Quaife has a long and illustrious heritage, with an emphasis ongoing motorsport activity across numerous disciplines that helps drive technological improvement and new product development. This involvement also helps us to better understand the specialist requirements of our markets, both domestically and globally. Across the decades Quaife has been fortunate to work with some very famous marques and personalities both in motorsport and the OEM automotive sector. The firm has also made a substantial impact with its own high profile motorsport programs, many of which produced some memorable moments...
RT Quaife Engineering Ltd (Quaife) has a long and illustrious heritage. The business was created in 1965 by Rod Quaife, initially operating from a small workshop near Penshurst in Kent to produce close ratio five-speed gearkits for Norton and Triumph motorcycles. As the business flourished it swiftly relocated to larger premises at Tonbridge while the pedigree of the products at Quaife was being proven with victories at the prestigious Daytona Speedway and the Isle of Man TT.
The new decade heralded bigger markets and challenges for Quaife. Despite ongoing motorcycle market success with the emerging Japanese manufacturers, the decline of the British motorcycle industry coincided with enormous growth in four wheel motorsport. Therefore Quaife diversified into the car sector, successfully transferring its drivetrain expertise and beginning a long association with the Ford marque that continues to this day.
As the 1980’s progressed Quaife relocated to its current a 16 acre site near Sevenoaks, which offered considerably more expansion potential. This proved a shrewd move, enabling the firm to add a range of new purpose designed motorsport transmissions to its product portfolio, including the famous ATB differential. Reliable and effective, it was soon used in a diverse number of applications covering everything from a Maserati road car to Gehard Berger’s Benetton F1 machine.
Attracted by its high profile and liberal technical regulations Rod’s son Michael Quaife entered the British Rallycross Championship to both promote the brand and empower developments at the cutting edge of motorsport…
…that would manifest themselves in 1990’s with the build of a series of fearsomely fast four-wheel drive rallycross Escorts. Developed in conjunction with Gordon Spooner Engineering, the experience gathered was fed directly back into the development of four-wheel drive transmission technology and sequential shift mechanisms at Quaife.
A switch away from the mud of rallycross to circuit racing saw Quaife build a high powered Ford Escort based GT / Thundersaloon race car. This knowledge enabled Quaife to embark on its most ambitious project yet, to build its own V8 powered, four-wheel drive British GT Championship sportstcar contender, designed to act as a developmental test bed for new technologies.
In recent years Quaife has enjoyed OEM supplier status to the world’s major car manufacturers who came seeking the firm’s unique drivetrain expertise to add driving excitement to their niche high performance models. In the last decade Quaife has delivered volume turnkey ATB differential packages to exacting quality standards to Daimler-Chrysler, GM and Ford, most notably on the famous Focus RS model.
With the twin demands of continued growth and in order to house large scale multi-pallet robotic CNC machinery to deliver the capacity for large volume OEM projects, Quaife invested in a new plant at Gillingham in 2006. This modern site offers 23,000 feet of additional production and quality control facilities, enabling Quaife to offer it’s diverse range of high performance drivetrain products to a constantly evolving global market, creating a new chapter in the Quaife heritage story.