After winning the 1967 Dutch Grand Prix upon its debut, powering the brand-new Lotus Type 49 behind the shoulders of Jim Clark, the Cosworth V8 series of 3-litre Formula 1 engines would go on to win no fewer than 155 World Championship-qualifying Grand Prix races.
The 2.65-litre turbocharged Cosworth-Ford DFX sister power unit for Indycar racing also accumulated a stupendous record of success. From 1981 until 1986 it won ten Indianapolis ‘500’ Mile races while powering no fewer than 81 consecutive Indycar-series race victories, totalling no fewer than 153 overall.
And of course DFV endurance-racing variants won the Le Mans 24-Hours twice, plus a number of other World Championship qualifying enduros, and the basic power unit became standard equipment in Formula 3000, powering five Championship winners 1985-92.
Way back in the early ‘80s I fell heir to an early unit, serial ‘DFV 944’. I had been asked by Japanese collector Yoshiyuki Hayashi to find him a significant mid-‘60s Formula 1 car. We found just the car – the third built 1967 green-and-yellow Lotus 49 – just brought back from South African ownership by Michael Lavers, one of the London historic car wheeler-dealers, and offered for sale “as found” for – I think – £25,000.
I went up to see the car and found it in fairly unhappy, but substantially complete, form. It was finished in powder blue as last raced in South Africa by a local driver named Peter Parnell. He had taken over the drive from Team Gunston star John Love, who had previously campaigned it ex-Team Lotus right from the Rand Autumn Trophy of March 30th, 1968, at Kyalami, Johannesburg, through to the Republic Day Trophy at the same circuit on June 6th, 1970.