Cold starting problems of diesel engines are caused mainly by the failure of the auto-ignition process or the subsequent combustion of the rest of the charge. The problems include long cranking periods and combustion instability leading to an increase in fuel consumption in addition to the emission of undesirable unburned hydrocarbons which appear in the exhaust as white smoke. The major cause of these problems is the low temperature and pressure of the charge near the end of the compression stroke and/or the poor ignition quality of the fuel. This paper presents the results of an experimental investigation of cold starting of a high speed diesel engine with ULSD (Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel) and JP8 (Jet Propulsion) fuels at ambient temperature (25°C). A detailed analysis is made of the autoignition and combustion of the two fuels in the first few cycles in the cold start transient. In addition, a comparison is made between these processes for the two fuels during idle operation.