Tony Matthews on the Ilmor 265A Indy engine

Motor City Garage is proud to present its latest stunning cutaway by Tony Matthews, the Ilmor 265A IndyCar engine.

The first successful Indy engine designed and built from scratch for that purpose in decades, the Ilmor shook the firmament of American racing, and both the Chevrolet division of General Motors and motorsports megalith Roger Penske threw all their weight behind the effort. This first Ilmor V8 was a technical departure, too: In the rendering, note the timing gears at the rear of the engine and other fresh details. Here’s Tony.  


The Ilmor Chevrolet 265A

by Tony Matthews

I first met Paul Morgan when I persuaded Cosworth Engineering to let me do a cutaway of the Cosworth DFX engine.  (This was Cosworth’s turbocharged Indy version of the original DFV F1 engine–ed.)  I had long been interested in the IndyCar and CART scene, the influx of British constructors, and the adoption by some teams of the DFX prompted me to act. It was a fleeting meeting with Paul, but he was interested in illustration and he was helpful.

I next met Paul in the Penske garage in Gasoline Alley at Indianapolis in 1983, when he was with Keith Duckworth, who was vociferously stating his belief to Roger Penske that purpose-built racing engines were the only way to go, and not modified production engines.

Soon after this, I heard that Paul and Mario Ilien had left Cosworth to start their own company, Ilmor,  and I called to offer my help in any way possible, not expecting anything to transpire.  But within a couple of weeks I got a call to prepare an “artist’s impression” of their first engine for a press launch in the USA in October 1984. To my delight, I was then commissioned to do a cutaway of the engine that would become known as the Chevrolet 265A.

This cutaway was done in ink line, but sometime after, Paul suggested that it would be nice to have a colour version. This was quite a challenge, as I knew it would have to be airbrushed, and I had very little experience with this technique. I wasn’t encouraged by Mario’s remark , ”What is the point? Everything is just metal-coloured!”

I presented the finished artwork to Paul and Mario at Ilmor Engineering, the very smart factory they had built in Brixworth, Northamptonshire, UK. Paul was obviously delighted, in his usual laid-back way, and Mario did a very subtle double-take, which was gratifying.

The cutaway shows the engine in its earliest form, with mechanical fuel injection, later replaced with a new plenum chamber and full electronic fuel injection. The cutaway was then modified to show the changes.

+   Text and images copyright Tony Matthews, all rights reserved. Used by permission. If you haven’t studied them yet, be sure to click over to Tony’s previous cutaways and stories on the Maserati 250F, the Williams FW07 F1 car, and the Honda Accord BTTC racer.


(click on image below to open high-resolution version; click on image again to enlarge it further) 


2 thoughts on “Tony Matthews on the Ilmor 265A Indy engine

  1. Regarding the Indy engine competition between the Ilmor 265A and the Cosworth DFX, you’ve got to love it when the protege (Ilien) shows the master (Duckworth) how it’s done!

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