Case Studies

C106 copper tube

Rolls-Royce engine cylinder blocks

A passion for Rolls-Royce cars and an ambition to perfect the design of cylinder blocks are the twin engines of Kent-based Ameeco Engineering. The company uses C106 copper tubing as part of its Rolls-Royce 20hp cylinder blocks that are now supplied worldwide.

The Rolls-Royce Twenty was produced between 1922 and 1929. Designed by Sir Henry Royce, the car entered the market as a small car successor to the Silver Ghost. Ameeco Engineering manufactures new engine cylinder blocks for this historic vehicle.

“The blocks in the day were made of cast iron,” begins Derek Smith, one of the co-directors of Ameeco. “Ours are too but the thin-walled construction is particularly difficult to make, leading to a documented failure rate of 80% when produced. Of the 20% good ones produced, many are suffering from normal age-related problems coupled with damage throughout the last nearly 100 years.”

This high failure rate represented an opportunity for improvement for Derek, whose own background is in electrical engineering, oil exploration and sonar defence. As one of the founding directors of Ameeco Engineering, he was determined to improve the design while remaining faithful to the appearance of the original engine blocks.

“We have redesigned the blocks to look outwardly identical to the originals but manufactured in a different way,” enthuses Derek. “This has led to a 100% success rate of manufacture.”

“Being cast iron and with crankcase studs going through the cylinder block and cylinder head, the studs needed to be isolated from the water channels, this being achieved by inserting copper tubes securely fixed into tapered holes. These tubes were made of copper 100 years ago and we decided to maintain that design.”

Ameeco Engineering partnered with Columbia Metals to fulfil its design objectives. “We required 7/16” o/d C106 half hard tubing to meet the original specification. It was a natural choice to purchase the copper tubing from Columbia Metals as they have previously supplied nickel plate to us to make bonnet hinges for Rolls-Royce Silver Ghosts.”

Ameeco Engineering’s engineering ability and in-depth knowledge of small horsepower Rolls-Royce engines have ensured that these design changes are now incorporated on all new blocks made for Rolls-Royce 20hp cars.

“The tubes have always worked successfully despite being totally immersed in water and with constantly changing temperatures of between 0oC and 100oC,” concludes Derek. “They have never been known to fail or be the cause of water seepage. In my opinion, led by Sir Henry Royce’s high standards, Rolls-Royce produced the best car in the world which has led to their name being attributed to anything made to the highest standard and quality.”

About Ameeco Engineering
Ameeco Engineering is a manufacturer and supplier of engine cylinder blocks for small horsepower cars. Specialising in cylinder blocks for Rolls-Royce 20hp engines, the company has made significant design improvements to improve water flow and improve engine cooling and mechanical strength. It is now looking at using the same manufacturing methods for the Rolls-Royce 20/25hp and 25/30hp cars and Bentley 3½ litre and 4¼ litre cars.

About C106
C106, also referred to as phosphorus deoxidised copper (DHP), is a grade of copper from which oxygen is removed by the controlled addition of phosphorus during the melting cycle. It is highly suitable for use in copper tubes as it can be readily welded or brazed. Columbia Metals stocks C106 tube in the half hard condition from 3/16” to 3.1/2” o/d. The material is also available in sheet.

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