On This Day in #F1: 4th June 1967

Brought to you by TheJudge13 chronicler Carlo Biscotto

– 1967: An engineering legend is born

The Cosworth DFV – Dutch Grand Prix debut at Zandvoort Holland


On the 4th of June 1967, the Ford Cosworth DFV engine raced its first race. It was the third race of that season. It started on pole position driven by Graham Hill in a Lotus 49 – half a second clear. The race was won by Hill’s team-mate, Jim Clark, who blitzed the field.  This engine is behind more race wins (155)  world champions (12) and constructors championships (10) than any other engine in the history of Formula 1 .

DFV stands for Double Four Valve and is the product of two inline 4 cylinder twin-cam engines. The Four Valve four cylinder was produced for Formula 2, which followed the highly successful Lotus Ford Cortina that was introduced in 1963 until May of 1966. To form the V8, two of these original engines were put together. Who would have ever thought an engine for a Cortina would be the basis of such a legendary F1 engine?

Colin Chapman of Lotus had approached Keith Duckworth of Cosworth to produce an engine. Duckworth had claimed that they could produce a competitive engine for around £100,000 – quite a small amount compared to the mega costing engines of today although still quite a sum in that era. Keith Duckworth had been a gearbox engineer for Chapman’s Lotus team.

In 1958, Mike Costin  and Keith Duckworth had formed a successful engineering company – Cosworth. Part of each men’s name forming the Cosworth name.

Chapman’s fast revving Coventry climax engines were becoming obsolete as Coventry didn’t want to produce a larger 3 litre engine for the new F1 regulations up from 1.5 litre to 3 litre. Colin Chapman was unsuccessful in getting the funding for the engine from Ford initially.  He then contacted Walter Hayes who arranged a meeting between Colin and Ford again. That meeting was successful, the funding given and the history of a legendary engine was in progress.

Initially, the agreement between Ford, Cosworth and Lotus was binding on all parties, and Ford as the funder had no plans to sell or hire the DFV to any other teams.

moremsportshistoryHowever Walter Hayes known as the “father of the DFV” realized very quickly that the DFV had no real competition: the Ferrari engine was underpowered; theBRM complex and too heavy; the Maserati unreliable; the Honda overweight; while Dan Gurney’s Weslake motor was powerful but unreliable.  Only Brabham’s Repco V8 engine provided a usable combination of power and reliability, but its age and design left little room for further improvement.

Walter Hayes pushed that the engine be sold to other teams. Colin Chapman would no longer have a monopoly on the engine. Pretty soon all the major teams were powered by the Ford Cosworth engine. The winning kept going for almost 15 years.

Cosworth DFV – Funding & Engineering

In 1965, the CSI (FIA) that administered the Formula 1 regulations agreed to raise the series maximum engine capacity from 1.5 litres (92 cu in) to 3.0 litres (183 cu in) from 1966.

Colin Chapman of Lotus had asked Coventry – who produced the Climax engines – about producing a larger engine for the new regulations but their priorities were lay elsewhere and Climax’s powerful and successful partnership with Lotus was broken which left Colin in a quandary for the following year.

He spoke to Keith Duckworth of Cosworth, who told Chapman that a competitive engine could be made with a budget of £100,000. Chapman went out to find the funding for this engine as his team would be unable to compete competitively the following year had they not sourced an engine.

Chapman went to Ford and he was quickly turned down after which he sought the council and help of Walter Hayes – Ford of Britain’s public relations chief.

He organised another meeting between Chapman and Ford, and that meeting proved successful as Lotus commissioned Cosworth to start development of the DFV for the following season. Duckworth, was the man who designed the Cosworth Formula 1 engine, with what proved the most successful engine in the history of the sport.


Chapman’s idea was to reduce the cars weight by using the engine as a stressed part of the chassis attaching it directly to the front monocoque tub. This has been standard in Formula One ever since. In the autumn of 1965 Ford commissioned Cosworth to build two racing engines: a 1.6-litre Formula 2 engine and a 3-litre Formula 1 V8.

Walter Hayes is known as “the father of the DFV” because he proved instrumental in allowing Chapman access to the right people for funding of the design project. As a close friend of Henry Ford II – Hayes could make or break projects within the Ford group. Following it’s successful debut, perhaps of most importance to his legacy was the decision to release the engine to any team that wished to purchase it.

Cosworth DFV (1967-1983)

Right from its very first race the DFV engine was a winner taking its maiden victory at the Dutch GP, care of Jim Clark. The DFV became the new standard of a British designed F1 race engine as it replaced the Coventry Climax.

Cosworth Last GP win

Cosworth Last GP win

Throughout its life, the DFV had many variants. The first being the DFW – a 2.5litre for the Australian and New Zealand Tasman series – it was just a reduced stroke engine.

DFY was introduced in response to the introduction of the turbo-charges enigineds in the late 70’s. A redesigned  cylinder aspect ratio and narrow angle valve setup upped the power to 520hp but this did not reel in the turbo cars at most tracks.

DFZ was an increased capacity engine of 3.5 litres for the introduction of the Jim Clark Cup and Colin Chapman Trophy championships in 1987 essentially an updated version of the final DFY design produced some 560hp some 60% more than the original DFV ! it also raced against 1.5litre turbocharged cars in this series.

Another version was the DFX , this engine won the Indianapolis 500 ten consecutive years from 1978 to 1987, as well as winning all USAC and CART championships between 1977 and 1987. It powered 81 consecutive Indy car victories from 1981 to 1986, and 153 victories total,  DFS, DFL. This engine was modified to a larger capacity of 3,298 cc (201.3 cu in) and evolved into a 3,955 cc (241.3 cu in)

DFV normally aspirated 3.0-litre 90° V8 results:

Formula One Drivers’ Champions (12)
1968 Graham Hill (Team Lotus), 1969 Jackie Stewart (Matra), 1970 Jochen Rindt (Team Lotus), 1971 Jackie Stewart (Tyrrell), 1972 Emerson Fittipaldi (Team Lotus), 1973 Jackie Stewart (Tyrrell), 1974 Emerson Fittipaldi (McLaren), 1976 James Hunt (McLaren), 1978 Mario Andretti (Team Lotus), 1980 Alan Jones (Williams), 1981 Nelson Piquet (Brabham), 1982 Keke Rosberg (Williams)

Formula One Constructors’ Champions (10)
1968 Lotus, 1969 Matra, 1970 Lotus, 1971 Tyrrell, 1972 Lotus, 1973 Lotus, 1974 McLaren, 1978 Lotus, 1980 Williams, 1981 Williams

567 Grands Prix – 176 wins, 139  pole positions, 160 fastest laps and 535 podiums

Le Mans 24 Hours winners (2)
1975 Jacky Ickx/Derek Bell (Mirage), 1980 Jean Rondeau/Jean-Pierre Jaussaud(Rondeau)

4 responses to “On This Day in #F1: 4th June 1967

  1. thanx so very, very much for this piece, Skyguyr33!!
    I had picked up a Sports Car Graphic magazine in 1962 and became an instant F1 fan. a few months later and Jimmy Clark became my hero…
    my first professional race attended was the ’64 Indy 500 where I saw my hero walking the field for 47 laps until his Dunlop blew and destroyed the LR suspension. then I saw him destroy the field in ’65.

    I first got to see Jimmy on a proper race course 🙂 in ’67 at the Canadian GP at Mosport. and yes, he was driving THE most beautiful racecar ever – the Lotus 49 pictured above with the shiny DFV exposed in all of its glory. was powerful for the time, but not yet very driver friendly. exiting the slowest turn onto the long straight (Moss Corner), the engine would chug along for a bit before it hit ~ 6,500 RPM and all hell broke loose – including the rear tires and many painful ears (true glory that will never be forgotten by any in attendance)…

    I feel privileged to have witnessed some of the various iterations of the DFV and the successes of this true icon of our chosen sport.

    having successfully raced a full race rotary ’72 RX-2, and later, my ’69 Titan Mk V FF heavily modified to F-ATL specs at Mosport, I would have SOOO loved to have spun off a few times at Moss Corner while at the wheel of a ’67 Lotus 49/DFV 🙂


  2. Thanks Skyguyr33, a nice article. There are several great books about this engine; I highly recommend “Power to Win” by John Blunsden (a very good look at the entire Cosworth engine line) and “The international Race Engine Directory” edited by Ian Bamsey. A fantastic book about the previous turbo era, with great technical information, is “The 1000 BHP Grand Prix Cars” edited, again, by Ian. All are well worth a read if you are interested in the technical as well as historical side of F1.

  3. “An engineering legend is born”

    You could make a convincing argument that any of the cars that won a drivers or constructors WC with the DFV, would likely have also won them if they were using a Ferrari engine, certainly one from 1970 onwards, and probably also the Alfa. While the DFV was a neat, compact and reliable engine, its success is largely attributable to chassis / aero design of the car.

  4. A well researched and interesting article, Carlo, showing great enthusiasm and well researched.

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