By Clifford Webb Midland Industrial Correspondent
British Leyland plans to introduce the first of its advanced new family of aluminium car engines much earlier than expected. It is understood that aluminium foundry companies are being asked to tender for cylinder head castings for a new engine due out next year.
Orders worth £2.5m have been placed with Renault’s machine tool division for automated plant capable of machining these castings in large numbers. In addition to having outside suppliers British Leyland plans to build its own aluminium foundry. In May, when he announced investment of some £400m to £500m over the next five years, Lord Stokes, chairman of BLMC, said that a large part of the spending devoted to the special products division would go on foundry facilities, including a new aluminium foundry to work for a new car engine programme.
The British company is in need of new engines, particularly for the Austin-Morris volume car division. Most of the engines used in the Morris Marina and Austin Allegro, the two family saloons which spearhead the company’s hopes in the ” C”‘ class sector which accounts for 60 per cent of the market, are designs which are more than 15 years old.
The successor to the Mini, which is believed to be due out in 1975, is being built around an entirely new lightweight engine.