One hundred years on, an Adelaide company and club members are building a new kind of compact radial engine.
The Engine has been designed and built in Lonsdale and will go into full production in 2020.
It is being developed for sports (hill climb/track/Road), VW retrofits (bugs and combis), Trikes, off-road buggies and light aircraft.
The company, Bespoke Engineering, has received a grant from the Sir Ross and Sir Keith Smith Fund to develop the engine for use in light aircraft.
“This year, it’s 100 years since the Adelaide-born aviators Ross and Keith Smith made their epic flight from England to Australia, we are privileged that a legacy of this flight is enabling us to develop this engine, employ young Engineers and keep these skills in SA”, says Nick Mebberson, Bespoke Engineering’s managing director.
Unlike the early radial designs, Bespoke’s three-cylinder, 1600cc water-cooled engine uses modern technology and a unique crank that makes it compact, lightweight, elegant, fun and powerful.
“And it’s built to last much longer than the modern auto engine,” says Nick Mebberson. “Today’s engines are disposable after 200,000 kilometers. Ours is easy to work on, tune and repair by the owner.
“This is an example of modern technology and materials combined with classic design. We wanted to build an engine that created endless possibilities of configuration and application. We believe we have done that – there is nothing else like it on the market.”
The engine is now being road tested in a modified 1971 VW Beetle, called the “Zombug”
The Radial engined Zombug will run in the Adelaide Rally 4-7 December Inc the Gouger street party 6 Dec.