Cummins Darlington is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
The United Kingdom-based company said it has built about 1.5 million engines for customers worldwide, powering boats and land-based vehicles, since the factory opened.
Work began in 1963 on the 8.5 million-pound plant (nearly $13 million at current exchange rates). Engine production began in 1965. At that time Cummins Darlington had more than 400 employees on site.
The production line assembled Cummins’ range of Small Vee V6 and V8 engines, named Val and Vale. With capacities of 352 and 504 cubic inches (5.7 and 8.3 liters) they had a capability of as much as 150 hp (111 kW), which was suitable for a range of boats at the time.
In 1986 a major upgrade saw production move to the B Series engine. The 5.9-liter displacement was the forerunner of the 6.7-liter unit produced today — the QSB6.7.
“The Small Vee was an evolutionary design at the time, with some of the key features of the original engine carrying on into current products — such as an efficient high-pressure fuel system, cylinder heads with four valves per cylinder, a rear gear train configuration, a high power-to-weight ratio and major components with the latest materials designed for durability and reliability,” business development manager Michel Kozulic said in a statement.
The Darlington factory now employs more than 800 people and has a dedicated marine engine area onsite.