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The Alexander Engineering 7 Port Crossflow Cylinder Head
The first Crossflow Head for the A Series Engine.

The Alexander x-flow head was known in house as 'The Williamson Head'.

Geoff Williamson who is pictured on brochures, and featured further down this page, designed and developed it on his A40 in 58/59 and Alexander's then took it on to market and badged it as their own!

Of all the tuning products manufactured by Alexander Engineering during the 50's and 60's, their 7 port Xflow Alloy cylinder head is probably one of the most sought after and rare. This was originally designed for use on the range of "Conventional" A series powered cars like the Morris Minor or Austin A35, but they were also used on Minis too.

Among the most successful and famous tuners to get impressive results using one of these cylinder heads was Harry Ratcliffe of British Vita Racing & Tuning who claimed "The Alexander was the best Xflow head I used on an A series engine". This is praise indeed in view of the fact that Harry had experience with both the "Works" type Arden or MOWOG eight port heads! Isn't it a shame they never made a large bore version.  

As far as racing Minis were concerned the greatest exponent of this head was the handlebar mustached Mick Claire. Mick was sponsored to go circuit racing by Alexander Engineering from about 1960 through to his retirement in 1966 after a terrible crash. In his early days he used an Alexander Xflow head on a 997 Cooper that he campaigned very successfully over this period. He was even known to beat the "Works" minis on occasion.

Unlike most of the after market cylinder heads developed for the BMC A Series, the Alexander head differed in one major way. The combustion chamber shapes were not just rip off's of the standard BMC design, but were a completely different "wedge" shape to promote full combustion with maximum "Squish area".

These heads were supplied with a range of different manifolds in both steel and alloy, giving various lengths, and carb fittings. The standard fitment was twin HS2's, or H4's, but I also know of installations that have used Weber and Amal setups too.

The manifold featured in these pictures is for a pair of twin H4's.


By 1967 the Alexander head was no longer available, and the Directors of Alexander had become involved in a bit of a finger pointing exercise, strangely directed towards Mini owners. The following letters make very interesting reading.

As you can see the above letters imply that Alexander never sold this head for use on the Mini and never recommended its use on a Mini. A fact that is disapproved by the fact that the advertising material produced by them is available in the Alexander section of the site. I feel the comparative failure of this head was as a direct result of the Mini, but more accurately the development of the large bore A series engines that can all trace their history back to the Cooper S. It was these high performance A Series units that killed off the Alexander head, after all the S engines in standard trim would produce more power than any small bore engine fitted with an Alexander 7 port head.


A review of the Alexander sponsored A40

Mick Clare (Circa 1962)
Early Version of the Alexander 7 Port