Founded in the mid-1950s, Aquaplane first specialised in the manufacture and sale of tuning equipment for Ford and BMC engines from its base in Oulton Broad, Suffolk. Aquaplane's founder, Harmer Copeman, had started racing motorboats on Oulton Broad in 1936 whilst still a student at Loughborough Engineering College. He had immediate success, taking second place in the first heat of the prestigious Daily Mirror Trophy against sixteen of the country's top hydroplane racers. An early indication of his tuning abilities, perhaps, was to be seen from his disqualification by the engine inspectors after the second heat.
The fifties however saw an enormous interest in Specials. Soon their builders were seeking more power and ringing Lowestoft 5416 for a catalogue. Further recognition came in 1957 when Morgan decided to fit their 4/4 Series II Competitions model with 1172 cc. Ford engine equipped with an Aquaplane head and twin SU's as standard.
To stay at the forefront of this market required continuous development and testing, both on the dynamometer and on the road. Aquaplane avoided making exaggerated claims for the extra power obtained but relied on their reputation gained in all forms of motor sport. Although Ford equipment was the mainstay of Aquaplane's business they also manufactured tuning equipment for the A series BMC engine and the Morris Minor series II and 1000.
The extensive range of equipment available from Aquaplane was either manufactured in house at the works at Camps Heath, Oulton, or manufactured for Aquaplane by outside suppliers. The latter included a range of instruments labelled as Aquaplane but manufactured by Smiths with both mechanical and electronic rev-counters and the quaintly named Aquaplane fuel consumption ratemeter, which was actually a vacuum guage.
The Aquaplane lightweight alloy flywheel was manufactured from heat-treated, high tensile alloy in two versions, with steel pressure face insert for road use and a competition version without the insert. To accommodate the increased performance available Aquaplane also manufactured a range of high capacity oil and water pumps and cast alloy oil coolers.
Despite this success, in 1972 Harmer Copeman decided to sell up but even today the business still survives still supplying side valve Ford parts.
They did develop their own alloy A series "Performance" head. When compared to its contemporary the Speedwell Head, it was a definite improvement, with larger valves than the Speedwell GT and a better shape to the chambers. It was however more or less a straight "rip off" of the original BMC / Weslake item.

Aquaplane Twin Carbs & Manifold for an MG Midget

Aquaplane Alloy 'A' SeriesCylinder Head

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