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The Rolls Royce R Aircraft Engine

The Rolls-Royce R was an aircraft racing engine designed mainly by Arthur Rowledge based on the existing Rolls-Royce Buzzard engine, it first ran in April 1929 and a total of only nineteen examples had been produced by 1931 but this was enough to change the course of history. The Schneider Trophy seaplane race was won for the third successive year by the Rolls-Royce R which under the terms of the race meant Great Britain held the trophy for ever more.

Rolls Royce R Racing Aircraft Engine


The Rolls-Royce R went on to hold Air Speed, Land Speed and Water Speed World Records, but most importantly of all, it formed the basis of the design of the Rolls Royce Merlin engine which powered many important allied aircraft in WW2 (Spitfires, Huricanes, Mustangs, Lancasters and warhawks) and undoubtedly empowered the RAF's pilots to victory in the Battle of Britain.

The fuel used contained no petrol, the best mixture proving to be:

  • 30% Benzole
  • 60% Methanol
  • 10% Acetone
  • 4.2 cc of Tetra-ethyl lead per gallon

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