Kent Engine – Introduction

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    Kim Warner

      Kent Engine

      The Kent Engine was the 4 cylinder replacement to the asthmatic Ford Sidevalve engine which did duty in the Ford Prefect.

      The Kent story started in 1959 and ended with the fitment of the Duratec-E to the 5th generation Fiesta in 2002. This 42 year lifespan is remarkable for any engine, and makes the Kent the longest running and most influential Engine of Ford UK and Ford SA, in fact it is still in limited production in Brazil.

      This series of engines was named the Kent because Alan Worthers the company’s Executive Engineer of Power Units lived across the river from the Dagenham plant in the county of Kent.

      The original OHV 3 main bearing Kent engine appeared in the Anglia 105E as a 996cc unit developing 29kW at 5000rpm which was unusually high at that time, English engines where traditionally “undersquare” (long stroke, small bore) as a result of tax being calculated by the area of the bore. These engines were therefore low revving, high torque power plants. The baby Kent on the other hand sported an 80.96mm bore and a 48.41mm stroke making it very “oversquare”.
      By changing the stroke to 65mm the cubic capacity increased to 1339cc and was fitted to the Consul Classic and 72.75mm (1498cc) to the Consul Capri.

      An improvement to 5 main bearings birthed the 1198cc (58.2mm stroke) and 1498cc (63mm stroke), later the Cortina MkI and II engines as well as the base Corsair engine. This engine (with both inlet and exhaust manifolds on the same side of the engine) is now referred to as the “pre-crossflow Kent”.


      In 1969 the Kent was redesigned with the inlet manifold opposite the exhaust manifold henceforth known as the “crossflow Kent”. Various strokes again produced engine capacities of 1098cc, 1298cc and 1599cc. The 1100cc engine powered the base MkI Escorts, the 1300cc engine the Escort Super and the base MkII Cortina. Later the 1600cc was introduced to both the Escort and the Cortina range as well as the new Capri.

      The 1100cc Kent appeared in the Escort MkI lineup

      The 1300cc Kent Powered Escort MkI, II and III’s, Cortina MkII, IV and V’s and Bantam MkI’s

      The 1600cc Kent Powered Escort MkI and II’s, Capri MkI, Cortina MkII, III, IV and V’s, Sierra’s and Sapphires

      The final redesign applicable to South Africa was in with the launch of the 4th generation Fiesta (first generation available in SA) which was equipped with an Endura-E engine which was a modernized Kent featuring a thickened engine block to reduce NVH (Noise Vibration and harshness) and electronic Fuel Injection. These engines in 1400 and 1300 displacements powered the Ford Ka and Fiesta until 2002.


      Internationally no other engine has ever had the impact that this little four has had.
      Lotus built its corporate foundation on Kent Engines as used in the Lotus MkVII and the legendary Lotus Twin Cam used the Kent Block, Crank and Conrods.

      Keith Duckworth and Mike Costin, the co-founders of Cosworth used to be Lotus Development employees and all of Cosworth’s initial products were Kent based, even the late SCA, FVA and legendary BD series engines all used Kent blocks.

      The Kent Crossflow engine was used as the regulation engine in the Formula Ford Series, up until 2010. Since nearly all racing drivers pass through Formula Ford, most racing drivers up to today owe at least some of their experience to the Kent Engine.

      In fact so much so that in October 2009, Ford put the Kent block back into production in order to supply the historic racing community with spares.

      • This topic was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by  Kim Warner.
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