Lionel sitting on the ‘hood’ with Paul in serious discussion later in the day, in this chat we were plotting how to take on the BDA in that last race.
Clearing the pack, note the spoiler removed…this was a slow circuit & bumpy
Taking the Kapelus 1293 for 4th place
3rd place and going…At this point leading the EP cars, Lionel had the championship in the bag…and should/could have backed off….I think the red mist had come down and he was after those competition licenses promised the day before.
I have no pics of the IDA carbed engine.. but this is a more recent pic of the current Dellorto set up. Gives an idea of the installation. See notes on this engine at the end of the story.
SOME DETAILS YOU MAY FIND QUITE INTERESTING OUTSIDE OF ITEMS NOTED IN THIS STORY.
- The stock Opel mechanicals: Engine block including Caps and Bolts, Crank, Con Rods, Con Rod Bolts, Timing Chain (gears and tensioner), Camshaft casting, Oil pump, Cylinder head casting, Lifters, Pushrods and Rockers. Pistons were Vauxhall Viva (70.7cid).
- Gearbox ratios standard
- Axle ratio 4.125 but 4.875 would have been ideal.
- Front brakes: ’66 Kadett discs (DS 11)
- Rear brakes: Stock drums (AM 8)
- Tyres Dunlop treaded 12” CR84 …..(Mini Competitors using 13” Slicks)
- Suspension: Uprated springs, Stock att points, altered geometry (Caster and Front Camber) – solid bushes, Front stab bar. Car very carefully “squared up”
- No Limited Slip Differential
- Rear axle anti-dive geometry brilliant at keeping the axle grounded under acceleration.
I guess something that really gets the point home is that during the period 1969 through to end 1974 I never had a failure on track….Engine, Gearbox or rear axle. Two close calls…. a damaged big end in my first race in 1969 due to not baffling the sump and a broken accelerator linkage in a 2 hour…repaired and went on to win on index. That’s it.
So…. There were many questions over the years centering around “if its so good why has this Kadett not been raced by more people?” well…. there was some interest in the period 1963 to 1965 which left behind one amazing stat for the record books. The RDM 9 hour….7 starts and 6 classified finishes. Better still in the ‘63 and ‘64 events these 993cc cars finished 9th and 10th overall in a field of over 35 cars in both races. Arguably the best start/finish record of any saloon car in the history of the race…..Its arguable because the Renault guys claim rights to this…OK if you count the number of starts, the Renaults are way ahead….but…if you calculate the % finishes….the Kadetts are ahead with 85%. The single failure was a clutch lining coming apart.
In 1966, GM had to abide by the local content rules and built an engine plant to supply all the product being built in SA with local engines, excepting V8’s. This resulted in the British Vauxhall version of this engine being fitted to both the Viva and the Kadett in SA from then on. In standard set-up the engines were pretty much the same and had the same ultimate power potential, but the VM engine was “softer” in all the criticals. Cast crank and rods and whilst the same valve train design, the British could not match the German manufacturing quality. Many 200 hour durability runs had pushrods penetrating those pressed rockers!!!
I have modified many of both types and as far as Horsepower goes in a road car….no difference. In fact the best effort in the go faster world was with the Vauxhall engine….The Brabham Viva GTO of 1965. This was an effort by Brabham to convince Vauxhall to get into this thing seriously. At 1200cc and fitted with a close ratio gearbox, Autocar tests showed it to be quicker than a Lotus Cortina or 1275 Cooper S in acceleration and hit 105 mph at 7000rpm in top. Vauxhall got the jitters and canned that effort.
You may ask what happened after 1965 on track locally?…..GM happened…. and the infamous ‘no racing’ policy to Dealers. Many tuners, most notably George Armstrong, were really keen and trying to get the General involved but to no avail. That, ultimately is where the blame for not seeing the full potential of this engine design lies. Not only in SA but in the UK and Germany.
At this point, many of you may be thinking that this is just another “the older I get the faster I was” story and that is exactly what I would like to dispel. I have resurrected a project first started in 2012 (delayed due to the happenings of life ) to do it all again. You will appreciate that for us oldies it is a bit scary doing stuff like this because one genuinely questions one’s own recollection of the past …..and I will be frank, what happens if we can’t replicate what we ‘remember’ to be the outcomes at the time?
Well this is what I have got for starters….and you be the judge…..
That is my road car (on road tyres 13”175/50 Yokies & drum brakes) giving a brace of Renault turbos a hard time. I was cheating a bit ‘cos under the bonnet was the first stab at an engine since the 70’s. A full house 1272cc version of the original utilizing a 1200 engine block from the first FWD ‘D’ Kadett. How fast really?… on a few of those laps waited for the red Megane out of the hairpin and pulled two car lengths before the sweep up the hill…. If I shifted to 4th at that point the Megane would hold station. If I held third to 9000rpm to a brake marker at the table top (97mph & not fair on a 35 year old crankshaft)… another car length.
1272cc Split 45 Dellorto installation.
So, I am in the process of building a race car and as happens in these projects, things take longer than anticipated. Once the project gets some momentum I will post progress more regularly.
Our next tale will again be Ford/GM going back to the late 60’s and covering a subject that Fordies think they owned lock stock and barrel in the development of the FVA and DFV. Don’t be so sure guys, the General was not asleep in the area of 4 valve tech and we will cover the development of an engine in GM’s armory that made one sit up and take notice……this one carries with it one of the greatest ironies in engine development ever.