Many people interested in cars might not have heard of John Tojeiro, but most people interested in cars know of his work. John Tojeiro was an automotive designer and racer who in the early 1950s designed the AC Ace which later was selected by Carroll Shelby as the car that he put a Ford V8 in to create the famous Cobra. Later in the 1950s he was asked to design a sports class race car for a couple of English racers. The result was the Tojeiro Climax Mk. II.
Tojeiro Climax Mk. II
As can be seen by photo above, I saw a Tojeiro Climax Mk. II at the Lime Rock Historic Festival last year. As can be seen the car is a lovely design – certainly it is a classic 1950s sports car design.
Tojeiro was primarily an expert in chassis engineering. He built a number of successful racing cars with the Ecurie Ecosse team, using engines supplied by Jaguar, Buick, Bristol, and Climax. Ecurie Ecosse, which is French for “Team Scotland”, was a well-known racing team from Scotland. The Ecurie Ecosse team was founded in November 1951 by Edinburgh businessman and racing driver David Murray and mechanic Wilkie Wilkinson. Ecurie Ecosse won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1956 and 1957. Ecurie Ecosse’s cars were always distinctive in their Flag Blue Metallic paint.
The Tojeiro Climax Mk. II Has A Look Like A D-Type Jaguar
Despite being a chassis specialist Tojeiro formed the aluminum body into a very smooth design. This is especially noticeable when viewing the car from the rear.
The Climax engine in the Tojeiro had a very humble beginning. It was a 38 hp 1020 cc straight-4 single overhead camshaft engine was designed as the motive unit for a portable service fire pump. This engine was known for its lightness, with a bare weight of 180 pounds. As the engine was designed as a fire engine component which had to have the ability to be quickly placed in service, one unique requirement the Climax engine was the ability to be run at nearly full throttle without a full warm-up. This required careful attention to lubrication and thermal expansion rates of its parts, which translated into the engines legendary durability in rough racing environments. Another feature of this engine was that the intake and exhaust valves were tilted to the same side of the engine where intake and exhaust ports are located. The intake and exhaust ports were located fore and aft of the cylinder bore center, this arrangement allowed intake and exhaust flows to swirl in the same rotational direction in the combustion chamber thus improving the breathing and scavenging of the exhaust flow of the engine.
In 1953 it was adapted for automotive racing as a 1098cc retaining the cast crank 3 main bearing construction of the original engine, but with distributor ignition in place of magneto, an improved camshaft and a higher 9.8:1 compression ratio. With a bore of 2.85 inches and a stroke of 2.625 inches the engine initially produced 71 horsepower.
The 1100cc Coventry Climax Engine
The plain interior of the Tojeiro reflects its racing car design intent.
Space For At Least Two People Were Required For The Sports Car Class
This car was raced in 18 races in 1959, completing 16 races with 4 firsts, 2 seconds, 3 thirds, and never finishing lower than 6th when running. Tojeiro hoped that this car would go into production, but that never happened. Too bad.