As a kid, when you come face-to-face with icons of the hot-hatch era, engines pulled, ported heads, wild cams, big exhausts, snarling Webers, and so much more, it hooks you. That’s exactly what Michael Kent grew up around when he would hang out in his dad’s shop at a young age. As expected, he caught the bug.
“Seeing the cars going through… I caught the bug,” says Michael Kent of MCCS Engineering in Gotham, England. “I have since kept the passion. Engine building is something I have been involved with from a young age and is one of those things where your experiences and skill set develops, build on build, year on year.”
Michael’s background, outside of spending time in his dad’s car shop, was also enriched by working for Norton Motorcycles building all three of Norton’s engine platforms. When Michael’s dad moved into a larger facility to establish a large, fully equipped machine shop capable of turning out stunning work, Michael saw it as the perfect time to come back to MCCS Engineering and lend a hand.
“I felt the time was right to join the guys full time,” Kent says. “We have shifted focus from solely machining and engineering to machining and engine building, producing high-quality road and race engines. I focus on BMC A and B Series, Ford Kent, Pinto and Duratec for Road, Fast Road and Race trims.”
Specializing in vintage and classic engine platforms, primarily BMC and Ford, MCCS has developed preferred engine packages that are tailored for different applications ranging from road to circuit racing to hill climbs and track days. These packages are extensively tested to ensure customers get what they paid for with proven figures and results.
“All engineering and machining is carried out by MCCS,” he says. “We have a team of four senior machinists and myself. We are currently moving into our rural workshops based on a private farm (Stone Pit Farm), so we’re working out of two shops.”
One of the engine packages Michael recently finished was a 1,330cc BMC A-Series Road Sport engine that will be installed in a Frogeye Sprite.
“This is a good client of ours who specializes in high-quality restoration work and building cars that could all head straight into showrooms,” Kent says. “We are delighted to be able to look after the engine side of things for them. The Road Sport is our ultimate Fast Road package.”
The engine build features a selected 1,275cc engine block that got bored .060˝ over with an 11-stud conversion. Everything was chemically cleaned, thoroughly checked and inspected. The block got fitted with a new crankshaft, new connecting rods, an Omega high-performance piston set, ARP hardware, new cam bearings, new core plugs, King main and rod bearings, a Vernier Duplex timing chain kit, and the engine was balanced.
For the cylinder head and valvetrain in the A-Series engine, MCCS Engineering used a PiperCams285 profile camshaft kit with matched springs and an MCCS Road Sport spec’d large-valve 12G940 cylinder head. The shop also put in new pushrods, Isky cam followers, a Harland Sharp 1.5-ratio roller rocker assembly, new timing and tappet covers, a DSN RetroSport billet oil housing, a Breather rocker cover, a large Impeller water pump, as well as a new clutch, flywheel and ring gear. The build was capped with a 45DCOE Weber carburetor and a Maniflow intake and exhaust manifold.
“With us specializing in BMC A-series builds, we are prepared for and have seen most of the unexpected complications that can arise,” Kent says. “We know the best parts to use and we have essentially limited the amount of possible complications by setting our packages. This build went very smoothly, right the way through.”
This Road Sport BMC A-Series engine is in a Frogeye Sprite that will be set up for street performance and the occasional track day. With a compression ratio of 10.75:1, this engine will allow the Sprite to keep some bottom end tractability with power outputs of 115 hp and nearly equal torque figures.
Engine of the Week is sponsored by PennGrade Motor Oil, Elring – Das Original and Scat Crankshafts. If you have an engine you’d like to highlight in this series, please email Engine Builder Editor, Greg Jones at [email protected].