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Re: Racing Engines in Street Cars

Subject: Re: Racing Engines in Street Cars
From: (Matthew Trebelhorn)
Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2001 09:26:45 -0400
Max is right about Ferrari -- I was thinking about this on the way to work this 
morning.  I think, actually, that any v-12 Ferrari (with the possible exception 
of the curent 550) has a race-derived motor.

The original Ferrari v-12, the "Columbo" engine, was a 1.5 liter Grand Prix 
motor; later versions included the 3-liter that powered Testarossas, GTOs, and 
the 250 LM.  So it's a race motor.  But it also powered almost all of their GT 
cars at the time, through the late sixties.  I know that this motor had 
derivatives up to the 330 series (4 Liters), I believe that even the 365 (4.4L) 
Daytona was also derived from that original Grand Prix motor.

The other Ferrari V-12, the "Lampredi" engine, was also (if I remember 
correctly) an early-fifties Grand Prix engine, and powered race cars like the 
340 America, but also boulevard cruisers (as Ferraris go, anyway) like the 500 

Now here's the question.  To what extent were Ferrari's flat-12 motors (Boxer, 
Testarossa 2) related to the flat-12 Formula 1 motors (312 T series of the late 

Bill mentioned the 6-cylinder Ferrari Dino; one might be able to make a case 
for any non-8-cylinder Ferrari (sorry Rick!).


Max Heim <> wrote:
> I would think a lot of the early Ferraris would qualify, since the street
> cars were just an afterthought and the engine development was concentrated
> on the race cars.
> As a wild guess (I'm a little foggy on pre-war MG history), how about the MG
> K3? Was that little 6cyl based on a Morris motor, or was it an MG original?
> I suppose you could argue that it wasn't really a street car...
> on 4/10/01 12:58 PM, at wrote:
> > 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 
> > 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 
> > was tested using the cast iron block and soon after went alloy, but I have 
> > 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
> > waiting
> > in the wings, having tricked them into designing an engine that just 
> > 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 
> > 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 
> > 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 
> > 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
> > 
> > 
> --
> Max Heim
> '66 MGB GHN3L76149
> If you're near Mountain View, CA,
> it's the red one with the silver bootlid.

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