine.

Both engines are fitted with Lucas impulse magnetos, and each has a 20-litre, oval-shaped fuel tank; these are very similar in design to that fitted to the Ferguson tractor. There are bolt holes in the flywheel for fixing pulleys, generators and pumps, but there was nothing with them when we collected them. There’s a cowling over/around the finned cylinder barrels and heads, which are rounded and not square in shape, like images I’ve seen on YouTube.

I’ve restored engine serial number 7742, and painted it a pleasant shade of blue, which is as near as possible to the original colour. The actual restoration was reasonably straightforward, thanks to all of the parts being present and in good order; it was basically a case of strip, clean and reassemble!

Coventry Victor petrol engine

The engine has a Zenith British-made carburettor with numbers C1484 and ‘G2’ stamped on the body, as well as ‘241-2’ cast into the fuel inlet.

The only problem I did have concerned timing the impulse magneto, which I’d removed to clean the points and, in so doing, neglected to mark the locating plugs. However, a fellow club member came to my rescue, telling me how to identify which cylinder was number one – it’s the one closest to the front of the engine – which turned out to be the cylinder on the left. With top dead centre confirmed on that cylinder, the magneto was wound-up and located in the slots.

Then all that was required was a small amount of petrol to be poured into the carburettor and, with the choke closed and, with the staring handle engaged, a couple of cranks brought the engine bursting into life.

Coventry Victor petrol engine

The flywheel has numerous bolt holes for attachments; a generator or a pump maybe.

Company history
Having done a little online research on the internet, I’ve discovered the following. The Coventry Motor Company was founded by Thomas Morton and William Arthur Weaver in 1904. Several company name changes occurred over the years; for example, it became the Coventry Victor Motor Company in 1911, and several more changes were implemented before it finally closed in 1971. The company was involved in the production of various machines, aircraft, motor cycles, cars, small tractors and small engines (in both petrol and diesel formats).

This illustration was found on the internet; the rounded shape of the cowling is clearly shown.

The AN4 twin-cylinder petrol engine was introduced in 1946, as was the four-cylinder AC4. One company that purchased these engines was Thomas Green & Son of Leeds, for use in its ‘Griffin’ PRR and PRY motorised rollers. Engines built by the Coventry Victor Motor Company proved their reliability in service, resulting in numerous companies using them as the motive power for generators, welders, pumps etc.

The second engine – s/n 7822 – is currently unrestored, and will be offered to fellow club member.

The AC4 cylinder petrol engine was also used for powering aircraft test-trolleys, as found on airfields to power pumping sets and powered hydraulic ramp operations. Further information about the Coventry Motor Company can be found by clicking here

Another view of engine No. 7822.

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