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Rover Gas Turbines

T 3
T3 rear-engined, 4WD
T 4
T4 front-engined, front WD
LeMan s
Le Mans car, rear-engined, rear WD
Le Man s
- 4wd.sofcom.com/4WD.html

During world war two (WWII), Rover worked on experimental gas-turbines and jet engines. Rolls-Royce became the largest British manufacturer of these new devices after the war, and went on to become a major builder of aircraft jet engines, but Rover kept an interest in automotive gas-turbines.

Rover fitted gas-turbines to a number of experimental and prototype passenger cars. The Science-Museum in London holds the first, ``Jet 1''.

T3 (top right) could have formed the basis of an acceptable production car; it is rear-engined and has four-wheel drive, perhaps to keep a light front-end under control.

The gas-turbine Rover T4 strongly resembles the Rover P6/ Rover 2000/ 3500. The Rover 2000 was fitted with a two litre four cylinder engine in production, and later, as the 3500, with the ever-green 3.5 litre V8, but the story is that the 2000's unusual front suspension is designed to make a wide engine bay so that the gas turbine could have been fitted.

A Rover-BRM gas-turbine coupe was raced at the 1963 LeMans 24 hour race, driven by Graham Hill and Richie Ginther. It averaged 107.8mph and had a top-speed of 142mph down the Mulsanne straight.

It ran again in 1965, averaging 98.8mph fitted with a 126 h.p. Rover gas-turbine. Maximum revs were 60,000! The lower speed in 1965 is attributed to damage to the turbine blades early in the race, limiting power output.

This gas-turbine is fitted with a heat-exchanger to try to improve fuel efficiency which was and remains the main problem with automotive gas-turbines, unless you believe in the conspiracy theories. The race car is now held at the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust (BMIHT).

Stationary Gas-Turbines

Rover gas-turbines were manufactured for a variety of stationary applications. One hoped-for market was in emergency pumps, e.g. in marine use; a gas-turbine is light and can be run quickly up to power.

The example (below) was one of a number built for educational and training purposes, and is connected to a dynamometer and test-rig to measure pressures, temperatures and fuel consumption against revs, torque and power. The fanciful blue/grey trumpet is the air inlet. Air flows down the black "horshoes" to the gas turbine. The compressor is a single centrifugal stage. The high-pressure air is taken up and sideways to the reverse-flow combustion chamber (lower right). The hot exhaust gases pass back down to a single-stage axial-flow turbine mounted on the single shaft or ``spool''. The shaft drives the compressor, and also the external load via reduction gears.

A plate on the combustion chamber casing reports:
Rover 1960, Rover Gas Turbines Ltd., Solihull, England. Manufactured by Rover Gas Turbines Ltd. under licence from the Rover Co. Ltd. under the following British patents and patent applications....

Rover g@s turbine
gas turb ine

Thanks to AJM and LA.

Go to the Rover and Land Rover pages


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