Laurence Pomeroy - Vauxhall


The chief engineer of Vauxhall, F.W. Hodges, was given an extended winter holiday in 1907-08 and during this time Pomeroy was asked by a joint managing director of Vauxhall, Percy Kidner, to redesign one of the existing engines to give more power to allow it to be used in cars competing in the RAC 2000 mile trial of 1908.

To improve his French Pomeroy had been studying a text. Its French author had been stressing the importance of high piston speeds and the necessity of good breathing through large valves and a free-flowing exhaust system. Pomeroy applied these lessons to his new 20 h.p. engine giving it an L-head valve layout.

Output went up from 23.5 bhp @ 1800 rpm (little different from the RAC formula estimate) of Vauxhall's 12-16 to 38 bhp @ 2500 rpm. Vauxhall advertisements were to be amended to read 'buy a 20 hp Vauxhall, pay tax on 20 hp but get near double the horsepower in your car'.

The new cars won several classes in the RAC trial, suffered no involuntary stops and scored best marks overall. Pomeroy was promoted to the post of Works Manager effectively replacing Hodges. Vauxhall was now in the full glare of public interest.

After three years as assistant chief engineer Pomeroy was appointed Works Manager in 1910. By 1914 he was technical director.

In 1913 he was elected a full member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. He was also a member of the Institute of Automobile Engineers and became their president in 1934-35.

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