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Re: Spitfire axle conversion, also flywheels

To: <>
Subject: Re: Spitfire axle conversion, also flywheels
From: "Rocky Entriken" <>
Date: Thu, 8 Aug 2002 12:30:21 -0500
It was asked where to find uprated axles (not "axels"!) for the Spitfire.
Got that, and also if it is not too much a stretch of the topic, just found
out about a supplier of another key part that people occasionally seek --

Axles first ... In 2000 I put a new set on my Mk. I Spitfire made for me by
The Able Co., in Wyoming, Mich. (Grand Rapids). The car is a GP racer and DP
autocrosser, with improved power also from The Able Co. Being mechanically
inept, I went ahead and had them make me a complete rear suspension, hub to
hub, so basically all I had to do was hang the uprights on the springs. No
assembly required. The Able Co. is Wayne Snyder, who is a longstanding
Spitfire campaigner and 1985 National Champion (although lately he has taken
to autocrossing in Modified with a Twincam Toyota in his Spit). Contact them
at 616-534-6946 or

Wayne's axles are the basic uprated kind, a cut-down unit out of an
Oldsmobile or Pontiac or whatever (I forget) and stabbed through the
Spitfire hub from the outside. As such it is a one-piece unit, compared to
the stock Spitfire which is a two-piece that stabs through the hub from the
inside, fits into the wheel carrier and locks in place with a Woodruff key.
The Spit hub has to be modified to accept the uprated axle (bigger bearing,

Back when I was running stock axles (and an engine that was not far above
stock), I would snap off inner axles regularly, and so I got so I could
change them out very quickly. But one time I broke an outer. Well, didn't
really break the axle. I sheared off the Woodruff key! I later figured out
about when I did that, but not knowing it at the time (tightening the
end-nut seemed to fix it) I ran it for almost a year after and when I
finally figured out it was broke and took it apart, there was no sign that a
slot ever existed for the key! That was when I popped for the "good" axles,
which at the time were made by Summit Automotive. No, not the Summit you see
today, but a different company since gone out of business. That was George
Phillips, a 1976 National Solo II Champ in a Spitfire. At the time I asked
George what the lifespan on his axles should be and he estimated about 15
years. Well, I ran them almost 25 years, but when another friend* showed me
HIS Summit axle that had snapped, I thought I had pressed my luck about far
enough and had Wayne Snyder make me some new ones. (*Duane Bailey of West
Michigan Imports, also in the Grand Rapids area -- 616-878-5774 -- he's been
supplying me with gearboxes and Lumenition ignitions; races a Spit in GP; we
were in college together).

Oh, and since I've been running the bigger diff with the bigger GT6 inner
axles, I've only broken a couple of those over several years' time.

Kipping mentioned shearing off diff teeth. I've done it at least twice, both
times on 4:55 gears, which I attribute to two things -- one, thinner teeth,
and two, bad driving technique. Both times I did it, It was a rather dynamic
downshift situation where I threw extreme reverse load on the drive train.
In fact, it was on the same corner of the same autocross course a few years
apart. Downshifted too late, actually. And both of those were stock Triumph
units. I went back to my old friend Ted  Schumacher for another, and he was
out. About six months later he called me and asked if I was still looking
for 4:55 gears and he had some new ones. Not quite sure what they were, but
they looked beefier than the original TR units, and they fit. It lasted a
much longer time (years!) before I finally broke that one. Didn't shear
teeth, actually, but when I disassembled it to repair the No-Spin I noticed
a couple of teeth were half-gone so a fellow Spitfire racer had a spare and
I talked him into selling it to me. Since then, last year I bought a couple
more spares from Mr. Kipping. (The No-Spin, BTW, was unrepairable, so now
I'm running a welded rear).

And speak of Ted Schumacher, that leads me to flywheels, since I just found
out he has been doing some aluminum flywheels for virtually all the popular
Triumph (and MG/Sprite, etc.) cars for some time now and he recently has
added (or will add, if he gets enough orders -- needs at least five) units
for the GT6. Ted tells me that a couple years ago there was a machinist in
Ohio looking to do a run of Britcar flywheels and he went to Ted to get the
specs and dimensions. The payback was Ted gets the large-volume discount
with a small-volume order and can retail the things for $310 (list would be
$395). Such a deal. Apparently this is the same flywheel that has also been
offered by some other purveyor at an "at-cost" price of $325, which turns
out to be b.s. Ted says he still makes a little profit at $310, and of
course since he makes his living peddling Britcar stuff he isn't going to
give it away.

But anyone who knows Ted knows he's a straight shooter who is one of the
most incredible encyclopedias of TR knowledge this side of the pond. Call
him at 800-543-6648, or look up Man -- a
Triumph list that has Schumacher, Kipping and Kastner all on it ... all
those years I was not on it and never realized what a resource it was!

--Rocky Entriken

----- Original Message -----
From: <>
To: <>; <>;
Cc: <>; <>
Sent: Monday, August 05, 2002 1:25 PM
Subject: Spitfire axel conversion

>        I recall that there was a discussion about the issue of replacement
> Spitfire axles some years ago amongst FOTers. I seem to recall that
> had the name of specific supplier of these replacement axles. I also
> that there was older axle suppliers dating back decades (1970s) that are
> longer in business.
>        If someone has the time, searching the past Digest of FOT dialogs
> probably provide the information that you are seeking.

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