Machinist Alf Bachtold began making this engine but needed help to complete it. He formed a loose partnership with pattern maker Clayton Thoms and a designer named Dettrick (first name unknown).

Half-way through the project, the three men disagreed on how they would share profits from engine sales, so the partnership ended. Bachtold bought out the other two and gave the prototype to Thoms.

The prototype has castings from the head down that remained part of the final design. The top end parts were machined by Bachtold from solid metal.

The timing gear cover has the letters T/B cast into it, denoting Thoms and Bachtold. The engine was finished in the mid-1960s. It’s 12″-long, 12″-wide, 14″-high, and weighs 25 lbs.

In 1968, Emile Damotte, Lancer Engineering, Illinois, purchased the patterns and tooling from Bachtold. He completed the patterns and castings for the head, intake and exhaust manifolds, and then he began to sell casting kits through Lancer Engineering.

The Challenger V8 prototype engine.
The Challenger V8 prototype engine.

Exhibit added: August 1, 2011 - Last modified: February 2, 2023

Presented by The Joe Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship