I’ve just got back from Autosport International and four days of helping to man the PPC stand.  I have to say how good it was to meet so many readers and get their feed-back on the magazine.  I also particularly enjoyed seeing our esteemed Editor backed into a corner trying to explain exactly how he managed to crash his Quattro pretty much while going in a straight line!

Thanks for the comments both good and bad, it all helps the editorial team direct their efforts towards features that you really want to read about.  For my small contribution I was surprised how much interest there still was in the old CCC Project Shed.  My Fiesta is actually running now and Kev has twisted my arm to bring it out at the PPC Party in the Park at Mallory.  Since that’s still some way off I have agreed to get it track worthy again but no doubt it will be a last minute panic looking for tyres and spanner checking the suspension etc, a day or so before the big day.  Maybe I’ll see you there?

Jaguar D Type

ppc-mar-jag1Back at the ranch it was a bit quiet just before Christmas but I still had a few cars booked in for the rolling road.  A superb D Type Jaguar booked in running three Jenvey throttle bodies that had been fitted inverted to make them look a bit more like the original Jaguar D Type injection system.  This made it a bit of a pain to get at the throttle stops but it did make a big difference to the under bonnet look.

I had previously run this car up on twin SU carbs and while the top end mixture had been about right it had been running far too rich in the mid-range.  These beautiful classic straight six engines never did actually make the power claimed for them but they were still pretty potent for their day.  ppc-mar11-jag2The Jenvey bodies added another 25 bhp to the peak power and this example was not far off what the works cars were claimed to be running in 1955.  The nearest I have ever come to owning a D Type was a Scalextric model so it was really nice to sit in a proper car and pretend that I was humming down the Mulsanne straight passing works Mercs; instead of sitting on a rolling road tapping away at a keyboard.

Mankee Caterham

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No doubt you will read elsewhere in PPC about Mankee coming here with his Caterham for a power run.  He was concerned about the mapping with a lot of track days on the horizon.  Good job he did too, read about it in his section of the mag.

Young Ollie

I have been setting up Blaine Neaves’ K Series MGB for a while now and last season I did all three cars when his two sons took up racing. ppc-mar11-ollieOne of them, Ollie Neaves, managed to get real close to winning his race series.  It was all down to the last race and knowing that he did not have the money to do all the rounds next year he was desperate to get the points.   Having done just that he then lent his championship winning car to a competitor so he could experience for himself what a great conversion the K Series is in the MGB.  To cut a long story short Ollie is now building a new engine after the blow up!

 

Capri

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I see a fair few Capri's in one form or another but just lately the Cosworth 24 valve V6 seems to be the favourite.  The example shown here though was a bit different.  This one sports a Rover V8 with a supercharger.  The idea was not to go for massive power but more a spread of torque that would be good on the road as well as the track.  The boost was not quite there at 4 psi but it made 250 bhp and a wall of torque.  One interesting thing was the tacho.  The owner reported that he had been to 7,000rpm on the tacho and it had not blown the engine.  I was getting peak bhp at about 5,800rpm on my computer screen.  It turned out that the tacho on the dash was over-reading by about 1000rpm!  I think I could well be seeing this car again with either a different blower or different blower drive ratio.

Electric Elise

ppc-mar11-elise1Probably the most unusual car I have ever had on the rollers was an all Electric Elise, done as an independent project, not an official Lotus offering.  This was a professional job pretty much built from scratch, rather than a DIY conversion.  To say the least the driving experience was “weird”.  For a start you have nothing happening on tick-over because there is no engine to tick-over.  You select drive and then put your foot down to pull away.  I found it really hard to get my head around what was going on.  The idea of maximum torque at no rpm was a concept that I could not come to terms with; putting your foot down at any rpm gave instant wheel-spin.  One of my tasks was to run the engine under power to see how long it took to drain the batteries under load.  I set the power at a given road speed and just watched the bhp reading dropping down.  At one point the power dropped to zero and the road speed started to fall away.  Then the bhp reading went up again as the electronics sorted out which battery had what left and re-distributed the load.

ppc-mar11-elise2I have no doubt in my mind that an all-electric car would have superior performance over the infernal combustion engine and sooner or later the technology for batteries and charging will make it a lot more practical than it is today.  At the moment range is the problem and the time taken for re-charging the batteries.  Regarding the “Green Credentials” of the electric car I have my doubts.  If the power comes for a power station with a dirty exhaust what’s the difference?

I know it’s not a popular view but I don’t personally believe a word of all this Global warming business.  My feeling is that it’s just a convenient story so that the Governments around the world can tax us some more and blame global warming rather than owning up that they are peeing our money up the wall.  If we now have the worst weather and floods for 50 years then surely that means that it was just as bad (or worse) fifty years ago?  Stick up the VAT, put more tax on petrol and its bonuses all round eh chaps?  After all, how can you complain when the politicians are saving the planet: remember; it’s for our own good.