Why start to attempt to rebuild a Bristol Hercules?

The Bristol Hercules is a 14-cylinder two-row radial aircraft engine designed by

Sir Roy Fedden and produced by the Bristol Engine Company starting in 1939.

The skill of these designers and engineers who produced these engines should never

be forgotten  and should be seen and heard.

Our aim is to restore a 264 Hercules from a Vickers Varsity to ground running condition

to run along side with a 759, we think that should stimulate the ears of the young   and old.

6 thoughts on “Introduction

  1. I have restored a Bristol Hercules 216 out of the Hastings c2 check youtube search Millsie216 to see it run, there are 2 running in the uk the other is Mikes from Bristol. Please contact me I am sure we can help. Keep up the good work it is hard work but there is nothing like hearing her fire up for the first time.
    Best regard
    Brian Mills

    1. Hi Mike

      Good to see you are keeping an eye on us! , We are well on the way to getting the 264 stripped down, hopefully we should only have 4 cylinders left to remove by the end of this weekend.



  2. Have worked on both engines. 216 (Hastings & Valetta) and 264 (Varsity)

    Cylinder change was a regular “trade test” when seeking promotion.

    The 216 used to suffer from boost surge at Eastleigh in Kenya due to airfields high altitude (>5000′). Our fix was to get the grunge out of the Hobson boost chamber to ensure the capsule was free to operate. Made a significant difference.
    Also local conditions made weak-mixture drop checks impossible to do by the book as the airfield QFE was off the published graph! Best attempt was by running the pair of engines at night and comparing the red tongues in the exhaust and cylinder head temp. The jury rig for the drop could then be moved to the known serviceable engine and drop comparisons taken. Worked OK and red-lined for Lynham to fix later!
    Only once had to consider a cylinder change when some local tribesman got lucky and managed to hit a 233Sqn Valetta on its way down from Aden. The round took some fins off one cylinder and embedded itself in the crankcase. The crankcase was a bit dubious so decided to change the engine.

    Happy days!


  3. Hello,
    I have been stripping Bristol Hercules 216 from a Varsity. It’s in good condition with clean bores. I work at the Gatwick Aviation Museum and I intend to get this engine running.
    May I ask your advice on some matters please?


  4. Hi,
    It was great to meet you guys at Blackbushe. If you drop me an email I can send you through the pics I took with the 1940s raf engineer looking at the engines thoughtfully. It was a great to meet you

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