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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2019 1:28 pm 
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An interesting article about tuning companies from a 1969 edition of Motorsport.

Around the Tuning Shops
A phenomenon of the motoring sixties has been the mushrooming of firms catering for the man who wants to make his car go that little bit faster. Even with the stagnating 70-m.p.h. limit and insurance company discrimination against modified machines there seems to be no halting this car conversion craze. A quick count of the number of firms involved in this business revealed that in Britain alone there are almost 300 such companies operating. Many work from little mews garages, the majority seem under capitalised, some are run by mechanics of tremendous skill, but inevitably people who lack the real knowledge have jumped on the band wagon. The number of firms in this business must change from day to day, with new people setting up and others go bust.

It is essential if you are going to improve your car's performance, and many cars really do benefit from such treatment, to go to a firm who know what they are doing, have skilful and enthusiastic staffs and the right equipment. Car manufacturers are fully aware of this trend towards hotting up their bread and butter machinery, and will often recommend a competent firm. Both B.M.C. and Ford have their own high-performance centres, and now such firms as Rootes and Vauxhall are tieing their names in with tuning establishments.
Here we have surveyed the present scene around the tuning shops as best we can in the space available. If your local speed centre is not mentioned in this or next month's article it does not mean that they are not competent, but most of the better known people are covered. Don't forget either that tuning goes further than under the bonnet; for brakes, suspension, wheels and so on, all need beefing up to take the extra power. But any decent tuning centre will be able to advise on the all-round performance improvement of a car rather than just the engine.
One point to remember is that many tuning shops market cylinder heads, manifolds and the like under their trade name, but when you get down to hard facts they are in fact produced by another company. So it is always worth asking if you can see the heads being fettled, and if they are not done on the premises ask from where the equipment originated.

Ford
Certainly the most high-performance and sport-orientated motor company in Britain are Ford, for they support everything from Rallycross to Formula One. The Rally and Rallycross cars are prepared at the large modern premises at Boreham, near Chelmsford in Essex, on the edge of the airfield which saw some of the early post-war racing. Also based there is the FordSport Performance Centre, which stocks a vast range of equipment for all the more sporty Fords. For many needs, particularly for vamping Cortina GTs, Lotus Cortinas and Escorts, there seems little sense in looking any further than Boreham for the amount of equipment and know-how they offer far surpasses anything a private company could provide. Before starting to look anywhere else Ford owners should at least obtain a copy of the Ford Performance booklet. Of course, the Centre is so busy preparing the works cars that they cannot undertake the labour themselves, but one can always have your local Ford dealer carry out the work. The FordSport Performance Centre's address is Boreham Airfield, Nr. Chelmsford, Essex (Tel.: Boreham 353).

B.M.C. Special Tuning Department
The British Leyland answer to all this is the B.M.C. Special Tuning Department at Abingdon, which as yet has not spread its wings to cover the various other marks which Leyland has brought into the fold. In charge up there is Basil Wales, assisted by well-known Sprite racer Mike Garton, and they are certainly the first people to contact if you wish to modify your Mini-Cooper, Sprite, Midget, M.G.-B, Healey 3000 and so on. They have a comprehensive range of catalogues for each model which not only list the equipment available but also tell the potential hotter-up how to get on with the job. Again, Special Tuning is intended for the Do-it-Yourself man.

Last year B.M.C. introduced a major break-through in the tuning business by announcing that for Minis, 1100s, 1300s and 1800s they were offering as optional equipment, stage one cylinder-head conversions. The really important fact was, however, that if this equipment was fitted it did not invalidate the car's guarantee. As yet no other firm is offering such an undertaking. The work is actually carried out by Daniel Richmond's Dowroon firm in Wiltshire, and experiences with these stage one conversions have been most encouraging. This certainly is a major break-through in the tuning business and, as several people commented at the time, it makes tuning respectable.

While on the B.M.C. theme a little bird tells us that for Cooper-Mini specialists, the Cooper Car Company will soon be setting up their own performance centre but that is in the future.

Blydenstein/Coburn
While the General Motors policy still remains anti-competition there is no doubt at all that Vauxhall Motors are becoming very much more sport orientated, with Vauxhalls and particularly the Viva coming in for much more attention from tuning specialists.

In fact Vauxhall have just issued a new pamphlet which is obtainable from any Vauxhall dealer called Special High-Performance Equipment for the Viva GT. This equipment has been designed and developed jointly by Bill Blydenstein and Coburn Improvements, and includes cylinder heads, camshafts and so on, plus high-duty parts for competition work.
The two firms, though separate enterprise's, are working as one on Vauxhall equipment and have a large range of equipment not only for the Viva GT but also for the smaller-engined Vivas. New from the duo is a cast rocker cover which incorporates an inlet manifold for Vivas, and we will be trying a car fitted with this set-up in the near future. So if its special equipment for racing, sprints and hill-climbs, contact W. B. Blydenstein, Station Works, Shepreth, Royston, Herts, or if it's rally and autocross try Coburn Automobile Improvements Ltd., Netherhall Gardens, London, N.W.3 (Tel.: Hampstead 6743). If it's just a road conversion, either will do. Incidentally, Blydenstein also has considerable experience tuning another G.M. product, Opel, which are of course now sold in Britain, and both firms will not have forgotten their experience in the B.M.C. field before they turned their hands to Vauxhall.

S.A.H. Accessories Ltd.
S.A.H. Accessories have long been associated with Triumph tuning and many readers will remember Sid Hurrell racing his Triumph TR2. The firm have concentrated on Triumphs for many years and their present range is extensive, as a quick glance at their comprehensive catalogue will show. S.A.H. cater for virtually every Triumph marketed and some of their conversions get a little wild. Better to stick to the stage one and two conversions. Not so long ago a Hurrell-tuned Triumph 2000 was tried and this really was a memorable car and the improvement well worth having. S.A.H. Accessories Ltd., Linslade, Leighton Buzzard, Beds. (Tel.: Leighton Buzzard 3022).

Janspeed
In the introduction paragraph we mentioned firms working front little mews garages, but when we visited Janspeed's a couple of weeks ago we were amazed to find that they operate from a smart new factory which looks from the outside more as if it housed machine tools. In a space of less than 10 years Hungarian born Janos Odor has built his firm up to one of the largest and most reputable in the business. Visitors to the factory can see manifolds being manufactured and heads being fettled, and Jan revealed that many are sold to other firms, who promptly stick their own label on them. We were able to try a Janspeed 1800, and what an improvement a cylinder-head conversion of this kind can make to such a mundane car. Janspeed have got a thing on 1800s at the moment for they were preparing three cars for the London-Sydney Marathon when we visited them. Slightly irrelevant to this article but a new line from Janspeed is an aluminium inlet manifold for a certain make of fire-engine which we better not mention. The machines were not coming up to the performance required by certain authorities, so Janspeed's are supplying this bolt-on manifold and carburetter, which brings them up to scratch!
Janspeed specialise in B.M.C. and Ford work mainly but also encompass several other makes; they were even tweaking a Ferrari head. Their address is Janspeed Engineering Ltd., Southampton Road, Salisbury, Wilts. (Tel.: Salisbury 22002)

Taurus Engineering Tuning Ltd.
Taurus are a firm that have been around the tuning business a good few years more than most but their address never really registered. Little did we expect to find Childs Place, London, S.W.5, as a mews which is a break in between the Polynesian restaurants and His and Her boutiques of the Earls Court Road. But there they were, in somewhat cramped surroundings, turning out cylinder heads for a wide range of cars. While they cater for all the cars that are popular for tuning, they also offer modifications for such bread-and-butter motor cars as the Austin A.60 and Singer Vogue. They particularly specialise in conversions for crossflow Cortinas. Their 'phone number is 373 1122 and they have a large network of agents.

Team Hartwell
There seem to be plenty of hot Imps rushing ablaut the place these days and several firms are turning their attention to modifying their little engines, which have so much in common with Coventry-Climax. Down in Bournemouth Team Hartwell have secured a good reputation, bolstered by the success of their racing Imps driven by Ray Payne. They offer a good range of tuning equipment, starting with twin carburetters, while further improvements can be made by using their 4-branch exhaust manifold and camshaft. They also offer a conversion from the regular 875 c.c. to 998 c.c. using oversize liners and pistons. Conversions for the Hillman Hunter and Singer Vogue are also available. Hartwell's address is 43, Holdenhurst Road, Bournemouth (Tel.: 26566).

Speedwell
World Champion Graham Hill is a director of the Speedwell Centre, One of the longest established tuning firms. At present Speedwell are placing the accent on tuning of suspension, particularly for cars like the Volkswagen and Triumph Herald, with swing axles, and their Speedwell Camber Compensator is a worthwhile investment. Of course they still have a vast range of speed equipment for not only the B.M.C. Mini, 1100 and Spridget range, but also for Volkswagen. Several readers have had trouble locating Speedwell lately and this is because the tuning centre has moved to 260-300, Berkhampstead Road, Chesham, Bucks.

Oselli Engineering Ltd.
There is no doubt that the standard 850-c.c. Mini is a little short of steam but one firm who are at present specialising in tuning this type of vehicle is Oselli Engineering Ltd. They are offering a stage one kit still utilising the original carburetter which is claimed to raise the top speed to 80 m.p.h., and for a reasonable price, too. Oselli's address is Baynards Green, Nr. Bicester, Oxon (Tel.: Fritwell 312).

Superspeed Conversions Ltd.
John Young and the lads at Superspeed raced Anglias for many years with enormous success and when it comes to tuning 105Es must be the favourites. One of their best tricks is to drop a 1,650-c.c. engine into the Anglia, and with all the right suspension and braking modifications this produces a car that will give an Elan quite a fright. Now they are turning their hands to Escorts and installing the Cortina 1600 GT crossflow engine into the Escort GT, which produces a very fast machine indeed. Superspeed Conversions Ltd. at 482, Ley Street, Illitrd, Essex (Tel.: Valentine 8307).

Supersport Engines Ltd.
The most memorable thing about visiting Supersport Engines is meeting a wild Irishman called Jim Gavin, who sometimes seems to have a beard and other times not. However wild, he certainly steers his firm along the right path, and they are particularly well known for their rally conversions. In fact several of the mechanics are vary successful in the British rallying field, while Gavin himself is at present in the thick of preparing a 1600 GT-engined Escort for the Marathon. Supersport specialise mainly in Ford conversions and if you envisage the odd rally for your tuned car they are highly recommended. Supersport live at 64, Church Road, Acton, London, W.5 (Tel.: Acorn 0129).

Sports-Tune
The great majority of tuning concerns are cluttered around London but Scottish readers need not despair for the Inglision race circuit has encouraged competition and high performance tremendously in the area. One of the firms regularly fielding cars at Ingliston is Sports-Tune, run by Bill Borrowman, and they have a tie-up with Edinburgh B.M.C. distributors Moir & Baxter for their racing efforts. Naturally, racing Minis they specialise in B.M.C. products. Their address is 10, Brandon Terrace, Edinburgh, 3 (Tel.: 031-556 3507).

Alan W. Smith
Alan Smith is one of the best known racing-engine tuners in the business and inevitably when one walks into his railway arch there is a big Chevrolet or Ford V8 pounding away on the dynamometer. But Alan Smith and his men have spread their wings to cover more than pure racing engine preparation and offer, believe it or not, an engine conversion for the Skoda range. With more V8 engines coming into circulation in vehicles like Sunbeam Tigers, we have had several inquiries about where they can have them tuned properly. A firm Alan Smith, though perhaps a little expensive, could well fit the bill. The address is Station Approach, Friargate, Derby (Tel.: Derby 40606).

Warren Pearce
Most Jaguars have quite enough power for normal road-going needs but there are still people who like to have a little extra urge over standard. So to cater for these Warren Pearce, one of the most successful and experienced drivers of Jaguar E-types, offers a range of conversions. These start with a triple 1¾-in. carburetter set-up at just over £50, but gas-flowed and polished cylinder heads are also available. Warren Pearce is at 59a, Cadogan Lane, Sloane Street, London, S.W.1 (Tel.: BEL 2100).

Mangoletsi Ltd.
The B.M.W. 2002 is just about the ultimate in saloon cars but one cannot loose sight of the fact that as it has only one carburetter so there is plenty of room for even greater improvement. A company well aware of this is Mangoletsi, whose range of Hi Torque conversions cover a variety of different models but one of the latest additions is for the 2002 and other B.M.W.s. To find Mangoletsi simply write to them at Knutsford, Cheshire (Tel.: Fryerning 552).

Downton Engineering Works Ltd.
We have already mentioned that Downton produce the stage one conversions which can be supplied as additional equipment on certain B.M.C. models, and this side of the business keeps Downton very busy. But this does not preclude them from offering a much more extensive range through their own marketing facilities. They specialise in the B.M.C. range from 850 Mini to M.G.-B, and their fine reputation is fully justified. Particularly good value are their touring conversions. The address is simply Downton, Salisbury, Wilts. (Tel.: Downton 351).

Allard
Alan Allard has long been a disciple of "tuning it by supercharging" and the Allard Motor Company certainly has a greater knowledge of the supercharging art than anyone else in this field. Allard says that with a maximum boost pressure of 6-7 p.s.i an increase in top speed of 10 to 15% and a power increase of as much as 50% can be found by just bolting on a supercharger. Allard argues that one of the main disadvantages with a conventionally-tuned engine is that the bearings have to cope with a greater load and this is not the case with a supercharged engine. On the debit side engines prone to overheating may not be adaptable to supercharging unless the radiator size is increased. However, Allard know the problems and offer Shorrock supercharger installations for most popular cars up to 2,000 c.c., for Ford (particularly the Escort GT), B.M.C., Vauxhall, Triumph, Volkswagen and Renault, from around £60. They are dropping 1600 GT engines into Escorts, too. Allard are at 51 Upper Richmond Road, Putney, London, S.W.15 (Tel.: 01-874 2335).

Bill Nicholson
They don't nickname Bill Nicholson "M.G. Bill" for nothing, for this former Jaguar development engineer has set up a smart and thriving business on the outskirts of Northampton, and the accent is very much on B.M.C.'s most popular sports car. Bill not only sells and races Bs successfully, but also tunes them. His range of stages of tune for the B is very comprehensive, starting from a stage one cylinder head for as little as £25, up to a full-race conversion. A motoring journalist tries many tuned cars over the years and quite frankly far too large a proportion give some trouble during the test, even if it is only an irritating little fault. But one car that sticks out in my memory as being ultra reliable and far superior to standard was a Nicholson B in stage 3 tune. A recent addition to the Nicholson range is tuning equipment for the M.G.-C and he also does a modified head and inlet manifold for the 1800 range. Bill Nicholson Ltd. is at Wellingborough Road, Weston Favell, Northants. (Tel.: Northampton 32093).

Perdal Developments
Up in the North tuning establishments are thinner on the ground, but Geordie readers are well served by Perdal Developments run by the Dalkin Brothers. Perdal's theme is Fords, which they tune up to race standards, but they by no means specialise solely in them. They have recently introduced a new range of bolt-on conversions which are both inexpensive and give a good improvement. They feature a Weber carburetter, together with their own inlet manifold, and are available for such popular cars as the Hillman Imp and Ford Anglia. Perdal's address is Wingrove Garage, Westgate Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Tel.: Newcastle 33874).

[b]Conversion & Tuning Centre[/b]
Some people actually own Wartburgs; in fact there seem to be quite a few of their new Knights around London, but the last thing one would think was available is tuning equipment for these East German cars. Don't worry, "Warthog", the Conversion & Tuning Centre, will come to your rescue, and they produce bolt-on conversions for all manner of strange cars, as well as all the popular models, including the standard Ford Escort. They provide added performance by using their own inlet manifold and carburetter adjustments. The Conversion & Tuning Centre is at Tulse Hill, Brixton (Tel.: TULse Hill 5014).

Talon Engineering
The number of new tuning establishments has started to drop off a little in recent months (the "squeeze" affects everything), but one of the most recently formed that seem to be on the right path is Talon Engineering run by Mike Darrieulat, until recently Workshop Manager at Coburn Improvements, and Lionel Pridham, an ex-Motortune man. This pair specialise in re-vitalising old Minis. Find them an old Mini of, say, 1961 or 1962 vintage, and hand over the clapped-out machine. They will go through the car replacing worn parts and patching up the rough spots and then push the worn-out 850-c.c, power unit into a corner. Into its place they will fit a new 1100 or 1300 B.M.C. engine mated to a good gearbox, and this work all entails a bit more than meets the eye, with the brakes also coming in for some beefing-up. Talon charge around £200 for this service, and as vintage Minis sell for as little as £150 these days, it could be an attractive proposition. Talon Engineering are hidden away in Celbridge Mews, Porchester Road, London, W.1.

Vegantune
B.R.M. mechanics George Robinson and John Sismey left the Owen Organisation about five years ago and in that short time have built up one of the largest tuning concerns in the East Midlands. Much of their work is on racing engines, particularly Ford twin-cams, but they also do a lot of road conversions, specialising in Ford, B.M.C. and Vauxhall products. Their conversions start with ram pipes for Minis which, they claim, can increase b.h.p. by as much as 8 h.p., and they have a good range of inlet and exhaust manifolds to their own design, and their own cylinder heads. Lows Cortina and Elan owners who want more power are also catered for. Vegantune Engineering are at Little London, Spalding (Tel.: Spalding 4238).

B.R.T. Developments
B.R.T. Developments' chief, Harry Ratcliffe, can sit back and suck his pipe for the next month or two, but probably won't, for not only have cars prepared by him won the European Touring Car Championship, but at home they have taken the B.A.R.C. Hill-Climb Championship, and Harry himself has won the Northern Saloon Car Championship. The European winning Minis were prepared by British Vita Racing, a division of Vitafoam Ltd. which makes much of the foam for inside car seats and, in fact, this firm has just acquired a major holding in B.R.T., so they must be one of the few tuning firms with really big money behind them. But a firm like Vitafoam would not take such a step if they did not have faith in B.R.T.'s ability to make money. B.R.T.'s forte is, of course, B.M.C. and they produce a long list of conversions for virtually any B.M.C. car, but Harry Ratcliffe and his men will turn their hand to almost any tuning problem. Certainly they are one of the top tuning firms in the North and they are now at Fletchers Road, Littleborough Road, Littleborough, Lancs. (Tel.: Littleborough 78972).

Roger Nathan Racing
Roger Nathan and fast Imps are partners, as their advertising slogan goes, and it's certainly true that racing driver Roger Nathan has built up a good reputation for tuning Imps. It was Nathan who developed the first racing Imp and he and his firm have successfully raced Imps ever since. The firm specialises almost entirely in Imp conversions as well as building their Imp-powered racing GT car, and prices start from £5. Roger Nathan Racing Ltd. are based at the rear of that hot-bed of racing, Lynton Garage, Fortis Green, London, N.2 (Tel.: Highgate Wood 9757).

Expert Engineering LTD.
Expert Engineering are best known in racing circles, but this, of course, equips them well for tackling the more tricky tuning problems. If your Ford GT40 is only running on seven cylinders or your Mustang has lost its edge, Expert Engineering would be just the firm to sort it out. They also specialise in twin-cam Ford engines, and Laurie Billing is the man to contact. Their address is 20-21 Bishops Stortford Industrial Estate, Dunmow Road, Bishops Stortford, Herts. (Tel.: Bishops Stortford 2081).

Arden Conversions LTD.
Arden Conversions are one of the oldest established tuning businesses in the country and have a large range of conversions for the B.M.C., Triumph, Ford and Rootes ranges. They are probably proudest of their aluminium alloy 8-port fuel-injected head for the Cooper S, but that is strictly a racing modification, although they have plenty of other heads not so way out. They live at Penn Lane, Tamworth-in-Arden, Solihull, Warwickshire (Tel.: Wythall 3368).

Radbourne Racing
Geoff and John Anstead have gone into the car-building business, having obtained a batch of basically racing Abarth-Simca GTs, of which old Carlo Abarth built too many in the interests of homologation. But they did not have any Simca engines in them as they stood in Carlo's back yard: at Radbourne's place near London's Syon Park they are making a very nice motor car out of them by fitting the Fiat 124 engine. This all figures because not only are Radbourne the British concessionaire for Abarth, but they are also Fiat agents. Of course, they are also Britain's leading exponents in the art of tuning Fiats, and with the Italian company making such good cars these days there is a heavy demand on their services. Fiat owners who want to go faster should write to Radbourne Racing Ltd., at la Clarendon Road, Holland Park Avenue, London, W.11 (Tel.: PARk 5066).

Nerus Engineering Co. Ltd.
Nerus Engineering are another of those longer established firms, sort of Elder Statesmen of the tuning world, and as such they have a good reputation. Their range is wide and covers most popular makes and they offer for most makes of car just three stages of tune for their cylinder head conversions. They are particularly noted for their work on B.M.W. engines and they have full dynamometer facilities at their premises on the Sussex coast. Their address is simply Nerus Engineering Co., Ltd., Rye, Sussex (Tel.: Rye 3043).

Neil Davis Racing
The Kent area seems to attract quite a few tuning establishments; perhaps it's the proximity of Brands Hatch that does it. One of these is Neil Davis Racing, who tune quite a wide range of machines. They have gas-flowed cylinder heads, Weber carburetters and camshafts for such machines as the Vauxhall Cresta, Ford Corsair V4, and even the Zephyr and Zodiac. Their Weber carburetter kit for either the 1200, 1300, or 1500 VW is also a good line. Their full address is Main Road, Sidcup, Kent.

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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2019 4:23 pm 
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I think we would all like a time machine for a visit to those in their hey day :)


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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2019 4:46 pm 
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Too right!

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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2019 10:46 pm 
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Thanks for posting!


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PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2019 7:21 am 
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Thanks for posting Mark :P

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PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2019 2:02 pm 
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Interesting the comment made about the Arden 8 port, Jim Whitehouse told me there was no reason it couldnt be used quite happily on the road, his own road car seemed decent enough proof of that.

Janspeed's Southampton Rd premises opened in late '67.

Funny comment on BRT that Vitafoam were confident they'd make money, one thing BRT were definitely not good at or overly interested in was making money! :lol:


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 08, 2019 10:41 am 
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Motorsport magazine, Page 21, December 1959
Looking Round the Speed Shops


Barwell Motors
Barwell Motors, of Leatherhead Road, Chessington, Surrey, do not specialise in any particular make of car; in fact they either have a standard conversion already in existence for many modern cars or are prepared to carry out a conversion on any car which they feel will benefit from tuning.

The firm's two principals, Mr. Lucas and Mr. Golding, place a great deal of reliance on the gas-flowing of cylinder heads, and they believe they have one of the only two air-flow chambers in the country, the other belonging to Harry Westlake. The device is simply a means of forcing air through the ports of a cylinder head. When a new engine is received the cylinder head is subjected to various tests in this chamber to determine the rate of flow, then modifications are carried out and more tests made until the best results are obtained. Plasticine is used to modify port shapes or if too much metal has been removed.

Naturally the B.M.C. "A" series engine receives a great deal of attention because of its popularity in racing and rallying. Barwells offer four stages of tune for the ''A" series engine. Stage 1 consists merely of a modified cylinder head with a 9.0 : 1 compression-ratio, modified and polished combustion chambers and ports, for £12 10s. Stage 2 also concerns the cylinder head but a much higher standard of finish is given to the head, while the compression-ratio goes up to 9.5 : 1 and large inlet valves are fitted. The induction manifold is also carefully matched to the enlarged parts. With special valve springs Stage 2 costs £26 10s. Stage 3 consists of the Stage 2 cylinder head together with a combined inlet and exhaust manifold and twin H2 S.U. carburetters -- all for £56 10s. Stage 4 is for the racing man, and for your £140 the engine is removed, the flywheel lightened, crankshaft, con.-rods and pistons balanced, high-compression pistons, high-lift camshaft amid special distributor fitted, while the push-rods and valve-gear are lightened. On the induction side twin H4 S.U.s are fitted, and to extract the gas a special exhaust manifold and silencer are used.

Barwell are probably unique in not taking any standing-start acceleration figures for their conversions. Ron Golding, who takes most of the Barwell performance figures, considers that so much depends on the skill of the individual driver that standing-start figures requiring a number of gear-changes can be misleading. All Barwell figures are taken in top gear, and since this merely means pushing the accelerator to the floor there can be little variation. A complete list of acceleration figures can be supplied for all stages of tune of all conversions.

Perhaps the most exciting and certainly the newest development from the Barwell stable is an aluminium cylinder head for the B.M.C. "A" series unit. This head, which weighs only 9 lb., has been exhaustively tested on an Austin Healey Sprite for some months now and has given no trouble. It is designed to replace the existing cast-iron head without modification and could be done by any competent owner in an hour or so. The prototype head was fitted to an otherwise standard Sprite and the figures obtained were very similar to those obtained with the Stage 3 conversion costing £56 10s. The new head will retail at the relatively modest price of £37.

A number of competition cars have been tuned by Barwells, one of the best known being Paul Fletcher's very fast Twin-Cam M.G. The cylinder head was gas-flowed, combustion chambers and ports carefully cleaned up and larger valves fitted, while twin double-choke Weber carburetters are used to boost the power output to 140 b.h.p. Even with twin S.U.s 130 b.h.p. has been seen. This car, which has had over £1,000 spent on development, is now up for sale as Fletcher will be racing a Formula Junior Cooper with a Barwell-tuned Ford 105E engine next season; this also has twin Weber carburetters. Development work on the 105E is well advanced and the cylinder head has been fully modified to racing standards, but there is some doubt as to whether the crankshaft will withstand sustained high r.p.m. Only tests on the track will verify this. Should everything go well several Formula Junior cars will be seen at the Brands Hatch Boxing Day meeting fitted with Barwell-tuned Ford engines.

Apart from their work on conversion measures, Lucas and Golding have done some original design work. They have worked in close collaboration with A.C. Cars for a number of years and, in fact, tune an average of two Bristol engines per week for fitting to A.C. Ace and Aceca models mainly for export to the U.S.A. Some years ago A.C. designed a twin overhead-camshaft 2.4-litre six-cylinder engine ostensibly to power the Ace, and much of the cylinder-head design work was carried out at Barwell Motors. On paper the engine was giving phenomenal power outputs but the high tooling costs of such a project caused it to be dropped. Now that the Bristol engine has reached the limit of its development the A.C. directors probably wish they had taken the risk.

The Rover is not generally regarded as a tuneable vehicle but the now-out-of-production 90, 105 and 105S have all received the Barwell attention, and for £28 one receives a considerably modified cylinder head with larger valves and highly polished combustion chambers and ports which will increase the top speed of the 105S from 95 to 100 and the top-gear 70-90 m.p.h. time from 16.4 sec. to 12.6 sec. Probably regarded as the ultimate in engine design, the 3.4-litre engine fitted to the XK120, Mk. VII and 3.4 Jaguars is capable of considerable development, and a steady flow of these models come to Chessington for attention. The top speed of the Mk. VII is raised from 102 to 115 m.p.h., while the 80-100 m.p.h. time is reduced from 14.4 to 10 sec. This is all gained with extensive modifications to the cylinder head costing £36 for the XK120 and Mk. VII and £34 for the 3.4.

Other models breathed on by Barwells include the M.G.-A, TR3, Sunbeam Rapier II, Renault Dauphine. Standard Eight, Simca Aronde and Grande Large, Austin A30, Ford Anglia, Consul, Zephyr and Zodiac, Fiat 1100 and Singer Gazelle (o.h.c.), all of which have gas-flowed cylinder heads giving a useful performance increase for around £30-£40. -- M.L.T.

V. W. Derrington
The firm of V. W. Derrington Ltd., of London Road, Kingston, Surrey, has been in the tuning business for 36 years, and was established long before tuning became fashionable. The proprietor, Mr. Victor Derrington, has been a racing driver for a good many years; in fact his exploits were described in our April issue. He has become best known for the large number of exhaust pipes and manifolds now produced at the Kingston works, models being made for most modern production cars. The four-branch manifold for the TR3 engine, which costs £20, is fully approved by the factory, and the Morgan company offer the Derrington modifications as optional equipment for the Morgan Plus Four. The modified cylinder head for TR2 and TR3 gives a compression-ratio of 9 or 9.5 : 1, and the combustion chambers are reshaped and polished, as are the inlet and exhaust ports. An exchange head costs £25. The standard inlet manifold obstructs the passage of the gas to quite a considerable extent and the Derrington induction pipe feeds the gases direct into each, giving a much higher gas speed. This manifold costs £12 10s., or with twin H6 S.U. carburetters £40. There are, of course, a number of other mods. for the TR series, including high-lift camshafts, Alfin brake drums, modified driver's seat, anti-roll bars, magnetos, competition springs, and so on which can make it into an extremely potent and more comfortable car.

A great deal of the Derrington business is done by mail order and, rather surprisingly, nearly 40 per cent. of their output is exported to all parts of the world. America is the biggest customer, with large quantities of conversions being supplied for the M.G.-A, Sprite and Austin Healey 100 models, but orders have even come in from such unlikely places as Jerusalem and Greece. ln fact, the Greek owner of an M.G.-A fitted the H.R.G.-Derrington cylinder head and made an extremely fine showing in the Acropolis Rally.

Two popular items, both of which are made at the Derrington works, are luggage grids and wooden steering wheels. A large range of grids is made for most modern cars and prices range from about £7 to over £12. Wooden steering wheels are made for such models as TR3, Austin Healey 100 and Sprite, Jaguar 2.4 and 3.4. The manufacture of these wooden wheels, which started as a sideline, now employs eight people practically full time. The bosses have to be cast, the frames cut from stout-gauge Birmabright, and the laminated rims carefully fitted and polished. These are priced at around the £12 mark and are especially popular in the States, several hundred being exported every year.

Derringtons manufacture all the exhaust manifolds for Lotus, Cooper, Vanwall and, indeed, most of the leading racing-car manufacturers. A vast number of manifolds must be kept in stock, which strains the organisation somewhat as the company has outgrown the premises which it has occupied for a number of years. For instance, six different manifolds must be kept in stock for the Ford Consul and Zephyr range to cater for one, two or three-carburetter inlet manifolds, while the convertible models need a different-shaped tail-pipe. In fact on only two models, the Riley 1.5 and Wolseley 1500 are the Derrington exhaust systems interchangeable.

Full conversions are available for a large number of vehicles, including Ford Anglia, Prefect, Squire, Escort, Thames van, new Popular -- in fact, for all 100E and 93A-engined vehicles; all B.M.C. "B" series engine models, for which the H.R.G.-Derrington cylinder head is available at £58 10s., or, of course, a modified cast-iron head at £20; the Austin Healey four- and six-cylinder models and the Sprite; all B.M.C. "A" series engines, including the A30; Morris Oxford side-valve models from 1940 to 1954; Morris Eight, Series I, II and "E" and Minor side-valve models; Standard Eight, Ten Pennant and Herald; M.G. XPAG and XPEG engines as fitted to TC, TD, TF and Y; Wolseley 4/44 and Morris Ten; o.h.v. Hillman Minx, Sunbeam Rapier, Sunbeam-Talbot 80, 90, Mk. II and III. and Humber Hawk; Fiat 1100, 500 and 600 models.

From this list it can be seen that there are few modern popular cars which are not catered for by Derringtons and, although being an old-established firm, they intend to keep abreast of all modern developments and modify new models as they are introduced. -- M.L.T.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 08, 2019 10:59 am 
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Motorsport magazine, Page 34, August 1959
Looking Round the Speed Shops


Downton Engineering
When we called on Daniel Richmond to see what the Downton Engineering Works are offering in the way of "hotting-up" equipment we found him trying to start a 1920 Rolls-Royce "Silver Ghost," reminder that he used to be a Rolls-Royce and Bentley specialist. For the past year, however, he has concentrated on tuning equipment, mainly for B.M.C.-engined cars, to such effect that he claims to have supplied to date 400 A35 and 300 Sprite kits, many of them being exported.

By way of demonstrating his wares he persuaded us to take two brief runs, the first in his A35 van, the second in a red Austin A40. The van has a combined Downton three-branch exhaust system and special inlet manifold to accommodate a single 1¼ -in. S.U. carburetter at 45 deg., a special head with enlarged valves giving a compression-ratio of 9.4 to 1, stronger valve springs, and a Gaston anti-roll bar. It can do about 80 m.p.h. and handles safely. The A40 had completely normal suspension but the engine had been endowed with Downton twin-carburetter (1¼-in. S.U.s) manifolding with triple exhaust offtakes and a head giving an 8.9 to 1 compression-ratio. An easy 70 m.p.h. showed up with no apparent decrease in flexibility and 100-octane petrol isn't necessary.

Downton can supply these combined manifolds, with proper length induction pipes, for single or twin carburetters, stage 1 or 2 cylinder heads, and special Servais silencers for A-series B.M.C. engines "over the counter" and similar parts for B-series engines to order. A typical single-carburetter conversion complete with special head, fitted, costs £37 10s., the manifolds being priced at £15, Stage 1 heads at £12 10s. and Stage 2 heads at £20, while twin H2 carburetters, with linkage and piping, to replace H1s, cost £16.

If more advanced methods are sought Downton offer their own high-lift camshafts for the A-series B.M.C., Triumph TR, M.G.-A and M.G. Twin-Cam engines. A Sprite camshaft costs £13 10s., or £9 16s. on an exchange basis. Solid-skirt, flat-topped racing pistons and lightened rockers are also available for Sprite enthusiasts.

Downton modified A35s and Sprites have been building up a fine reputation in racing, so much so that at a recent Goodwood Members' Meeting some ten out of 14 of these cars were Downton tuned. Well-known Sprite drivers using Daniel Richmond's parts include Gaston and Mackenzie, while Noble's Austin A40 is similarly equipped. A Downton-converted Sprite has lapped Snetterton at 70¼ m.p.h., the Gosport quarter-mile has been covered in 18.34 sec., and a Stage 2 A35 has lapped Goodwood at 69.79 m.p.h. An Austin A35 with special head and twin H2 carburetters can be expected to do 0 to 60 m,p.h. in 16.6 sec. and the s.s. quarter-mile in 20½ sec., the conversion totalling £56 5s. fitted. The aforesaid Gaston anti-roll bar for A35, A40 and Minor costs £8 10s. (fitting £1 extra).

An example of advanced tuning of the Sprite includes Stage 2 mods., with 10.3 to 1 compression-ratio, lightened flywheel, high-lift camshaft, modified valve gear and attention to engine balancing, such an engine costing £130 on an exchange basis. From this 0-60 in under 13 sec., the s.s. quarter-mile in about 19.3 secs., and some 94 m.p.h., is claimed.

A Renault Dauphine conversion consisting of special manifolding, a cylinder head giving a compression-ratio of 8.2 to 1, an S.U. H2 carburetter, etc., is available, totalling £47. Such treatment increases speed by some 8½ m.p.h. and the 0-60 time is halved.

At the time of our visit, apart from a Cadillac-Allard, an M.G.-A and another Sprite, work was in progress on Gaston's Austin-Healey Sprite. This now weighs 12 cwt., we were told, and has clocked a Prescott time of 50.67 sec. Twin 1½ S.U.s, a double-figure compression-ratio, and the Downton manifolding figure in the specification. The car is fastest in hard-top form. The suspension, excellent at standard weight, is proving rather troublesome with the car in lightened trim and Koni rear dampers were being experimented with.

We reminded Richmond that earlier this season his cars sometimes developed trouble which led to retirement in club races. He explained that the A35 oil pump proved less efficient than the A30 pump and some engines were wrecked until this was appreciated. He is certainly getting very good results now and although this "hotting-up" business is highly competitive, as rivals bring out new cylinder heads, etc., we shall be very surprised if Downton lags behind. -- W.B.

Speedwell
When John Sprinzel began racing an A.35 just over two years ago he little realised what it would lead to. Up to that time no one had seriously thought of racing the smallest member of the B.M.C. range and it was usually dismissed by the enthusiast as only fit for the District Nurse and such like. When he saw the interest that his car had created he realised that there was a potential market for tuning-kits and promptly set up as Speedwell Performance Conversions, the name Speedwell being taken from the local telephone exchange.

Right from the start the conversions were a success and the Speedwell "flash" became almost standard-wear on rally and racing cars. Although Speedwell directors Len Adams, George Hulbert, Lutz Arnstein, John Sprinzel and G.P. driver Graham Hill are reluctant to discuss figures it is pretty certain that around 1,000 cars are fitted with Speedwell "bolt-on goodies" in one form or another.

With the advent of the A.40 and the Sprite, Speedwell turned their attention to modifying them, which was not difficult as regards the engine but different treatments have been evolved for suspension and bodywork modifications. Now that the A.35 is virtually unobtainable, attention for saloon car motorists is naturally focused on the A.40, at least until the new "baby" models are released. Speedwell have attempted to get away from the "hot-rod" impression which the word "conversion" has created in this country and their modifications turn the A.40 into a faster but more comfortable car.

For the full A.40 conversion Speedwell supply the "Supersport" engine having modified cylinder-head, valve-gear, pistons, balanced crankshaft, special exhaust system, lightened flywheel, stronger clutch, twin-S.U. carburetters, together with an anti-roll bar for the front suspension and a safety belt for the driver. The car can be obtained in this form from Speedwell for £765 but they hope that you will prefer to have their special equipment specification which includes the fitting of water temperature and oil pressure gauges on either side of the steering-column, fully-fitted carpets to match upholstery, radiator blind, an interior light, spot and fog-lamps, metal door trim shields, rear ashtrays, windscreen-washers, heater, special brake-linings and a sound insulated engine compartment. If the car is purchased from Speedwell the price of £840 includes number plates, delivery charges, tax for a quarter and a full tank of petrol. Alternatively the car can be had in Stage II form for £810. Speedwell also recommend that customers purchase a higher axle ratio as this lowers engine revs. and adds to the luxury effect given by the interior treatment. Also included in the £840 is a two-tone paint job -- the bottom half of the body is sprayed in the same colour as the roof. The advantage of buying the car and extras from Speedwell is that a lot of trouble is saved as the enthusiast will probably buy many of the extras anyway and purchase tax is saved by buying in bulk, which is duly passed on to the customer. This de-luxe treatment can he applied to all models in the B.M.C. range and extras can be fitted according to customers' specification.

The Sprite is receiving the "full treatment" from Speedwell and a Gran Turismo version will soon be available. This will include a handsome aluminium bonnet with faired-in headlamps which hinges at the front, a wrap round windscreen and a hardtop. With these additions the Sprite should be able to compete with the Fiat-Abarth-Zagato in looks if not in speed. Experiments which are going on at present with Amal carburetters promise to provide a lot more power for the Sprite. A full racing-engine intended for Formula Junior is being experimented with, having the Elva particularly in mind and something like 70 b.h.p. is hoped for, using the Amal carburetters. A 65 b.h.p. version is fitted to one of the A.35's used for circuit racing and some good times have been realised in practice. This engine is of course not suitable for road work and will only be sold for racing.

Apart from full conversions which is the main source of business for Speedwell they can and do sell all sorts of items for tuning B.M.C. cars. One particular item which sells by the thousand is the front mounted anti-roll bar which is available for practically the whole of the B.M.C. range. This is priced at £7 for all models. For the Morris Minor 1000, Riley 1.5 and Wolseley 1500 a Gran Turismo suspension-kit is available which includes telescopic rear shock absorbers and is priced from £16 10s. to £18 10s.

The "B" Series 1500 c.c. engine is not forgotten and a conversion is available for the Wolseley 1500, Austin A.55, Nash Metropolitan and 1958 Morris Oxford at £80 plus £10 for fitting. The kit for M.G.-A, Magnette, and 1.5 Riley which already have twin-carburetters is priced at £50.

At the time of our visit the small Speedwell works in Finchley Road was bursting at the seams with cars being prepared for customers while there were several demonstration and experimental cars being worked on. The Speedwell directors are keen and successful racing and rally drivers and the preparation of their cars takes a lot of space and time but the results are undoubtedly worth the trouble. John Sprinzel drives in the official B.M.C. team and is currently planning for the Liege-Rome-Liege as well as several British rallies. Len Adams takes part in circuit racing as much as possible while Graham Hill drives when his Grand Prix commitments allow. The Speedwell team won the Six-Hour Relay race last season and are out to repeat that win in this year's event using two A.35's and an A.40.

Being car dealers as well as tuners Speedwell have to take part-exchanges and at the time of our visit were amusing themselves with a pre-war Rolls-Royce which a customer wanted to exchange. There was some talk of putting a label bearing the legend "Yet another Speedwell conversion" in the rear window but in the end wiser counsel prevailed. Although they are sorry to see the passing of the A.35, Speedwell are making plans to "ameliorate" its successors and from what we have seen they will be just as successful -- M.L.T.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 08, 2019 11:31 am 
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Thanks for posting MAB.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 08, 2019 1:26 pm 
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Mark - no mention of Bob Soper and his ram pipes :D


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