Napier Railton racing car

August 8, 2013 By Mike Lee
Last updated on July 28, 2015

Napier Railton racing car posted on 28 June 2011

Original Napier Railton

On Cummins’ stand at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed (from 1st July) visitors can see a recreation of the famous Napier Railton racing car, one of the few inter-war period racing cars sill running.

The Napier Railton Special is powered by Napier Lion XI gasoline aero engine used in the First World War. The engine has 12 cylinders in three banks of four arranged in a ‘W’ or broad arrow configuration. With a total capacity of 24 litres it has a rated power of 530bhp at 2,350rpm. Using double overhead camshafts it has four valves and two spark plugs per cylinder.

The car was designed by Reid Railton and built by Thomson and Taylor on the Brooklands site. It was first raced in August 1933 by John Cobb and is now based in the Brooklands Museum. It broke the Brooklands outer circuit lap record of 143.44mph in 1935 and set the 24 hour record of 150.6mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1936.

The Cummins Railton project is recreating a dimensionally accurate diesel powered outline replica of the original, with a bang up to date Cummins high speed diesel engine. The ISBe from Cummins is an in-line 6 cylinder engine, with 6.7 litre capacity that is designed and built in the UK. It is normally available up to 300hp for commercial applications with tough duty cycles such as double deck city buses, rigid trucks and military vehicles. Cummins engineers will use their technical know-how to develop over 500hp for this one off project. To date, the chassis is complete and will be on the Cummins stand, with the body work to be added later. The car will incorporate other modern vehicle technologies such as suspension and cooling systems.

Neil Pattison, Automotive Sales Director for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: “When Terry Clarke and his colleague Paul Foulston approached us about this project we saw it as an excellent opportunity to promote diesel power in areas you would not normally associate it with. It allows us to highlight the key product developments that have made our modern diesel into an efficient and ultra clean form of power. Technologies such as advanced combustion with extremely high pressure fuel systems and variable geometry turbo charging will allow us deliver the power demands that will equal those of the original iconic car”.

“Not many people realise that Cummins has a strong history in racing, using it to test the durability of our products from as far back as the 1930s. In fact, the 1931 No. 8 Duesenberg Indianapolis 500 car will be on show at Goodwood to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the event. Built around the same time as the Railton, the No.8 was also driven at Brooklands during a European tour organised by our company founder Clessie Cummins”, added Pattison.

Terry Clarke, the creator of the project said: “We have a number of potential plans for the car once it is complete. We certainly hope to have the completed vehicle ready to run up the hill at Goodwood in 2012. Running it against the original Railton car would also be interesting, however we would need to find an alternative location as the Brooklands track is no longer complete”.