BCW History – 2

Notwithstanding the company’s less-than (ahem) sterling reputation, one BCW-badged car (possibly this one), rumored to have been fitted with a supercharged OHC six cylinder (probably from a Jaguar XK-120), set an unofficial speed record at Goodwood in the spring of 1951(6), an event that apparently facilitated–albeit briefly–The BCW’s MG-approved refitment business. There were rumors, too, of a BCW-engineered dual overhead cam head fitted to the xpag engine.* The boys could not maintain their credibility in the tight-knit world of 1950s British sports car racing though. In races, the BCW cars would usually grab the lead and then fail catastrophically. They were often (if not always) disqualified for cheating.(7)

The BCW, Ltd. folded in December 1954 amid bad debts and blown motors, and shortly afterwards the five or six-bay “factory” garage burned mysteriously, according to this rather incongruous caption (8):

Burning Up In East Acton

“The British Coach Works factory, East Acton, recently defunct and in bankruptcy, burned down last night in a conflagration that destroyed several automobiles inside the shop but injured no one. Two pumps were on hand at 3:31 a.m. and their crews got the fire out by 6:30. Chief Fire Officer Sir Frederick Delve said the fire’s cause was under investigation.”

Left: from The Motor, Jan. 13, 1954, p870; right: miscaptioned photo, Evening Sun, Feb. 8, 1955

As the BCW was rather less successful than latter-day performance re-fitters, few records exist, but it is estimated that BCW East Acton-badged cars numbered fewer than 20, and thought that serial numbers started with number 100.(9)

Continued. . . .

*Provenance is known for only two of the four  surviving DOHC XPAG engines. The BCW / Mike Costin effort may be known today as the mysterious “Puma” engine Moss Motors’ Lawrie Alexander unearthed in the early 1980s. (“The T-Series Twin Cams” by Kevin Clemens)

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