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The Rolls

Tom Adams Boatbuilder



The heart of Miss Canada IV is a Rolls Royce Griffon engine, a 37 litre, V-12, liquid-cooled aero engine designed and built for the war effort.  

Used mainly in Shackleton bombers, the Griffon appeared briefly in the famous British Spitfires at the end of WWII. The engine used by the Wilsons in 1949-1950 was never owned by them, as the Griffon remained on the British State Secrets list and each engine had to be accounted for. Despite people on both sides of the Atlantic knowing exactly where two engines had gone (one was a spare), no Griffon officially left England to power Miss Canada IV. The “Wilson engines” were simply pulled from available inventory for “testing and recertification”.   

This monster along with its gear box weighs approximately 3,000 pounds.  The engine’s shear mass has presented a challenge positioning it below decks.  The forward/aft placement is critical to the performance of the boat; too much forward weight and the boat will “plough”, while too much weight aft will cause it to “porpoise”.  After all the theoretical engineering, it was found that the engine could be only be moved forward or aft a total of a ½ inch. 

The Rolls develops 3,000 horse power and runs on 150 octane fuel.  Miss Canada IV’s main fuel tank is located directly aft of the cockpit, with a “saddle bag” tank on either side.  There is also a forward tank that contains a 60% methanol /40% water mix for use at speeds above 100 mph.

The alignment of the Griffon to the propeller shaft is the most critical step in the engine installation process. Once achieved, plumbing and electrical connections, exhaust pipe installations, and finally propeller and safety systems work can proceed.






The Rolls arrives from England




The ID plate




Stern dolly. 




The Rolls is moved into place.




Move her a little to the aft.




How is it going at your end?




She is in.



How many times does the Rolls have to be fit in and removed 
before the final installation?




Mag Switch




ADI Pump





Norm Woods,Harry and Ernie discuss the dash board layout.




Tom with the cut-out for the gear box.




Tom's jig to check the prop shaft alignment.




Norm engineering the critical prop shaft alignment.




The exhaust pipe running down the side of the cock pit from the engine.




The original air box.




Its been a long day.



Jamie Smith, Harry Wilson, Mark Wretham and Tom Adams (L to R)





MCIV is moved for the engine installation.






Bow dolly.




Dave Young, Tom, Mark and Norm lower the engine (L to R).




An inch at a time.




If I can just squeeze the gear box in!




Mark working on the manifold.




Gauge collection




Rolls Royce Tach




Tom, Jamie and Ernie Wilson inspect new castings for mounting the engine.





The whole team weighs in.




Fitting the gear box.





The shaft log.



Norm inserting the exhaust pipe.




Both exhaust pipes fitted.




The air box reworked and fitted up.