Blog : Bathgate engine information sought – can you help?

Mike Humble

Bathgate - Leyland's Scottish assembly pant for tractors, trucks and diesel engines.
Bathgate – Leyland’s Scottish assembly plant for tractors, trucks and diesel engines.

Well, as with all things in life, you end up doing a favour for a favour – at the end of the day, that’s what makes us all tick and, indeed, makes life all that little bit sweeter, isn’t it? Anyway, a contact of mine through another good automotive friend is desperately seeking information/first-hand accounts of Leyland engine products relating to activities that once took place in the Bathgate factory in Scotland.

Some of you may know Bathgate was originally home to BMC light to mid-range trucks as well as tractor production. The plant was closed down for many years ago after Leyland Trucks made a last-minute decision to produce the Roadrunner lightweight down at Leyland and the tractor business was duly sold off to Marshall with production going to Gainsborough. Bathgate was also the production base for the 4 and 6/98 Series diesel engine which was fitted into many a generator set, tractor, truck and marine application in both natural and turbocharged form – it’s here more information is sought.

The four and six cylinder "98" series diesel were the beating heart of many Leyland trucks including the Terrier. A high quality diesel version was also produced. Do you have experience to share of these?
The four- and six-cylinder 98 Series diesel engines were the beating heart of many Leyland
trucks including the Boxer, Roadrunner and this Terrier. A high-quality marine version was
also produced and that’s the version which Paul is trying to reach people about.
Did you build them, repair them or use them?

Paul Folston is a retired Engineer and old-school diesel engine guru now residing in a nice corner of the West Country and he’s currently in the process of creating a publication about post war British marine diesel engines. For those not in the know, this is a subject that is fascinating and mind-blowing for anyone with an appetite for the halcyon days of British engineering. It’s also a known fact that the power units for the legendary loco Deltic Type 4 (Napier two-stroke) and High Speed train (Paxman Valenta 12-RP200L) were both directly sourced and developed from an original marine design.

According to experts, the marine versions of the BMC/Leyland 98 Series diesel were quite beautifully engineered. This rather nicely flies in the face of those pundits who considered everything of BMC or BL origin to be sub-standard. Paul is particularly keen to hear from former engineers, assembly workers, end product users or anyone who can share their experience of the BMC/Leyland 98 Series marine engine.

If you or anyone you know had experience of the above at the Bathgate plant, please get in touch with Paul Folston. Any information will be gratefully received and Paul can be contacted via e-mail at the address below:

Mike Humble


  1. The 4/98 was certainly a good tractor engine and JCB expressed interest in taking over joint responsibility for its continued production as the Bathgate engine production facilities closure was announced. As it was, production continued at BMC Sanayi for some time thereafter.

  2. Valenta you say? They are used by the Royal Navy as generators in Type 23 frigates. I’m sure if you go on a forum like Rum Ration you’ll find lots of Stokers happy to talk. Facebook groups too.

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