TVR Speed Eight engine

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TVR Speed Eight Engine
Manufacturer TVR
Production 1996 – 2003
Combustion chamber
Configuration V8

The TVR Speed Eight was the name of a normally aspirated V8 car engine designed and manufactured by TVR. The engine was intended to power the TVR Griffith and the TVR Chimaera but delays in its production meant that it powered only the TVR Cerbera and the TVR Tuscan Racer. The reason behind the engine's development and production was that in that particular time Rover was bought by BMW and Peter Wheeler the boss of TVR in that time, feared that BMW would drop the Rover V8 engine used in TVRs since the early 80's, so he contracted car engine designer Al Melling to design a brand-new V8 engine to power the TVR Cerbera as well as an engine that TVR could sell to other car manufacturers.

The engine itself was designed by engine guru Al Melling along with John Ravenscroft and the then boss of TVR Peter Wheeler. Its production codename was "AJP8" (A=Al, J=John, P=Peter), with this naming convention being subsequently used by the Speed Six engine's "AJP6" codename. The Speed Eight featured many aspects found in a racing engine, such as a flat plane crankshaft, a 75-degree Vee angle, a SOHC arrangement operating two valves per cylinder and sequential fuel injection.

There were two versions of the Speed Eight engine, one displacing 4.2L and producing 360 bhp (270 kW), and the other displacing 4.5L and producing 420 bhp (310 kW). Beyond that, a Red Rose conversion was made available that increased output to 440 bhp (330 kW) when using fuel with a minimum octane rating of 97 RON. The Red Rose upgrade included reshaped intake and exhaust ports, higher compression, and an ECU that can be switched between two sets of fueling and ignition maps (for 95 RON and 97 RON fuel, respectively).

The Speed Eight engine has a high specific output for a normally aspirated engine with 83.3 bhp/L for the 4.2L, 93.3 bhp/L for the 4.5L, and 97.7 bhp/L for the Red Rose-specification 4.5L engine. Another notable aspect is the weight of the engine, which is 267 lb (121 kg) dry.

Even though the engine was a strong seller in the Speed Eight Cerbera, TVR dropped it when they stopped production of the Cerbera in 2003. (A special anniversary Cerbera made in 2006 to celebrate the car used the 4.5L version of the engine.) In recent news though, Al Melling is planning to produce a new sports car called the Melling Wildcat which will be powered by an improved 4.7 litre 460 bhp (340 kW) version of the AJP8.