Despite the evermore sophisticated engines produced by the car manufacturers, it seems that there is always room for improvement, a chance for the specialist to use one as a base for further development. Warrior Automotive Research Ltd of Uckfield is a relatively new company, but one which has built up a solid reputation since its formation in the mid-Eighties.
Until now it has been the success of the Ford Pinto-based 16-valve twin-cam engines which have helped the company grow and sustained it over the last five years, but designer Russell Pain felt the time had come to diversify to take the company through the next stage of growth.
The engine Pain and his fellow directors chose to develop was the Rover K16 engine as fitted to the latest versions of the Metro GTI, Rover 214 and Rover 414 and in the process have become the first people to modify the K series. The reason for the choice was basically the availability of the powerplant coupled with the reasonable cost price, important factors when taking into account its appeal to clubmen on limited budgets, and it was reasonably state-of-the-art in being compact, light and modern.
Prefixed by the initials WK, the 1.6-litre WK16S and the 1.4-litre WK14C have both been designed by Pain for inline as well as transverse installation with the provision of modified bellhousings, flywheels and adaptor plates; they can thus be installed in single-seaters with a Newland or Ford box as well as in any road-going Metro.
Whilst modifications of the blueprinted WK14C unit revolve basically around the cylinder head, the WK16S has been completely designed from scratch. Not only is the fully gas flowed Cylinder head extensively modified to give an estimated 40% improvement in airflow over the stock item, but Warrior has Incorporated an 81mm forged steel crank, steel con-rods, 75mm forged pistons running in aluminium/nicasil liners, dry sump lubrication, lightweight steel flywheel and improved cooling system. The engine can accommodate either a fully mapped Alfa fuel injection system on a Warrior inlet manifold or else Weber or Dellorto sidedraught carburettors.
As a result of all these modifications, the power output of the Warrior WK16S is boosted from 128 bhp of the standard 1.6 unit to 195 bhp at 8400rpm while the WK14C is boosted by 48 bhp to produce 140 bhp at 6200 rpm.
As to be expected with one engine receiving the bulk of the modifications, there is quite a large price differential between the WK14C and the WK16S, the former at £2450 costing just over £5000 less than the latter at £7490, although the latter amount does include half a day’s “setting up” time for the customer. These prices, though, do include the cost of supplying the original engine and can be reduced if a donor unit is supplied.
If the K series engines follow the trend set by the Ford Pinto, then Warrior expect that a quarter will end up in road cars, another quarter will be installed in rally cars while the remainder will go into an assortment of cars including drag racers, rallycross machines, grass track cars. Thundersaloons — almost anything which is eligible for a free formula. Having now developed the K series, it must their current ambition to supply a small-scale manufacturer with them to allow them to capitalise on their progress so far. WPK