aero and automotive engines and engineers
(1902 - 1998)
Mervyn Cutler in July 1994 when he was nearing 92. This photograph was taken in the front garden of the superb retirement home near Sidbury in Devon where he lived. He walked 1.8 miles each day (not 1.7 nor 1.9!) and stood bolt upright to the end - I last visited him for lunch on 3rd January 1998. He unexpectedly passed on a few weeks later. [The late] John Densham had first put me in contact with Mervyn.
An full obituary will appear on this page in due course. Sadly, a variety of circumstances prevented one from appearing at the time. He joined Sunbeam in October 1917, working on both the aero-engine and car sides of that business. He soon came under the wing of the chief engineer, Louis Coatalen and was a junior designer on the first car - the red Sunbeam - to reach 200 mph. Before joining Armstrong Siddeley in 1935, he was a designer at Bristol Engines under (Sir) Roy Fedden which he had joined in about late 1930. He was a designer in the aero-engine design office until 1943, where his best known projects were the successful design of the first UK production two-speed supercharger drive, and completion of the C5 (sometimes referred to C7) contra-flow and contra-rotating supercharger for the RAE. He was the right hand man of Dr. Rowell who was the general manager from 1941. He had to accompany [sic - at Sopwith's order from 1942] Dr. Rowell to Board meetings. He came back to the company for a while just after the war on the car side. He was asked back to join the company for a third time by Chapman, with Sopwith's full agreement, to head the technical side of the Sapphire car project when that ran into problems. His last position was technical director of Automotive Products (AP)/Lockheed, where the best known project he oversaw was the mid-60's 4-speed automatic gearbox for the Mini.
Part of the Armstrong Siddeley Design Office, 12th October
1936 (Picture: RRHT Coventry Branch)
Left to right: Clarke; Lombardini; Jones; Kent; Marriman; Cutler; Viale (with pipe); Jones; Tussin
(? vice-versa for Jones and Tussin); unkown; Prior (with cigarette); Bucher ; Bakin; Oakley; Cross
© 1994 (colour photograph), 2000 (text) Richard Hodgson - may not be reproduced in whole or in part without permission
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