Broadcrown to 2000


At the end of May 1987, all Dorman employees were called to a meeting in the canteen. Bill Beswick introduced the new owners of the Company. Broadcrown of Stone had purchased the whole of Dorman for a modest £5 million. The two former employees, Vic Yates and David Borgman, had returned as owners.

Frank Borgman, originally with GEC Transformers, was the third Director. Bill Beswick left soon after, with David Bacon remaining as Technical Director. The Corporate Identity remained virtually the same, but minus the GEC logos.

Production of the 12SE became a 100% Dorman responsibility, ties with Paxman having been severed. On the 'downside' Dorman were no longer able to supply the Baudouin P engines. The DAF engine, however, was still available.

  The next Product launch was held at Stafford, in October 1987. On display were the 6SE Gas and Uprate versions, together with the first `straight-eight' version. Although Broadcrown was a successful Set builder, Dorman was allowed to tender for complete Gen-Set business.

The first major batch of 46 complete Gen-sets were shipped out in early 1988. The destination was a new factory at Helwan in the Egyptian Nile valley.

   The SE-powered sets were a first step in the Egyptian market, although there was to be little follow-up.

An early 6SE Gas engine was built into a complete 'Combined-Heat- and-Power' Generator, tested at Stafford. This was for delivery to the Royal Mail depot at Leeds. One major producer of CHP units was Nedalo of Holland, who became a major buyer of Dorman SE gas engines. End users were greenhouses, sports centres, and public buildings all over Northern Europe. Nedalo staff and their clients were invited to Presentations held at Stafford and every effort was made by Derek Jones and the team to promote Dorman 'Minnox' SE Gas engines as the 'cleaner' way for Power generation. The Minnox brand was introduced in 1989.

  On the development side, there was a natural progression from the 12 to the 16SE. There was also discussion on a 20SE, though this never advanced from the drawing board. The V16 engine finally brought the Dorman power range, as envisaged back in the 40's, right up to 2000hp.

  At the start of the 90's, Dennis Wheatcroft was still in charge of the Commercial side of the business. Finance Director was Keith Knighton, who had been appointed back in 1987. New markets were being actively pursued. The sales team now included Barry Wilshaw, Derek Jones (Gas) , and Mr Hussain who had joined to promote the new Marine business.

  Following DO work by John Owen, the SE engines were adapted for Marine use. Branded 'Sea-King', the SE's were finished in the blue colour previously seen on the 12SE prototype. The smaller 6LS were also marinised, and branded as 'Sea-Prince'.

  In the UK, several of these marine engines were fitted to Trawlers. There was also a further participation in the Brixham Trawler Race, though without the commercial success of the late 60's. Some were also supplied through Spanish dealers Menisa.

  Significant progress was being made in the Far East. Roger Davies had vacated the RGT depot, and set up a new HQ based in Tuas Avenue, Singapore. The offices accommodated Service, sales and admin staff, whilst the factory unit provided sufficient capacity for SE engine storage and Gen-set build. Roger's territory covered from Japan to India, and he worked tirelessly to develop new markets.

  Visits from Paul James also helped with Customer training to support the new SE engines being installed. Roger was later joined by Mark Cornall, as engineering support. Dorman SE engines found their way into many spectacular buildings, such as the Singapore Stock Exchange and Hong Kong Times Square. However the largest Contract was for powering the Dong Guan Fuan Textile Factory. This was a major supplier for M&S, and was located in Guangdong Province China. In stages, the powerhouse built up to 4 bays of 12 - 12SE's, with an additional 4 16SE's. This made it arguably the highest concentration of Dorman power anywhere in the world.

April 1990 saw the establishment of four Dorman Overseas subsidiaries as follows :-

                                Dorman Diesels (Far East) Pte, 39, Tuas Avenue 13 Singapore

                         Dorman Diesels Pty Ltd, Canning Vale, Western Australia

                                A/S Dorman Diesels, Fredericksvaerk, Denmark

                       Dorman Diesels Nederland BV, Eindhoven, Holland

  One major contract was another African rural electrification project. This time the Power was for locations in Mauretania, on the edge of the Sahara Desert. 16SE Gen-sets were supplied, though in the hot, dry conditions, operation of these sets was not entirely trouble-free.


  Following the success of the `Minnox' SE Gas engines, it was decided to apply for a Queen's Award. The application, made in 1993, was to be in the 'Environment' rather than the 'Technology' category. Confirmation was made in April 1994, with only one other Company in the 'Environment' category. Arrangements were made for the Presentation to be made by the Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire, the ceremony to be held at Tixall Road in the October.

   However, three months on from the Award announcement, came the announcement of yet another take-over. In June 1994, the entire Dorman business was acquired by Perkins Engines for £25m. At this time, Perkins was part of Varity Corporation of   USA.

   The Award Ceremony went ahead in October, with Dennis Wheatcroft making an address. The event sadly marked the end of the old Dorman Corporate Identity.

   At the start of 1995, the decision was made to drop all non-SE engine ranges. The SE Range was re-defined as the Perkins 4000 Series, adding to the 2000 and 3000 series already in production at Shrewsbury. At Lincoln, the facilities were gradually closed down, with the CSD being transferred to Irlam. The facility in Singapore was also discontinued.

   The end of the Century saw Perkins as part of the Caterpillar Organisation. Major investment in the 4000 series (ie 4006, 4008, 4012 and 4016) saw production increased to unprecedented levels.

   Although the name has disappeared from the Stafford Factory, the legacy of Dorman Engines still lives on at the Tixall Road Site.

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