It takes more than sheer power to drive a 5-tonne tractor to exceed 150 mph, but having over 1000 hp and more than 2300 Nm torque plays a very important part! Guy Martin drives record breaking JCB.

We’ve all been there, stuck on a winding country road in a long convoy of cars all following behind a slow-moving farm tractor, with little opportunity to overtake as it trundles along at what seems a snail’s pace, towing its heavily laden trailer of hay bales or similar agricultural produce. Of course, we should never complain about it; these are the guys who toil long and hard to put the food on our plates, although you can’t help thinking that maybe they could occasionally pull over into one of the many lay-bys to let at least some of the tailback drive past… It’s not as if all tractors are badly underpowered. For example, JCB’s Fastrac 8330 – the flagship of its fleet – is powered by a six-cylinder diesel producing 348 hp and 1440 Nm of torque in its standard factory form, but it’s mainly intended for hauling heavy loads in sticky off-road conditions and is limited to a top speed of 70 kph (43 mph) for its occasional road use. Undoubtedly, though, such a powerful machine has the potential to be so much faster and the task facing JCB engineers was not only to show just what a tractor could achieve with regards to top speed, but also to demonstrate new technologies that are driving efficiency, improving performance and reducing emissions.


Celebrating its 30th year, Autosport International, staged at the NEC Birmingham over the four days from January 8-11, brought together an awesome array of trade stands and special displays catering for enthusiasts of all aspects of motorsport.

Subtitled ‘The Racing Car Show’, the event features the very latest in automotive and performance engineering technology, along with the cars, stars and exhibitors from every level of motor racing, from karting to F1. With star drivers in attendance including Jenson Button, Lando Norris, Billy Monger and F1 superstar Charles LeClerc, the public days over the weekend saw a record attendance. Of particular interest to readers of The Engine Rebuilder, we attended the special Trade days which are strictly reserved for trade buyers, suppliers and industry professionals, with many of the relevant attractions highlighted here in our photo-report.


Specialising in performance tuning the various Volkswagen Group models, TSR Performance has a long and distinguished history with the marque that can be traced right back to the Mk1 GTI of the Seventies…

Based on the Stockmoor Park estate in Bridgwater, TSR Performance currently specialises in tuning the Volkswagen Group cars (VW, Audi, SEAT and Skoda) but it had a very different foundation. In the late Seventies, the company’s founder Tim Stiles, a school teacher with an HNC in Engineering, was spending much of his spare time ensconced in his garden shed while indulging his hobby of stage rallying a Mini. By the early Eighties, though, Tim came to realise that he’d need to switch to a Mk1 Golf GTI to become truly competitive, but that was a hugely expensive option and so he built his own, by slotting a fuel-injected 1600 engine into a cheap Golf 1.1 bodyshell. To cover the costs he wrote a series of technical articles for Cars and Car Conversions magazine and his reputation took off, to the degree that he soon turned professional and launched Tim Stiles Racing, later TSR Performance, as a fully fledged business. Tim continued to build the business throughout the following years, soon growing to become one of the pre-eminent VW Group tuning companies in the UK, catering for a wide range of conversions from fast road to race and rally. Amongst its most memorable special projects were several 16V-engined Mk 1 Golfs, a 2.9 VR6 Corrado-engined Mk2 Jetta and a G60-supercharged Polo, as well as a Passat with an Audi RS4 bi-turbo drivetrain.


A visit to The Haynes International Motor Museum revealed an awesome array of classic vehicles of all types, many of them displaying their engines for all to see…

Located just off the A303 at Sparkford in Somerset, The Haynes International Motor Museum houses the UK’s largest collection of cars and motorcycles, including many of the most iconic models from around the world. Featuring over 400 amazing cars and motorbikes, from the dawn of motoring in the late 1800s through nostalgic classics of the 1950s and 1960s, glorious Bentleys and Rolls Royces to world-renowned super cars like the Jaguar XJ220, it currently incorporates 19 individual exhibitions and is very much a ‘Museum in Motion’ with tours, talks and activities for families, children and enthusiasts alike. Of course, the site also houses the workshops where the Haynes Publishing Group produces its famous range of manuals, dismantling the cars and motorcycles and photographing the repair procedures for over 300 models of car and 130 models of motorcycle, as well as other lifestyle themes and even covering subjects as obscure as washing machines and space travel. Well worth visiting on a quiet weekday, as we did on our return journey from Taunton for the TSR Performance trade profile, the museum presents an awesome array of cars on display.


MAHLE Powertrain has produced a highly efficient advanced technology for internal combustion engines, contributing to the development of an optimised, integrated hybrid solution.

At the recent IMechE conference at Fazeley Studios, Birmingham (December 11-12), MAHLE Powertrain presented its joined-up approach to technology development, intended to enable the evolution of highly efficient hybrid powertrain modules. Two papers explained the concept and benefits of MAHLE Jet Ignition® (MJI) and the MAHLE Modular Hybrid Powertrain (MMHP), which made its UK debut at the Internal Combustion Engines and Powertrain Systems for Future Transport event. 

MAHLE’s solution provides a highly modular, off-the-shelf powertrain option that is able to reduce cost and development time for vehicle manufacturers by moving away from traditional, dedicated powertrain development processes.  ‘MMHP could provide a vital time and performance advantage for manufacturers seeking to harness the CO2 reduction of electrified powertrain within a contracted development time-frame,’ explained Mike Bassett, MAHLE Powertrain chief engineer, research, who gave the presentation.


Powered by Scania V8 turbodiesel, the Storebro SB90E provides excellent performance and agility, a worthy plaything for its high-speed owner Richard Noble.

We previously featured the Scania V8 engine in the pages of The Engine Builder (November 2018 issue), celebrating 50 years since it was first introduced to the commercial vehicle sector. Derivatives of the same V8 diesel unit have also been modified for marine use, for both primary propulsion and auxiliary applications such as generators and pump units, with the current range comprising 9.3-litre inline 5-cylinder, 12.7-litre inline 6-cylinder and 16.4-litre V8 engines, with power outputs of up to 1150 hp (846 kW). While many of the applications are rather routine, we recently came across an interesting example of the marine Scania V8 powering a fast response patrol boat that had been initially developed by Swedish yacht designer Storebro Bruks AB. The Storebro SB90E – designated Stridsbåt 90 E by the Swedish Navy Navy, the E being for Enkel (Swedish for single), shortened to Strb 90 E – was later rebranded as the Storebro SRC90E for international military export. It was then exclusively sold as SB90E for the civilian market where it was mostly used either as a medical evacuation vessel, essentially an ambulance boat, or as a maritime ‘fire engine’.

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Our visit to the Haynes International Motor Museum for the photo-report in this issue not only served to reinforce just how incredibly varied the range of engines is, but also raised the question of just how it all began…



An interesting display just inside the entrance of the museum presented a rather eerie premonition. It seems that, as long ago as the early thirteenth century, the Franciscan Friar, Philosopher and Scientist Roger Bacon (c1219-1292) predicted the coming of the motor car more than six hundred and fifty years before its invention when he wrote ‘One day chariots will be constructed which will start and move without the impulsion of man or horse, or any other animal…’ Remember that this was in the Middle Ages, at a time when scientists were regarded more as wizards so, whether that was a genuine vision of the future or a fanciful concept that just happened to come true, it certainly seems almost prescient in its accuracy.


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