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Racing Engines in Street Cars

Subject: Racing Engines in Street Cars
Date: Tue, 10 Apr 2001 15:58:42 EDT
>From another group - a discussion I started on car trivia. You guys get the
difficult challenge of coming in half way through.

"You may recall the question I raised about engines originally designed from
scratch (i.e., not based on some previous design) for racing purposes that
found their way into street models.

The score so far:

  Lamborghini (designed by Bizzarini from plans for a Ferrari Formula 1
design - my purchase of the Islero started this whole train of thought).

 Alfa Montreal - derived from the T-33 Alfa race engine.

 Porsche 4 cam - originally in the racing 550s, later installed in Carreras

 Ferrari/Fiat Dino using the Formula 2 motor to get 500 out there for
homologation purposes

Close but no cigar:

Chrysler Hemi - derived from the 413 wedge motor, although it raced before it
hit the street cars.

Lotus engine used in Jensen Healey etc. - built on stock block Vauxhall 2
litre block.
(there is still some life in this one as it has been argued that the original
was tested using the cast iron block and soon after went alloy, but I have to
wonder if the alloy block was virtually the same if this one doesn't fall
just over the line)

Coventry Climax - originally designed as a lightweight firepump engine, able
to be carried to fires. I remain unconvinced that race car builders were
in the wings, having tricked them into designing an engine that just happened
to be easily convertible to race use.

A new contender!

A friend who is a trivia buff like me commented that many Bugatti engines
would qualify, which I think is correct, but he also told me about one that I
hadn't known about.

He said the racing engine used in the Maserati 450S was an oddball design
with the cam drive for the timing gear running in the middle of the block
instead of at one end or the other (I am not familiar with this motor, so
can't comment). He told me that when Maserati designed the V6 engine for the
Citroen conglomerate (later used in the SM, one of my favourite oddball cars
- you don't mash the brake pedal, vous manipulez le champignon), which was
also used in the Maserati Merak, they more or less just chopped off the end 2
cylinders, and that you can tell, because it is a 90 degree V6 with the cam
drive running between cylinders, as in the V-8 version.

So I think we have another winner.

And I thought of another one that would marginally qualify, when I was
thinking about the Maserati cam gear. The racing prewar Alfa 8C 2900 race car
engine was a straight 8 with central cam drive to the valves. It was copied
almost bolt for bolt, I believe by Donald Healey, for use in the Triumph
Dolomite (the old neat one, not the boxy newer one).

Any others?

Bill Spohn

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