Before doing the engine strip I decided to do a tad more work. The Bazooka had arrived unexpectedly and I figured it would be fun to see how this piece of history functioned before pulling the motor. Time was tight and the Xmas hols looming. The device was fitted purely as a ‘look and see’ exercise and was not expecting too much at all due to the fact that there were mismatches in carb to adaptor bore sizes (40 DCOE vs 45mm adaptor runners) as well as adaptor to inlet manifold bore diameter differences. Also the inlet manifold itself something of a departure from the norm. The results were surprising…..but before we get there, a little background.
I will be doing a detailed history of the device, its application and function in the racing world of the 70’s in future posts but for now just some info on why the Bazooka became a necessary tool in local saloon car racing. This is a perfect example of how, more often than not, race engineers confound restrictive rules…… and this is a response to one of the more idiotic saloon car race regulations of our time. To understand that statement, we need to look at something I have mentioned often before in these posts, the pre ’71 saloon car race regs….Essentially, during the latter portion of the 60’s the group 5 regulations, along with the appendix J, allowed modifications which were rapidly moving towards what amounted to a ‘free for all’. The rules, mixed with the fairy-tale homologation specs delivered by those manufacturers serious about racing, eventually saw us running turbo/supercharged versions of your average family car along with freedoms such as fabricated engine blocks…..the cars were hardly representative of what the original idea of saloon car racing was about. The Supercharged Scheckter Gordini, as well as Y151 the Meissner Escort in both 2 litre TC form fitted with that welded-up engine block and in 1400cc turbocharged form with a Boost tank in the boot, were products of brilliant engineering brains and fascinating achievements for those involved but….. really???……something had to be done to get things back on track……pun intended. Enter the group two regs of 1971.
On the face of it, the new regs were a step in the right direction but one fundamental flaw showed this to be more of a cut and paste option than a well thought out solution to optimising saloon car racing……
……the rules required that the standard production inlet manifold and the same number of carburettor choke tubes as used on the production car should be used in the race application.…!??
For those that think that I am writing this just scratching up something to help fill the page, think again. I was incensed at the time…not only because it countered any common sense in race engine fundamentals by limiting cylinder filling but it excluded a range of cars which could have made saloon car racing far more representative of the car market than the rather stereotyped variation of product we had watched for most of the 60’s.
The most cost effective single ‘mod’ in BHP per Dollar terms of the 60’s….free carburetion….was chucked in the bin. When one considers that probably the most important issues in saloon car racing are the need to facilitate increased engine power and at the same time attempt to keep the playing field competitive …..the new rules did neither…spectacularly.
In the small classes it further entrenched the Mini/Renault hold on activities and apart from the appearance of the lone Santana1200 GX Datsun tuned by maestro Hennie, all having multiple carb set-ups in stock form….Fords were in a bit of trouble… but not for long.
At this point just consider the established small Ford race contingent. Having been allowed to run free manifolding and sidedraught carburetion on both versions of the Kent engines in everything from Anglias, Cortinas and eventually Escorts since 1963, the gang were now restricted to what amounted to a manifold designed for a downdraught DCD Weber. Fortunately for the Kent men, the GT versions of the engine utilising that twin choke Weber carburettor had one piece of good fortune running their way ….. the manifold had fairly generous runner size. This could accommodate better air flow volumes….. so the application of a larger carburettor could bring significant benefits. The obvious choice was to move to the DCOE Sidedraught carb to give the increased flow and do so on some sort of adaptor. Conventional adaptors soon arrived, allowing larger choke tube sizes and better flow by using any of the big Weber DCOE sidedraughts…. power was up…. but not spectacularly.