With the F.I.A. taking an interest in the possibility of gasturbine ears appearing in raves and the B.A.B.C. offering a substantial prize for a high-speed Goodwood
Diesels demonstration by a car so powered, we are reminded that. the diesel-engined racing car, an intermediate type as it were, never got as far as its various sponsors hoped. 11. Indianapolis last year considerable excitement was caused by the Cummins Diesel Special, driven by J. Jackson, qualifying at it speed of 129.208 m.p.h., it speed freely quoted as a ” new diesel speed reisird.’• This car laid a modified and highly-kupereleuged version of the Cturunins JI3S-600 six-cylinder (Spare engine. Cylinder block and head were of light alloy, the crankcase of magnesium I he total weight being just tver 700 lb.. and in place of the 210 b.h.p. at around 3,600 r.p.m. that D. J. Cummins, in charge of the engineering depart tot of his company, had hoped fur, 340 1).11.1). was actually claimed, at just over 4,000 r,p,m„ equal to 2.06 lb. per h.p. This promising engine was installed in a Kurt is-Kraft welded steel-tube chassis with wishbone
a Come quick-change racing back-axle and Goodyear aircraft disc brakes to all wheels. The finished car looked not dissimilar to a 13.11.M. Unlike the 13.11.M. it had a very large Roots blower, driven from the 111)tie of the crankshaft.
Certainly during the qualifying trials for Ore Race this diesel-engined single-seater went far faster than many of the petrol cars. But it wasn’t as fast. as George Eyston’s 1936 A.E.C.-engined ” Flying Spray,” which that year achieved 159.1 m.p.h.. over the f.s. kilometre at Utah. However, memory suggests that Eyston’s engine was somewhat larger, although non-supercharged, alai it is conceivable that had Eyston been called on to lap Indianapolis four times instead of dash over the straight kilo of the Salt Flats, his cars speed would have been below 130 m.p.h. In reliability, however, the Cu 1111T1i tis Diesel was not quite a match for Eyston’s E.C., for it had to retire after 130 miles with a broken flange to its torsional vibration damper, after lapping, first at 110, then at 117 m.p.h. and finally at. 119-120 m.p.h. .Eyston, on the other hand, covered 105.6 m.p.h. for an liour at MontIliery and livid over 97 m.p.h. for 24 hours on the same occasion, ill 1937. And a Hanomag diesel of only 2 litres rapacity managed live miles at nearly 97 m.p.h. at Dessau in the February before war broke out, while in 1949 Lacour set the diesel-hour-record to 113.48 m.p.h. at alontlhery, driving the four-cylinder opposed-piston M.A.P.
Nevertheless, the achievement of the Cummins Company was a notable one and it will be exceedingly interesting to see what they pull out for this year’s Indianapolis race. They have rim diesel ears previously, their 1931 entry being the first car to complete the 500 miles without a pit-stop, finishing 13th at :3637 m.p.h., while in 1934 they put in two cars, one of which finished 12th at 88.57 m.p.h., and was afterwards demonstrated at Brooklands. (Eyston’s equivalent, in 1930, was his 500mile record, partnered by I./Oily, at 98.3 m.p.h.) Cummins’ diesel-research is said to have cost 8.50,000.
Altogether, it seems that Britain and America were fairly evenly riettehed in respect of diesel-speed and it is a pity the eomparison cannot be continued.
In this eountry, although racing diesels are moribund, a Nottinghani firm is advertising 30/220 and 38/250-h.p. Mercedes-Benz with their original power units replaced by tOO li.h.p. Type 101 7.7-litre Leyland diesel engines. Speeds in the region of 100 m.p.h. and consumption of fuel oil at t he rate of 40 to 45 miles to a gallon are mentioned. It sounds interesting, and follows on those classic pioneering experiments with a 5.5-litre 41,W Gardner diesel engine in a Bentley saloon in 1931 (it competed in the 1933 Monte Carlo Rally) and with a 41.1: Gardner diesel engine in a sports Lagonda in 1935. We have observed before, and we say again, that, a visit. to Wade Engineering, Ltd., at Gatwick Airport. in Surrey, is a stimulating experience, for here one can Wade-Ventors admire first-class engineering technique and craftsmanship, carried out by a firm which is something of on object lesson in British enterprise. The kVade supercharger venture was started, largely through the foresight and enthusiasm of Costin Denshain, with a very modest capital outlay. The Offices and works were established in rather restricted buildings in a corner of Gatwick Airport, and
a test-shop, in which superchargers could be test-run and poweroutputs, flow-readings, sound-spectra and oseillograph records taken, was erected on the far side of a meandering stream.
That came about three years ago. and already Wade have moved into spacious new premises on the opposite side of the airfield, retaining the original sheds amid test-shop for purely experimental purposes. Well lit °Slices, drawing office, machine shop, assembly shop and production test strop are kept well oeeupied producing Wade Roots superchargers for every conceivable purpose and dispatching them to all parts of the world.
The reasons why 1Vade has succeetled while other supercharger ventures have fallen by the wayside have been quoted previously in Mime SPOILT and may be summarised as a determination to master the speeialised problems appertaining to supercharging the internal combustion engine and, having mastered these problems, to supply well designed and constructed four-lobe Roots-type superehargerS known as the Ventor, incorporating a special helical port under Broom and Wade licence. This porting overcomes the low-speed ” dropoff ” in boost formerly associated with Roots superchargers.
The demand for Ventor superchargers, with their silent, long-wearing steel-to-helical gears, patented frictionless oilseals and simplified system of lubrication, etc., has been enormous. Automobile, oil engine, aircraft and industrial installations of all kinds go out from Gatwick to satisfied customers all over the globe. There are specialised applications, too, like the fascinating little blowers, for all the world like models of their bigger brothers, which constitute air-servo-control units for use where electrical and hydraulic applications are unsuitable, and Ventors driven by electrie motors and used as air pumps for drying colotir film. This latter application is a tribute to the accuracy of Wade workmanship, for the faintest trace of Oil in the air could ruin many thousands or pounds worth of film, yet standard Ventors do this job with no fear of oil leakage past their gear-cases. Intermingled with this busy programme Wade supply a variety of Venter sets to the Trade. Racing drivers have been quick to appreciate the excellence of this supercharger, and during last season GordinPs Simeas, Roles old Delage, Brian Shawe-Taylor’s KRA, and Dennis ” Autosport ” Poore’s Alfa-Romeo have chalked up notable successes with WadeVentors. As a result, orders for installations to more “breadand-butter ” cars are pouring in and sets, neatly boxed and contaming the necessary belt pulleys, mounting brackets, oil-feed, etc., are available for Austin A40, Ford Eight and Ten, Morris Minor, ” TC ” and “TI) ” M.G., Triumph 1800, Standard Vanguard, lidiman Minx and Ford Mercury and special installations have teen applied to many ears, such as Citroen Six, Jupiter, Jaguar XE.” 120, etc. In the trials field, Dellow cars have scored signal successes with Venter superchargers. There are indications that British manufacturers, conscious of the appeal which sheer speed makes in the American market, are
interested in supercharging to improve the performance of their existing modeLs.
We saw two very exciting innovations at Gatwick. One is the new V-type Wade supercharger in which non-friction rotary valves coupled with the throttle linkage enable pressure to build up within the supercharger, so that. high boosts are obtainable from comparatively small Roots blowers. Already it is possible to vary supercharge characteristics by altering the rotor form, but the V-type goes further, and even where boosts as high as 40 lb./sq. in. are required, for example, two-stage is obviated, one small blower sufficing. The other development is an ingenious inter-cooler, consisting of a Galley methyl alcohol radiator mounted in the delivery port of the supercharger and pressurised by the supercharger itself. This inter-cooler has no impeding effect on mixture flow through the blower and reduces air delivery temperatures by up to 57 degrees F. Both these developments should be of considerable value to the mot or racing fraternity.
Tony Rolt has acquired the Murray-Jamieson-supercharged engine from Peter Walker’s ill-fated E-type E.R.A., and is installing it in his old Delage chassis for this season’s races. We are informed by Cliff Rowley and Co., Ltd., of Walsall. Butt they are marketing the front-drive Emeryson 500 at £475, less engine and gearbox. It appears that. Harold Daniel, the famous motor-cycle T.T. rider, has decided finally to race an Emeryson this season in place ofa Kieft. A works-sponsored team will be formed, consisting of E. N. Frost, who drove a Cooper last year, Daniel and Paul Emery. K. Watkins will also race an Eineryson, so to the Cooper-lota-Kieft triangle mast be added ‘another contender for Formula Ill honours. Exciting -*
Brands Hatch circuit will see sports-car races this year as w(.11 as a resumption Of 500-cc. racing. The Stadium is open eV,•I’y day of the week, the circuit being available for testing, and the raeilig season proper commelices there on April 28th. ••••••