With two large factories in the South East of England, Quaife are leaders in the motorsport transmission market and are OEM suppliers to specialist race car builders and multi-national car manufacturers alike.
Between our two factories, we have the facilities to manufacture production runs of steering boxes, steering rack assemblies, gear kits, gearboxes, ATB differentials and much more, from ultra-low volumes of only a few hundred units at a time, up to tens of thousands a year.
Company founder Rod Quaife started out as a toolmaker. Prior to R.T. Quaife Engineering Ltd being established in 1965, he became involved in motorcycle driveline design and engineering through sub contract work alongside the race engineers at AMC (Associated Motor Cycles Ltd). These early days at Quaife were spent manufacturing performance motorcycle gearkits, most notably close ratio 5-speed units for Triumph, BSA and Norton. Quaife also took on subcontracted work from AMC; the makers of Matchless and AJS motorcycles. Quaife gearkits were used to achieve victories in the Daytona Speedway and Isle of Man TT. Here, Paul Smart and Percy Tait are letting rip in 1971 on Quaife equipped Triumph Tridents.
Maserati approached Quaife in the mid to late 80’s to design a limited slip differential for their Biturbo. Iterations of Biturbo had already featured an LSD, but due to reliability concerns, Maserati commissioned Quaife to design a new helical LSD for later versions of their GT car. Referred to by Maserati as the ‘Ranger’ differential, the Quaife designed product was predominantly used in the Maserati Racing (Tipo 331) model, part of the redesigned Maserati 222 family of cars. The Racing featured a 283 bhp, 269 lb. ft, 2.0 24v engine, while a lowered chassis included electric KONI shock absorbers which allowed drivers to adjust the damping on four settings, at the flick of a switch.
An evolution of the Biturbo, Maserati launched the 2nd generation Ghibli at the 62nd Turin Motor Show in April 1992. Initially powered by a 2.0-litre V6 for the Italian market and a 2.8-litre V6 for export, the Ghibli was built for luxury as well as performance. The more powerful Cup model produced 325 bhp and had the highest ever per litre power output of any street legal car at the time, surpassing the Bugatti EB110 and Jaguar XJ220. This generation of Ghibli benefitted from the Quaife designed ‘Ranger’ differential. Reflecting the added power output over the Biturbo that proceeded it, the Ghibli featured an added oil cooler alongside the differential on the vehicle’s rear axle.
Quaife has worked closely with Radical Sportscars since 2001 when the QBA3R Gear Drive System was developed jointly between Quaife and Radical Performance Engines. Since then, other products have been introduced, from the QBE72G 6-Speed Sequential Transmission to the QBE81G 6 & 7-Speed Sequential Transaxle Gearboxes. The Peterborough based firm has been creating top tier track cars since its inception. Radical vehicles are sold worldwide, with one-make race series popping up in Europe, North America, the Middle East and Australasia.
The return of Ford’s RS badge caused great excitement in 2002 – the Blue Oval’s ‘Rallye Sport’ brand had last appeared on highly regarded tweaked Escorts. This time it was the turn of the Focus to benefit from the RS treatment, and what emerged didn’t disappoint. Featuring a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine developing 212 bhp, the car could generate 0.98G in lateral acceleration due to racing parts including Sachs dampers, lightweight O.Z alloy wheels and our very own Quaife ATB Differential! It was in this vehicle that Quaife’s ‘Automatic Torque Biasing’ Differential really came to the attention of the wider motor industry. It helped to substantially improve the vehicle’s traction from the front-wheel drive setup. Interestingly, Ford upgraded or replaced 70% of the standard Focus mechanicals when creating the RS.
DaimlerChrysler’s Street & Racing Technology group included Quaife’s ATB Differential in their Neon SRT-4 saloon. At the time, the car was the second fastest stock production vehicle in the Chrysler/Dodge line-up, second only to the Viper. The ATB equipped Dodge produced an impressive 230bhp, while torque was rated at 250 lb. ft at 2400-4400 rpm. Meanwhile, the 0-60 mph sprint took a respectable 5.3 seconds. It was going to be a busy time for Quaife’s factory in Sevenoaks, Kent. Initially, Dodge expected to sell just 2,500 units a year. In the end, more than 25,000 SRT-4s were produced! As a result of this huge change in demand for the ATB, Quaife secured a deal to take over the CompAir facility in Camborne, Cornwall. The site was recently closed due to company restructuring.
General Motors (GM) approached Quaife to provide ATB Differentials for the mechanically similar Chevrolet Cobalt SS and Saturn Ion Red Line models. This was Quaife’s first OEM arrangement that saw our products featuring in vehicles solely for the North American market. The ATB was part of Chevrolet’s optional G85 Performance Package that featured in SS Supercharged Edition models until 2008, when the Cobalt SS Turbocharged took over. The Quaife ATB continued as part of the G85 Performance Package until production came to an end in 2010. The lesser known Saturn Ion Red Line featured the same engine as the Cobalt SS Supercharged Edition; a 2.0-litre LSJ Ecotec unit. The ATB could be found in the Red Line’s optional Competition Package. The sporting Saturn could complete the 0-60 mph sprint time in 6.0 seconds.
Quaife has been manufacturing steering racks for Morgan’s classic range of vehicles since 2006. Whether it’s a 4/4, Plus 4, Roadster or 3-Wheeler, all benefit from Quaife’s precision engineered driveline know-how. The charming 3-Wheeler has also used various Quaife drivetrain parts since its launch in 2012. The Malvern firm is synonymous with high quality, traditional British craftmanship. They are fiercely independent and continue to benefit from healthy waiting lists. Indeed, Soichiro Honda once said, ‘In future there would be just half a dozen car companies worldwide…and Morgan’.
Quaife has been supplying Ginetta with driveline components since 2006 when gearboxes and differentials were supplied for the G20’s running in the Ginetta Junior Championship. In 2008 the G50 was launched complete with the QBE60G 6-Speed Sequential Gearbox. In 2010 the QBE60G was also fitted to the G40 which replaced the G20 in the Junior series. The related Ginetta Junior Championship is a one-make racing series based in the UK. The G40 Juniors use sealed Ford Zetec 1.8-litre engines, and feature tubular steel chassis, fully integral FIA approved roll cages and fibre-glass shells which ensure safe, controlled racing.
The Quaife QBE60G Heavy Duty In-Line 6-Speed Sequential Gearbox was available in Caterham’s visceral Seven R500 as an optional extra. The R500 produced 263 bhp, had a 150mph top speed and took just 2.88 seconds to reach 60 mph! A QBE60G equipped R500 enabled BBC Top Gear achieve a 1:17.9 lap time around their track, beating the Bugatti Veyron, Pagani Zonda F and Maserati MC12 to name but a few! This is, to date, the thirteenth fastest official lap timed by the show. This feat was considered even more impressive due to the coldness of the conditions, which made it difficult for The Stig to get heat into the tyres. Quaife still provide Caterham Cars with performance driveline components to this day… ‘The gearbox. It is an option, but you’ll want it. It is so pure, so accurate, so visceral’. Autocar
Like the earlier Mk1 Focus RS, Ford’s 2nd generation model featured Quaife’s ATB Differential as standard fitment. This time, the ATB worked alongside a specially designed MacPherson strut suspension system at the front entitled RevoKnuckle, which provided a lower scrub radius and kingpin offset than traditional designs, while avoiding the increased weight and complexity of double wishbone and multi-link suspension setups. The RS used a modified Volvo engineered 2,522cc five-cylinder engine to develop 305 bhp. 0 – 62 mph took 5.9 seconds, while top speed was set at 163 mph. In 2010, the Focus RS500 was launched. As its name suggests, it was limited to 500 units. Solely available in a matt black hue, power was increased substantially to 345 bhp, while the 0-62 mph sprint took just 5.4 seconds! Thank goodness for our signature ‘traction enhancer’…
Replacing the original Evora and Evora S in the Lotus line-up, the Evora 400 is named after its horsepower rating. Featuring the Quaife ATB Differential, the Evora 400 has received positive reviews from the motoring press since its launch. The Hethel-based firm is famous for its lightweight, rewarding performance cars, and the Evora 400 doesn’t disappoint. 0-60 mph takes just 4.1 seconds, while top speed is quoted at 186 mph. The Evora is based on the first all-new vehicle platform from Lotus since the introduction of the Elise in 1995.
Quaife to this day supplies the Mini Challenge race series with our QBM2M 6-Speed Sequential Gearbox. It was only right that when BMW decided to create a hardcore variant of their F56 John Cooper Works to celebrate this exciting race series, they approached Quaife for the vehicle’s ATB Differential. This race born, road ready hot hatch with fully adjustable Nitron suspension, custom Mintex brakes and lightweight Team Dynamics Wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres was for hardcore enthusiasts only. Producing 228 bhp and able to crack the 0-62 mph sprint in 6.3 seconds, the John Cooper Works Challenge could reach a top speed of 153 mph. Although power and performance were similar to the standard John Cooper Works, this specialist equipment came into its own on the track. Priced at £32,000, the Challenge was for the most discerning of hardcore Mini fans.
Although the Mk3 Focus RS was launched in 2015, it wasn’t until the RS Edition arrived in 2017 that Ford fitted the Quaife ATB Differential to their third-generation mega-hatch. Followed by the Race Red Edition, both featured the same turbocharged 2.3-litre inline-four engine that could be found in the standard RS, producing 350bhp. Power was sent to all four wheels by Ford’s Torque-Vectoring All-Wheel-Drive system. A final RS Heritage Edition featuring the ATB and Power Orange paintwork appeared in 2018, marking the end of Mk3 Focus RS production. This model featured a power hike to 370bhp through Ford tuning specialists Mountune. Interestingly, many owners of standard Mk3 Focus RS models had their cars retrospectively fitted with the ATB Differential. The Blue Oval soon approved its fitment, when work was carried out through Ford’s authorised dealership network or Mountune. ‘If you’re confident enough to drive the RS properly, get on the throttle really early in the corner and commit to letting the clever powertrain do its thing. The diff clearly unleashes yet more potential without diluting the character’. Pistonheads
The Mk8 Ford Fiesta ST heralds the first time the Quaife ATB Differential has been included in the Blue Oval’s ‘Sports Technologies’ vehicle line. Optional with ST1 & ST2 trim levels and standard in the ST3, the ATB has been widely praised by motoring journalists all around the world. Heralded as one of the most involving hot hatchbacks on sale today, the 2018 Fiesta ST uses a new 1.5-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost engine developing 200bhp. 0-62mph takes a sprightly 6.7 seconds.