Gleniffer marine engines quietly built up a world-wide reputation for themselves during the 1930s with their successful 60-160bhp DC range of engines. They were particularly popular where sturdy reliability came first and were to be found in a variety of smaller craft such as tugs, small ferries, life- boats, fishing craft and pleasure cruisers.
The company's roots went back to the founding of Scott Engines in 1908 on the Gleniffer works site in Glasgow. In 1912 the company was purchased by the brothers Angus and Colin Macmillan and the company name changed to Gleniffer Motors Ltd. The works were moved to Anniesland (also in Glasgow).
The Macmillan brother were first-rate engineers/designers and responsible for the initial successful series of world-class engines - the DCs. These were put into production in 1929 (sales starting in 1930) in 3, 4. 6 and 8 in-line cylinder forms, with a bore of 6in and a stroke of 7in. The model DC developed 15 or 20bhp per cylinder in a naturally aspirated form for respective crankshaft speeds of 700 and 900rpm.
In 1933 Gleniffer ceased making their older petrol and petrol/paraffin engines and. while continuing with the inline DC engines, introduced their first marine diesel 12 and 16 cylinder vee-form engines. The vee-12 cylinder developed 240bhp at 900rpm and the vee-16 320bhp.
However, demand for power sources of this size were limited at that time and Gleniffer were never happy with the articulated connecting rods and under slung camshafts featured in these engines - they were never favored thereafter. A discovery of one these engines today would be a very rare occurrence (possibly unique?).
Gleniffer retrenched with their smaller engines and concentrated more effort on their DB series (first introduced in 1932) . These engines adopted many of the old DC features into a smaller 4.75in bore by 6in stroke, developing 12bhp per cylinder. The DB series had a 'wet' sump (unlike the DC) and was built in 2. 3, 4 and 6-cylinder models.
The DC engines continued in production alongside the DB series until 1952. when they were replaced by the DH series (first introduced in 1951), which incorporated the same bore/stroke (6/7in) and power per cylinder in an improved design of 3. 4, 6 and 8-cylinder engines. Exhaust turbo-charging to the 6 and 8 versions raised their individual cylinder output to 25bhp.