Anzani was an engine manufacturer founded by the Italian Alessandro Anzani (1877-1956), which produced proprietary engines for aircraft, cars, boats, and motorcycles in factories in Britain, France and Italy.
From his native Italy, Anzani moved to France where he became involved in cycle racing. He moved on to motor cycles and designed and built a record breaking lightweight engine. In 1907 he set up a small workshop in Paris with three staff and while they were building his engines he designed a hydrofoil powered by one of his engines and propellers.
He supplied one of his engines to Enrico Forlanini and developed it further into a three-cylinder, air cooled, radial engine ideal for the new aeroplanes. One of the early engines, the 25hp Anzani W-3 or Fan type, was supplied to Louis Blériot who used it on his successful crossing of the English Channel in 1909.
- Anzani Fan (W-3) 3 cylinders in W-configuration: 3 variants of about 25 hp, 35 hp and 45 hp.
- Anzani Y-type radial with 3 cylinders at 120o
- Anzani 4-cylinder water-cooled V-4, 35 hp at 1,600 rpm
- Anzani 6 6 cylinder two row radial, about 45 hp at 1,300 rpm
- Anzani 10 10 cylinder two row radial, about 100 hp
- Anzani 20 20 cylinder four row radial, about 200 hp
Demand for the engines continued to grow and the original Paris workshop was replaced by a new factory at Courbevoie, Paris, and one in London was also added as well as licensed production by other makers. Another factory at Monza, Italy was added in 1914.
In 1920 Anzani turned to motor racing and built a small car with one of his 750 cc two cylinder engines, air cooled of course, which won several competitions. They also made a 1098cc cyclecar between 1923 and 1924.
Sale of factories
On his 50th birthday in 1927 Anzani decided to sell his factories in Paris and London keeping only the Monza works for sentimental reasons, and managed by Natale Baccanti.
In the UK, British Anzani outsourced the manufacture of their engines to Coventry Ordnance Works Ltd. In the 1920s it was refinanced as British Vulpine Engine Company and then again as British Anzani Engineering Company concentrating on small engines and car and motorcycle powerplants. They supplied AC Cars with the 1496cc side-valve four cylinder (that would become AC's famous 2-litre motor), Frazer-Nash with an 1496cc ohv engine, Morgan Motor Company with a V-twin, and Squire with the R1 twin cam engine. Their most well known products came to be in motorcycles, lawnmowers and outboard engines. Cotton and Greeves motorcycles used Anzani motors.
In later years the company diversified. In the years after World War II the company's main product was the 'Iron Horse'- a two-wheeled pedestrian-controlled ploughing engine and light tractor. In time, four-wheeled versions with the driver sitting on the front of the vehicle were produced. The company became the British Anzani Group, and was trading under that name when it went into liquidation in 1980.
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