TWO COSWORTHS AND AN OFFY
Three engines – the Offy, plus Cosworth’s DFV and DFX –
helped revolutionize the way racecars are designed.
What can make wealthy, highly competitive
men, those accustomed to tailor-made lives,
abandon exclusivity in favor of something
that’s readily available to the masses?
In Formula 1, it was the Cosworth DFV.
In Indy car, it was the Offenhauser engine,
followed by its successor, Cosworth’s DFX.
Pay your money, bolt it in and, with a good
driver and crew chief, the wins would flow. Skip
the expense and heartaches of producing
your own engine, wire the funds, and prepare
for racing immortality. Not only was that a
reasonable sales pitch for what Offenhauser
and Cosworth had to offer, it also spoke to a
new reality both brought to bear.
In the free-wheeling ’50s, when creativity
and choice ruled racing, entire Indy 500
fields were filled with Offys. The DFX came
close in ’ 83, powering 32 out of 33 cars. Of
the 96 “500s” run, 38 percent were won by
either an Offy or DFX. Both proved too
tough to beat and too common to ignore.
(BELOW LEFT) “Father
of the DFV,” a youthful
looking Keith Duckworth
(second from left) with
members of the original
Cosworth design team.
(BELOW) The final
Formula 1 World
for the DFV: Michele
Alboreto and Tyrrell at
the 1983 Detroit GP.
Mike Costin and Keith Duckworth, the
brilliant minds who formed Cosworth, chose
a simple name for their most famous
creation in 1967. In retrospect, had they
known the legacy it would forge — to
become the winningest engine in Formula 1
history, the British duo surely would have
done better than “Double Four Valve.”
The 3-liter, V8 “DFV” became
synonymous with F1 over a span of four
decades, and if we were to badge the
winner of 155 grand prixs more
accurately, “The Dominator” seems fitting.
Conceived as the first clean-sheet
customer F1 engine for the new 3-liter
formula, the DFV embodied a utilitarian
sense of style in its design. In an age where
manufacturers like Ferrari, BRM and Honda
toyed with – and usually paid the price for
– constant innovation, its ingenuity was best
represented in its lack of over-thinking.
It might just be the
best £ 100,000
($160,000) Ford of
Britain ever spent.
In return for Ford
the “trivial” sum
legendary PR chief
Walter Hayes gave
to Cosworth to
design and build not
only the storied
DFV (BELOW), but a
4-cylinder Formula 2
SERIOUS BANG PER
BUCK FOR FORD
WORDS Marshall Pruett
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