Spark ignition engines for automotive applications must have good cold start performance characteristics at sub-zero ambient temperatures. Satisfactory performance is most difficult to achieve at the lower end of the temperature range, typically around -30°C. The start characteristics of a particular engine depend on basic design features, starter motor characteristics, and the calibration and strategy used to regulate fuel supply during start up. The paper reports a computational model which enables the investigation of these with the minimum of experimental data. The model has been developed to run on desk-top PC machines, specifically as a CAE development tool. The formulation of the model and the experimental tests were used to generate the input data required for particular applications are described.