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Panasport Racing Wheels for Sale

panasport wheels

Panasport Wheels for Sale,  New in Boxes

Contact: stirlingwatts@gmail.com

Panasport wheels are among the most sought after aftermarket brands.  If you’re looking for Panasport wheels for sale, I have a few sets of never- used and brand new wheels, as well as a few wheels that have had tires mounted and have been used only one or two weekends.

I’m selling them at quite affordable prices.  See summary below.

  I recently re-acquired a BMW 2002 race car package (previously my own car and I now have it back again), and the purchase package included many parts and accessories I really have no need of. I don’t need this many extra wheels!

 

Be sure also to Like my new Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BMW2002ClubRacing

Panasport 15×7

I have two extra sets of brand new Panasport 15×7 racing wheels.  The most common applications include MGB,  Miata and 240Z, and as in my case,  BMW 2002 and other BMW racing applications.

The Panasport 15×7 specs are:

4×100 bolt pattern

2 ¼ inch center zero offset

Steel valve stems installed.

Asking Price:  $995 per set.

These wheels presently retail for $325 each.

 

Panasport 13×6

I run wheels just like these on my own 1976 BMW 2002 street car.  These extra 13 inchpanasport wheels wheels were all ordered before a decision was made to convert the 2002 race car to 15 inch wheels.

So I have two extra sets still in their boxes.  I also have a few slightly used ones (I don’t have an exact count right now) that I might consider selling at a lower price.  Make me an offer on the slightly used ones

The Panasport 13×6 specs are:

4×100 bolt pattern

2 ¼ inch center

9 mm offset

steel valve stems installed

Asking price:  $795 per set.

These wheels currently retail for  $290.

 

Panasport 13×7

panasport wheelsAgain these extra 13 inch wheels were all ordered before a decision was made to convert the 2002 race car to 15 inch wheels.

So I have two extra sets still in their boxes.  I also have a few slightly used ones (I don’t have an exact count right now) that I might consider selling at a lower price.  Make me an offer on the slightl;y used ones.

The Panasport 13×7 specs are:

4×100 bolt pattern

2 ¼ inch center

3 mm offset

steel valve stems installed

Asking price:  Also $795 per set. (I have only one set)

The 13×6 and 13×7 wheels are priced about the same MSLP, right now at $290.

 

Other Brands

I also have some odds and ends in other brands of racing wheels available, as well as a ton of 4×100 mm bolt pattern steel wheels Once again,

If you have any interest at all in purchasing these wheels, please send me an email at stirlingwatts@gmail.com

Panasport Racing Wheels for Sale

panasport 15 x 7

Panasport Wheels for Sale,  New in Boxes

Contact: stirlingwatts@gmail.com

Panasport wheels are among the most sought after aftermarket brands.  If you’re looking for Panasport wheels for sale, I have a few sets of never- used and brand new wheels, as well as a few wheels that have had tires mounted and have been used only one or two weekends.

I’m selling them at quite affordable prices.  See summary below.

  I recently re-acquired a BMW 2002 race car package (previously my own car and I now have it back again), and the purchase package included many parts and accessories I really have no need of. I don’t need this many extra wheels!

 

Be sure also to Like my new Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BMW2002ClubRacing

Panasport 15×7

I have two extra sets of brand new Panasport 15×7 racing wheels.  The most common applications include MGB,  Miata and 240Z, and as in my case,  BMW 2002 and other BMW racing applications.

The Panasport 15×7 specs are:

4×100 bolt pattern

2 ¼ inch center zero offset

Steel valve stems installed.

Asking Price:  $995 per set.

These wheels presently retail for $325 each.

 

Panasport 13×6

I run wheels just like these on my own 1976 BMW 2002 street car.  These extra 13 inchpanasport wheels wheels were all ordered before a decision was made to convert the 2002 race car to 15 inch wheels.

So I have two extra sets still in their boxes.  I also have a few slightly used ones (I don’t have an exact count right now) that I might consider selling at a lower price.  Make me an offer on the slightly used ones

The Panasport 13×6 specs are:

4×100 bolt pattern

2 ¼ inch center

9 mm offset

steel valve stems installed

Asking price:  $795 per set.

These wheels currently retail for  $290.

 

Panasport 13×7

panasport wheelsAgain these extra 13 inch wheels were all ordered before a decision was made to convert the 2002 race car to 15 inch wheels.

So I have two extra sets still in their boxes.  I also have a few slightly used ones (I don’t have an exact count right now) that I might consider selling at a lower price.  Make me an offer on the slightl;y used ones.

The Panasport 13×7 specs are:

4×100 bolt pattern

2 ¼ inch center

3 mm offset

steel valve stems installed

Asking price:  Also $795 per set. (I have only one set)

The 13×6 and 13×7 wheels are priced about the same MSLP, right now at $290.

 

Other Brands

I also have some odds and ends in other brands of racing wheels available, as well as a ton of 4×100 mm bolt pattern steel wheels Once again,

If you have any interest at all in purchasing these wheels, please send me an email at stirlingwatts@gmail.com

Ducati 350 Mk 3 and PBIR Track Day Report of 02/09/14

ducati 350

The Fast Ones Ducati 350 On-Site at PBIR Track Day

ducati 350

Martin Weiss, aka Reptile Motos, on his Moto Guzzi V7 at PBIR Track Day on 02/09/14

Okay, honestly this is really an article about the Ducati 350 that Eric is racing now.  But it’s also a short track day report.  The Fast Ones and Reptile Motos recently made an appearance at the February 9th track day at PBIR, formerly known as Moroso Motorsports Park, near West Palm Beach.  The Sunday track day followed a vintage bike show which had been held in downtown West Palm Beach.

02/08/14 Vintage Show in West Palm Beach

ducati 350

 

Moto Guzzi specialist Martin Weiss, owner/operator of Reptile Motos in Orlando, Eric Watts (Ducati 350), yours truly (Eric’s father and the Ducati’s original owner), and Martin’s step son, Izzy, drove down from Orlando, representing The Fast Ones Vintage Racing at the track day.  Weducati 350 also did a quick walk through of the downtown show on Saturday afternoon before driving back out to the track for camping.

Saturday Night Camping and Drag Racing

ducati 350

Saturday night camping at Moroso/PBIR

It was great camping weather, though quite noisy at the track until the wee hours of the morning! Saturday night also offered the opportunity to watch drag racing, comprised of competition between all sorts of cars, from modified street legal cars to full alcohol motors in rail chassis, to junior dragsters piloted by kids.

Sunday 02/09/14 Track Day

ducati 350

Martin gets a ride on the PBIR Schleppwagen back to the paddock after a kill switch failure

Martin’s rode his well prepared V7 Sport Moto Guzzi, the bike being on track for only the second time since its arrival from its original home in Luzern Switzerland, Martin’s former homeland.  Other than missing a couple of sessions due to the failure of a cheap Chinese made kill switch on the Guzzi, Martin had a full and happy day of track riding.

ducati 350

Tim Gundlach on his loop frame Guzzi

We pitted next to Tim Gundlach and his brother, both Guzzi riders, and builders of the “Raven”.  The Raven is an interesting home-built classic look machine featuring a Guzzi engine turned sideways to create a classic looking V-twin configuration.  It is chain driven and has the appearance of a 1930s era bike.  They claim to be able to make it go quite quickly, so  I was disappointed that they didn’t ride the Raven on track. It would have been really great to watch a good rider passing 600cc sport bikes.  Pitted on our other side was Martin’s good friend Bobby Summerville, aboard a Tonti framed Guzzi.

The video below is from Tim’s Ambassador 750 Guzzi.  You can see Martin exiting to the pits near the end.

And here is some action of Martin on the V7 recorded by Eric:

 

The Real Subject of this post, Our Ducati 350

Eric’s day was only a little bit disappointing, as we had all wanted to see the Ducati ridden again.  Since the Ducati got no track time this weekend, and because everything in my own little world was revolving around it, then I suppose this post is more about the Ducati and its history than it is about the track day. The backdrop of the track day and the camaraderie and good times spent with fellow motorcycling enthusiasts makes a great foundation for the story.

 History of Eric/Stirling Watts’ Ducati 350.

This Ducati has a fresh motor, just put back together about 15 years ago.  The bike itself had been disassembled since 1991 and scattered about my garage.  Martin spent the past couple of months getting the Ducati re-assembled, but it was not quite as ready as we had hoped.   Let me take a step backwards 41 years to fill in the blanks.

The Initial Purchase

In the fall of 1973 I was a senior in high school.  I was riding a Ducati Mototrans 350 single (manufactured under license from Ducati in Barcelona) which I had purchased brand new earlier in the spring from the Columbus, Ohio Ducati/MotoGuzzi dealership.  I believe the price for the Mototrans was $943, and my mom got me a loan to help me buy it.  In October 1973 I found this Mk 3 350 for sale at a business called “Corvair’s” in Columbus.  They were in the business of buying inventory cheap from businesses that were closing their doors, much like the Odd Lots of today.  Corvair’s of Columbus had purchased about a dozen brand new Ducati singles out of Canada from a dealership that had closed its doors. I got wind of the deal from the young fellow who worked as a mechanic for the Columbus Ducati dealer.

ducati 350

This is a desmo version similar to our bike when it was new. This bike was in the Saturday show in West Palm Beach.

I went out to Corvair’s on a cold rainy October Saturday morning and looked over the selection of Ducati singles they had purchased.  If I had had a few thousand bucks I would have bought them all, but I had to make a choice.  Besides Ducatis, there were also a couple of MZ two stroke MX bikes in the lot.  In the Ducati department there was, as I recall, a blue 250 Mk3 with Desmo head, a couple of yellow 450 Scramblers, a variety of others that I don’t remember, and the one that caught my attention -  a red 350 Mk 3 with a springer head.  I think they also had a silver colored one.  No titles were available, and I bought the bike from them for just a little over $600.  Dad had a lawyer friend who got me a title.

I kept both of these Ducati singles (the Mototrans and the Mk 3) for a while.  After I got back from Switzerland about a year later, I ended up selling the orange Mototrans Ducati for about $500.  I needed a car, and that money was applied towards the purchase of my first car, a 1967 Fiat 124 Sedan.  I kept riding the Mk 3 in stock form on the street until about 1983.

Florida Road Racing in the 1980s

ducati 350

Jim Tribou GSXR 750, inside, and Henry DeGouw, TZ 750, in 1986 at Loudon

In the middle of the 1984 season I started road racing with American Association of Motorcycle Road Racers (AAMRR) at Moroso.  The Florida branch of AAMRR was the original group managed by TZ750 rider extraordinaire, Henry DeGouw.  Henry’s group later became AMA CCS, which still races at PBIR today, and is still under the management of Henry.

There was a very informal group of vintage Florida AAMRR riders who started to become organized around 1985.  After I ran my GS1000 and GS750 for a season at Moroso, I decided to transform the Mk 3 into a full race bike.  It went through several configurations of various home-made seats, rear set controls, gas tanks and megaphones.  During those years I also began to race more with the WERA vintage program in Savannah, and with a really informal and fun group called Florida Gran Prix Riders.  I only ever raced with them at the old Sebring, but they also ran some at some other cheap makeshift racetracks in Florida, including Gainesville Raceway and the Tampa Fairgrounds parking lot.  It was a fun but sometimes slightly dangerous group to race with.

Does anyone know what became of Dwaine Williams?  He ran a little motorcycle speed shop in Lakeland.  Dwaine and Henry DeGouw never saw eye to eye, and the story was that Henry kicked Dwaine out of the track grounds at Moroso back in the AAMRR days for some blatant safety infraction, or for just being a dick, or something like that.  Dwaine then decided to start his own informal and low budget racing club, which became FGPRA.  I stayed out of the politics.  I only know it was cheap to race in FGPRA and it was a lot of fun.  Dwaine rode a very modified 750 Norton quite quickly, which he trailered on a little open trailer behind a clapped out 70s era big Chevy or Oldsmobile sedan.  I rather liked Dwaine, but a lot of people avoided FGPRA because of the personality clashes he had with other organizations which I chose to stay clear of.

ducati 350

Here is Syd Tunstall a few years back working on Malcolm’s bike at au unknown event.

The Tunstalls also came to those Sebring FGPRA events, and it was there that I became a little bit acquainted with Malcolme, the son who is roughly my age, and Syd Tunstall,  Malcome’s Dad. Syd was an Englishman who had immigrated to the US and later became Ducati’s original and sole US importer back in 1959.

When I bought my Ducati, Ducati was an unknown name.  I mean completely unknown.  Now Ducati is a big name, and nobody even knows of the Tunstall family and their contributions to the success of Ducati.  Syd never got much credit for putting them on the map here.  You can read more about the Tunstall family in Mick Walker’s book “Ducati Singles”.

AHRMA Daytona 1986 and 1987

Eric was there!  He was three months old.  We ran the all three bikes at the Daytona during bike week in 1986 and 1987.  At that time the AMACCS modern bike cluib races races and the AHRMA vintage races both ran during bike week.  Accordingly I rode the Ducati in the vintage events and the big Suzukis in the AMACCS full track configuration.  These were the only AHRMA events I ever ran, as the organization did not really appeal to me.  First, the AHRMA of that era was comprised mostly of riders who had little or no track experience.  Secondly they were quite adamant about their rather unreasonable rules which in my opinion left no room for imagination and creativity.  That was why I always favored riding with WERA, FGPRA, and the sometimes non-existent vintage group within CCS and AAMRR.  These groups always had more of a “run what you brung” mentality, and let you go out and race and have fun.  That’s really the only point.  I felt that AHRMA represented a snobbish element with which I did not care to associate.

Engine Modifications

For the first two seasons, we ran the engine stock. When it came time for a complete tear down which included splitting the cases, we decided to just go all the way.

The Bottom End

ducati 350Ducati single engines utilize a pressed together roller bearing crankshaft.  This means that the big end bearing is fit to extremely tight tolerances, has an extremely long life, is well lubricated and thus offers much less rotational friction than does the more common setup of plain split bearing inserts.  This also means that replacing the connecting rod and ensuring that bearing tolerances are correct is no simple task.

I chose to have the crankshaft lightened and rebalanced by a crankshaft specialist, Falicon, located in Tampa.   That work would be a wasted effort without also lightening and strengthening the connecting rod.  The rod was purchased from Carillo, a reputable competition connecting rod manufacturer.  I got my hands on the connecting rod, then purchased the appropriate roller bearings from a bearing specialist in England, checked and rechecked tolerances, and had Falicon press it all together again.

The ends of the crankshaft, as well as the transmission shafts ride in ball bearing assemblies which are pressed into the case castings.  When they get worn out, you split the cases and press them out.  We pressed them out and obtained the required replacements.  Putting new ball bearing assemblies into this type of engine requires heating the cases in an oven to expand the size of the openings, and freezing the ball bearing assemblies to make them smaller, and then swiftly and efficiently pressing them back in. On two occasions this was accomplished in my own kitchen using the oven and the freezer, and a press.

The piston is a tried and tested piece supplied by Malcome Tunstall.  The manufacturer is Arias. The Tunstalls have had great success with this piston.  I didn’t measure the compression ratio, but it is advertised as roughly 10.5 to 1.  We did, however, measure the piston to valve tolerance, just to be sure there would be no unexpected internal collisions.

The Head

ducati 350

This is not our bike again. This picture shows a Dell’Orto 29mm with remote float.

We are currently running a stock head with standard valves and the square slide 29 mm DellOrto carb that came on the bike.  We plan to fit our more modified head sometime soon, but we elected not to install it this time due to some oiling difficulties.  Fitted with that head the engine burned oil only after getting significantly hot, and the only conclusion we could come to is that the wall between the valve box and the ported out intake tract is so thin that oil is getting sucked in when it gets thin enough to be sucked in.  Perhaps the ported tract need to be thickened and reshaped.

For what it’s worth, in my modifed head I installed a 42 mm intake valve from a Chrysler engine, and the exhaust valve was increased to 36 mm.  I had the valve seat work done by someone more experienced than myself.  Cams are stock grind, and you can’t get much more radical with cam timing really.  The Mk 3 valve spring head cam timing is virtually identical with the cam timing in the desmodromic head.

In the hogged out intake tract, we ran a 36 mm round slide DellOrto from a Ducati 750 Sport.   I built my own intake “manifold” to match the big carb to the hogged out intake port.  (It’s not really a manifold, but simply an adaptor, on a single cylinder engine).

We never tested this engine, but I have read that Ducati engines with similar modifications have delivered dynamometer results over 40 bhp.  Of course, we are going to have to fix this modified head again before we ever see those numbers.  But according to Mick Walker, Ducati 350 singles in such a state of tune have reached over 120 mph on the Isle of Man.

Modifications by the late Gregg Woodruff

Maybe I’m getting off track again.  But this is a good point at which to introduce the contributions of my late good friend Gregg Woodruff.  Gregg and I became friends when we were both employed by the contractor for technical services for the USAF Eastern Test Range.  The ETR supports all USAF funded launch activities originating from facilities on Cape Canaveral AFS.  Our activities included launch and tracking related work both at the Cape and at downrange tracking and communications stations which were located in The Bahamas, Antigua, and Ascension Island in the South Atlantic.

Gregg worked as a machinist and fabricator in the metal shops at Patrick AFB, and I was ducati 350in the Communications engineering group on the same base.  We both came from sports car and motorcycle racing families. It was perfect match.  I could create work orders for “antenna parts” and Gregg could manufacture them!  The US Air Force never had any idea that they were actually sponsoring a vintage racing bike.  Besides, those guys in the shops had nothing to do most of the time.

Aluminum Alloy Swingarm and Rearset Brake

One of the most beautiful pieces of work on this bike is the cast aluminum alloy swingarm adapted from a Kawasaki KX-80.  On a manual milling machine, Gregg fabricated two beautiful shock mounting lugs from forged aluminum which were then heli-arced to the swingarm.  The swingarm rides in needle bearings as opposed to the standard bronze bushings about which the more flexible steel tubing swingarm rotated.  There is a little bit of a tire clearance issue, so it’s preferable to use a 100/80 rather than a 100/90 sized rear tire.  The rear wheel could also come back a bit more in the swingarm to provide more tire clearance if we would go up a few teeth on the rear sprocket and compensate by using a smaller drive sprocket up front.

This swingarm is, or was at the time we built it, unacceptable to AHRMA, and technically it was not even allowed under the WERA rules.  But in WERA and especially in FGRPRA, nobody really cares.  Besides, I used to also run the 350 in the F3 class against real 125 two stroke road racers, and in F3, modifications are unlimited.  We wanted to build a special modernized and improved Ducati, and not just a nice looking relic restored to factory specs.

ducati 350

You can see a little of the modified Kawasaki KX 80 aluminum swingarm in this picture

We elected not to use any rearset control on the shift lever.  This bike, like all Italian bikes built before the federal mandate for left side shift levers, shifts on the right side in a one up four down pattern in stock form.  The factory shift lever was a heel and toe design which was operated from forward and centrally positioned rider/operator footpegs.  The rider/operator footpegs are too far forward for roadracing work and have been removed. The rearset footpegs are simply the factory passenger footpegs.  From the rear passenger position, the transmission can be easily shifted  by simply pushing and pulling the back arm of the double shift lever, the back art being initially designed to be operated by the heel.  The front arm of the shift lever has been cut off.  Thus, since shifting is done from the passenger peg, the shift pattern is inverted, making it a one down and four up pattern.

The rear brake lever is a beautifully crafted forged aluminum allow piece which actuates the brake via a rod. These parts were also fabricated in the PAFB shops.

BSA 650 Triple Clamps and Tapered Roller Steering Head Bearings

This was a pretty easy conversion.  Ball bearing steering heads wear a lot, always require adjustment, and always seem to have a little bit of slop and play in them.  The stock forks which utilized short external springs mounted up top were initially replaced by used Triumph forks which measured about 34mm in diameter.  That has been updated since the current forks are 35mm units from a Guzzi, adapted for the purpose of the eventual disc brake conversion.

The Front Brake

Back in the day, when I was trying to mores strictly follow vintage class rules, I elected to install a real drum brake.  I bought a 4 leading shoe front drum brake from a Suzuki 750 water buffalo, drilled it full of holes for cooling and to help lighten the whole assembly, and adapted it to the above referenced Triumph forks.  It worked pretty well, in fact much better than did the wimpy little stock 2 shoe brake, but it was heavy.

This time the decision was made to build a special, not just a replica.  It was to have real brakes.  Several years back I had purchased a Guzzi front hub which would carry a disc.  Martin purchased a new Akront style rim (I think the rim is actually a Borrani) and laced it to the Guzzi hub.  Guzzi forks replaced the worn out Triumph tubes, which were too long anyway.  Some material had to be removed from the triple clamps to accommodate the larger diameter fork tubes.  The result is what you see.  It has real brakes now!

Technically the disc brake should be permitted under vintage rules, even though I am sure AHRMA and WERA rules still prohibit it, as the 1974 Ducati 350 Sport did offer a single front disc as an option.

The Fairing and Tank and Seat

ducati 350

Fitting the fairing in Reptile Motos Shop

I used a variety of gas tanks on this bike.  At first I used the stock Mk 3 tank and a home made fiberglass single seat, with no fairing.  As time went on I fitted a Yamaha TZ 125 fairing and windscreen, and built a replacement fiberglass seat that I never liked.  At one point in the 80s I bought a 250SCR narrow case Ducati for parts, and I think that’s where I got the bigger steel tank, which looked pretty good.  And I even tried to fold up sheet aluminum and build an alloy tank, which was hideously ugly.  I did show up at the track in that configuration once, and it didn’t look so bad because the fairing was hiding it.

I apologize for not having any pictures from the old days.  I never thought about pictures, and it seems to me that people in general thought about pictures far less in the days of analog film only.  Somewhere I do have a stack of photos, in an old box somewhere – one of those boxes that’s been moved from house to house over the years.

The folded aluminum seat was built by the metal shops at Patrick AFB.  It was designed to go with the angular looking folded and heli arced tank that looked so bad.  But the seat came out nicely, and for the sake of a unique look, we decided to keep it when we purchased the factory replica racing tank and fairing from Tunstall’s.  They also sell a couple of very attractive fiberglass seats for Ducati singles, but we felt that this seat adds some personality to the bike.

The red white and green paint scheme currently in use was Martin’s idea.  It resembles the 750 Hailwood replica fairing, but it is still unique.  I had painted my old TZ 125 fairing in a similar red white and green scheme because it was supposed to resemble an Italian flag.  I had not even thought about the Hailwood replica.  Martin fabricated the fairing mounts which allow the fairing to be quickly removed using eight quarter turn Dzus fasteners.

Exhaust Megaphone

With the smaller stock 29mm Dell’Orto installed, martin wisely chose to use the smaller megaphone which I had initially used in the Ducatis earlier racing days.  It’s a straight through megaphone.  I have also a larger output megaphone which I had used with the ported head and 36mm carb.  It tends to make power at higher revs, while the smaller opening tends to spread power more evenly through the usable rpm range.  Both of them sound good, and are not annoyingly loud at all.

Weight

In Martin’s shop we weighed in using an electronic scale at 251 pounds wet with the bike race ready.  That’s quite an improvement over the initial 280 pounds dry in street trim, which means that a Mk 3 on the street weighed somewhere around 295 pounds wet as a street bike.

We reduced weight to the extreme is a number of ways that most people don’t even bother with.  Most important is the reduction of reciprocating weight, especially in the drive train.  That’s the biggest reason that flywheels are removed and crankshafts are lightened in competitive racing motors.  We drilled holes in every reciprocating as well as in other non reciprocating parts.  We even hollowed out the centers of a number of the heavier bolts.  Some would find this a bit absurd, and, admittedly, maybe it is!

Troubles at PBIR and Future Plans

ducati 350

Time to take the clutch apart again!

We basically had trouble with three items.  First off, starting this bike with the higher compression piston installed has never been easy.  Combined with the fact that the oil bath clutch was not fresh, we experienced some starting difficulties.  We were using standard Castrol, which is kind of slippery stuff, and found that when the clutch was dropped in second gear when push starting, the clutch was just slipping.  That behavior combined with the fact that the idle jetting is not right on, gave us some huge starting problems.  We also failed to start with a fresh set of points, and did not have the timing precisely set.

ducati 350

Eric and Martin discussing what to do next

We had successfully started the bike and run it up and down the street the day before, but on track day it just refused to light up.  We fiddled with fresh plugs, cleaned the points repeatedly, moved the timing around, and even took the clutch apart and dried to plates off to give it some extra grip to get it started.  After accidentally losing some clutch linkage parts through the clutch actuating tube, we decided we should go do some work before the next event.

To remedy these problems, three modifications are planned for the near future.  Electronic pointless ignitions with a choice of programmed advance curves are now available.  Dry clutch kits are also readily available off the shelf for Ducati singles.  Those changes, supplemented by a set of starting rollers, will cure the starting blues, and once we get it warmed up with a selection of the right idle jets, we will be enabled to make this thing more reliable.

The other future plan is the addition of an electronic tach.  We were not able to locate the mechanical drive parts which drive the tach from the bevel gears, but after some consultation with the Tunstall family, Malcome suggested going the electronic route on account of tach drive failures in the past that head caused some bevel gear damage.

Thank You, Reptile Motos!

ducati 350All of the work that went into resurrecting the Ducati was due to the intelligent and diligent work or Martin Weiss, aka Reptile Motos.  We thank Martin for his time and interest and we look forward to a long racing relationship.

 

Industry Wide Motorsports Blogs

Mike Hailwood & Honda At the Isle Of Man

The Legendary “Mike the Bike”  Hailwood and Honda At the Isle Of Man

In 1967 Mike Hailwood and Honda won what many historians consider to be the most dramatic Isle of Man race of all time. Fighting against such motorcycle racers as the notorious Giacomo Agostini. Mike Hailwood made the record braking AVERAGE speed lap of 175.05 Km/h ! (about 110 mph! )

It took 8 years before this record was broken.

Mike Hailwood

PBIR Track Day and Ducati 350 History

An Industry Wide Blog for Vintage Motorsports

industry wide blog

industry wide blogIndustry wide blog vs individual blogging

Whatever your business specialty, participation in an industry wide blog can be an effective supplement to your online authority. Blogging presence begins with your own self promotion in your own blog,  but you can gain a lot of visibility by participating in industry wide online presence.

This post is an offer, so please don’t stop here!  Read on!

Forums are a popular place to start. Participation in an industry wide blog, a blog operated by an independent editor who accepts blog posts (and most accept advertising) from various businesses across a particular industry, are another option you might want to consider.

Why do most industry wide blogs look so annoying?industry wide blog

I noticed a while back that most industries are pretty much void of an effective industry wide blog. Those that exist for cars and motorcycles are usually jam packed with distracting banner ads.

In fact, they are so jam packed with annoying banner ads and distractions, that, in my opinion, they are not pleasing to the eye.  I tend to not want to stay there.  They are not really blogs, but advertising sites.

I didn’t do a lot of looking across a wide variety of industries before I made these statements, but I did search for industry wide blogs covering subjects about cars and motorcycles.

I did not find any which tempted me to return to them on the basis of appearance.  They were generally too flashy, annoying, and more commercially oriented than they were content oriented. Again, they are not blogs, but advertising websites disguised as blogs.

industry wide blogAn annoying example

I don’t want to pick on anybody, but I’m going to give an example of what I find to be an annoying motorcycle industry blog that is in my opinion too flashy, annoying, and distracting.

I also might be doing them a slight favor just by mentioning them, so that’s all fair and good.  For an example of the look many of us do not like, just go to www.motorcycleusa.comThat’s annoying.

My concept of a cleanly styled industry wide blog

So, I asked myself, “Self, why can’t there be an industry wide blog that looks as clean and free on annoying banner ads as my own private blogs do?”

I also asked myself, “Self, why do industry wide blogs have to look like industry wide blogs?  Why can’t they retain the clean appearance of a private blog?”

And my self answered “Stirling, it’s because you haven’t created one yet.”  In response I thought about what I am interested in doing, and set myself to creating a new blog about that something.  A couple of months ago I volunteered to create a website and blog discussing vintage motorsports topics.

The site I created focuses on vintage motorcycle racing and on vintage automobile racing.  I’ve been involved in both, so this theme is a great fit for me.  It makes it easy for me to stay motivated  to create regular content while we popularize the site.

If you are already on the vintage site, welcome!   If you are on the STRATEGY Content Marketing site, then check out the vintage site and then read on back here again!

What is different about this blog?
industry wide blog

There are no ads on it.  There are none, and there never will be any.   It looks like a blog for enthusiasts, by enthusiasts, because, it basically is.

If you want to write about something relevant to vintage racing while promoting your products or services, I’ll include you as a guest blogger.  You won’t feel like you’re competing with other advertisers, because you’re not really adverti per se.  What you’re really doing is improving your own self image, bettering your own “brand” in the vintage community.

I’ll even help you write your post if that’s what you need. The fee will be modest in comparison to that of a banner ad, which nobody wants to see anyway.

industry wide blogJoin me NOW for free!

As traffic volume increases on this site, the privilege of blogging on it will become more valuable.  Join me now for no fee at all by simply sending me some unique content, or an outline for content you would like to be written, or simply new ideas for new content.

How long will it be free?

Charges for publication will apply to new contributors only when my stats show that traffic projections are significant.

Contributor fees will be scaled up in proportion to the site’s traffic volume.  Contributor fees will remain at the participation fee level which was in effect at the time they published their initial piece of content.

So, start contributing now for free, while the site is in the most need of being stimulated!

I anticipate a future graduated contributor fee structure which will increase in proportion as contributor space on the blog is higher in demand.

What kind of content do we need?

If it has to do with old cars and./or motorcycles and the topic of racing, write about it!  Yourindustry wide blog post is a great place to plug whatever it is that you sell or service.

If you restore ZF transmissions, for example, write a technical article about that.  Let everybody know what you know.

If you’re a Weber carburetor guru who knows how to properly rejet for the adaptation of a nonstandard set of carbs on this engine or that one, then toot your horn here!

Or, if you build café racers from old oddball junkyard bikes, write an article and blow your own horn here.

Or, if you just attended an awesome SVRA race and you just want to write a report while plugging something about your race related business, do it!

Those are just examples that flew off the top of my head.  Drop me an email or give me a call to talk about anything you would like to contribute.

industry wide blogWhere we stand now

We need regular periodic blog post contributions to make this site grow.  In the coming weeks I expect to begin sharing content from this site on as many pages and forums as can be found which relate to the vintage racing world.

I’ll keep you all posted on growth.  Presently traffic is low.  Today we received 40 visits, but visit counts always increase each time new content is published.  It could be your material making this worthy cause grow!

Content Marketing

This is content marketing for vintage racing.  If you’d like to learn more about the generalities of content marketing, please watch the free video training series which Kristen, my wife and the other half of STRATEGY Content Marketing, has produced.   I’ve included a hyperlink to the training because this post is going on both blogs.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Hanging Off or Riding Upright, Which is Better?

 

To Hang off, or to Ride Upright? – That is the Question

hang off

The controversy surrounding hanging off

hang off

An extreme example of power sliding and efective weight distribution

In the past 30 years, so much has been written praising the virtues of “hanging off” of a motorcycle when cornering at high speeds, that it makes my head swim.  It appears to me that every effort is made these days to encourage and defend the application of “hanging off” by those who identify with its daring appearance.

So popular is this emphasis on hanging off that the least experienced riders are self assured that they are experts on the matter.

When it comes to sporting motorcycle riding on racetracks, it seems that every Tom, Dick, or Harry believes themselves to be an expert on the subject, based on what they have read, or based on the handful of times they have been on a racetrack themselves.

This hanging off thing only began to become wildly popular, my memory estimates, around the mid 1970s.  .Many of its current proponents may not have been born yet at that time, and they have grown up learning the educated delusion that this is the only way to properly ride a motorcycle fast.

hang off

Two generations of motorcycle road racing. Stirling Watts in 1985 and Eric Watts in 2013.

Hanging off was shunned by numerous riders of earlier generations

I’ve always been a great fan of the late Phil Irving.  Irving was an Australian mechanical engineer and journalist who made important strides in motorcycle and engine development.  He was the chief engineer for Vincent for many years, and the man primarily responsible for the success of the legendary Black Shadow.

In the literary world, Irving authored several classic books on engine and motorcycle technology, and was a regular technical contributor to motoring publications of his era.  I cannot recall whether it was in  the book “Black Smoke”, or “Rich Mixture” or “Motorcycle Engineering” where Irving blasted the practice of climbing all over the motorcycle, condemning it to be but primarily a visual spectacle.  I cannot say that  I agree with him 100%, but that was an expert’s opinion at that time that is now contrary to current thought.

Ted Hubbard, where are you today?

In the mid 80s I had a racing friend named Ted Hubbard.  I think he lived in South Carolina or Georgia.  We always met up at Roebling Road near Savannah.  Ted was at that time, I think, in his early 60s.  Ted had lived in England in the late 60s and early 70s,where he had been a development engineer, and as I recall also a test rider for BSA.

During the time I was associated with Ted we became good friends, hanging out at WERA races and pitting together with the other vintage people.  (Ted and his bike were vintage, but in my case, only my bike qualified as vintage.  I was still relatively young!)

I was racing my 350 Ducati single, and Ted was always racing a big British single.  I believe it was a 441 Victor based bike that he normally rode.  He almost always won the race in his class on that Victor.  Ted was a lightning fast rider and a practical, intelligent man.  He ended up eventually doing some porting work for me on a Ducati single head, and installed a bg intake valve for me.  He was, and I hope still is, a great guy.

Flat track riding style on the road race track.  It works well!

Ted’s riding style?  Ted had more American TT and half mile and mile experience than

hanging off

Ted Hubbard’s road racing style

everyone else did.  His riding style was closer to that which you would have seen in dirt track racing than in road racing.   He was always well tucked in, knees against the tank, and he knew exactly where he was on the track every millisecond.  There were of course lots of younger riders on more powerful bikes, climbing all over them, who were not able to keep up with Ted.  And Ted privately shunned their riding style.

I had another friend in the same era named Royce Eaton, from Daytona.  Royce was about 65 years old then, and ran a small hobby type performance motorcycle shop. Memory tells me Royce was a retired airline pilot.  I don’t know what became of him either.  But anyway, there was no way I ever could keep up the pace with Royce his vintage class Triumph T100 Trident, me riding aggressively on my highly modified and more modern GS 750 Suzuki.  Conservation of momentum seemed to be the biggest part of his secret.

Royce’s riding style?  You guessed it.  Tucked in, knees on the tank, always in control, never climbing around on the bike.  Royce also shunned hanging off, and I believe that most of his racing experience had been on asphalt.

Boet van Dulmen and other big stars

hanging off

Tucked in old school style

Again, this may be an unfamiliar name to many younger readers.  Van Dulmen was a Dutch world class road racing star who was at the top of his career in the late 70s, around the time of Barry Sheene, Kenny Roberts, Freddy Spencer, and the likes of that era.  Van Dulmen was in fact quite renowned for his lightning fast and always tucked in riding position, but it was a style that was beginning to fall out of favor at that time.

Watch this short documentary and interview with Boet van Dulmen about the Assen TT in 1981, and why Van Dulmen won it.  The commentary and interview are in Dutch.  A couple of minutes into the video you will see the effectiveness of Boet’s upright style.  It’s interesting to see him passing Marco Lucchinelli in the rain, knee all stuck out to the side, while van Dulmen stays tucked in.

So, why hang off? Let’s ask the road racing guru, Keith Code.

I had the privilege of receiving personal instruction from the Master, Keith Code, back in the days before the California Superbike School had become a huge deal.  I attended a road racing school under his tutelage at Roebling Road in the Spring of 1984.  Hanging off was not a subject that was recommended during that class.  Here is what Keith has to say on the subject in his classic work, Twist of the Wrist:

You are moving your body weight from the top of the bike to a position that is lower and to the inside. This changes how your weight influences the bike when centrifugal force begins pushing it toward the outside of the turn. When you weight is higher on the bike, it gives the cornering forces a lever to work with. To overcome the centrifugal force, the bike must be leaned over in the turn. The greater the force, the more you must lean to overcome it. By hanging off, you move your weight to the inside of the bike and lower to the ground, presenting less of a lever for the forces to act upon. This does not weaken the force, it simply lessens its effect. Now the bike does not have to be leaned over as far to make the same radius of turn, and CAN GO FASTER WITHOUT having to INCREASE the lean angle. Even if you go through the turn at the same speed as a rider sitting upright on his machine, you can begin your acceleration sooner than he can because your straight-up bike has more rubber on the road This can be a tremendous advantage. Remember, increasing your speed in a turn effectively decreases the radius of the turn. Right or wrong, everyone who is currently competitive us IS hanging off.

Hanging off has nothing to do with safety!

kevin-schwantz hang off

Kevin Schwantz displaying excellent weight distribution form.

I have heard it said by bench racers, who once spent at most a handful of times on a racetrack, that hanging off prevents you from low siding.  That’s pure bullshit, as evidenced by Keith’s comments above.  Hanging off is about being competitive on the modern racetrack, and nothing more.  It’s about carrying a higher speed while leaned over at the same maximum angle as the guy who is not hanging off.  When riding with a group of other riders who are also not world class competition material, it’s pretty meaningless.
You will low side when you exceed the limits of traction by being leaned over too far.  That’s the only cause of a low side crash.  You can lose traction when you’re upright because you’re riding at the edge of your tires contact patch, or you can lose traction for the very same reason when you’re hanging of just inches from the pavement.  Perhaps being out of the seat already might be an advantage if you were to crash, because you’re already closer to the ground.  But I have always planned not to crash anyway!

You can also drag parts lightly without drastically increasing your chances of loss of adhesion.  I’ve proven this point to myself.  My old Suzuki GS1000 based race bike almost had a hole ground into the alternator cover on the left side of the engine from making contact with the pavement.

I never went down because of dragging parts, but I did experience a couple of violent high side effects on the GS1000  from dragging the left side of the motor, from which I recovered without going down.  I think that those high side effects were amplified by some kind of improper bodily reaction on my part after I felt the contact, but I never figured that out. It didn’t happen often enough for me to figure it out, and I certainly never tried to encourage experiencing it again.

hang off

The Master himself, Keith Code

Ask yourself this:

Ask yourself:  If two identical motorcycles are riding at the limits of adhesion, and one rider is hanging off, and the other one is not, which rider is going faster?

You will naturally and correctly answer “The one who is hanging off, of course.”

Does this make one of them more or less likely to low side by exceeding the limits of adhesion?  Of course not!  They are both riding at the limits of their tire contact patch.

The two primary  advantages  to hanging off are:

First, the additional speed you carry while still cornering,

Second, after you climb back on center at the exit of the corner, you can start applying power sooner than the rider who remained upright, because for the same speed you’re carrying as the more upright guy, you have more tire patch on the road than he does.

Isn’t that advantageous?

For the super rider, yes. For the guy who goes to the racetrack a few times per year, no.

Focusing on smoothing out every transition you make will make you faster than focusing on any one item in your technique. All things need to happen quickly at high speed, but the sudden severity of every change of every condition needs to be minimized and smoothed. That translates to smooth transitions from being hard on the gas to being hard on the brakes, smooth gear shifting both up and down, especially in corners, and smoothness in the shifting around of your own body weight.  That last item is last because it has the least overall effect.

In most cases, especially on less powerful motorcycles, shifting your weight drastically around is a factor that’s only marginally helpful in comparison to the many other refinements in smoothness you need to learn to make with respect to conserving momentum, being in the right place and following the right line, and all the elements of smoothness of action.

For everything…. there is a season….and a time… turn, turn, turn….

hang off

When men were men! Making a KZ1000 go fast.

There are times when a hanging off technique can be quite necessary.  It depends on what you are riding.  Are you riding something from the old steel tubing frame era, like a GS1100 or a KZ1000, or a competitive motorcycle of recent design?

The best case in point was riding my 1978 GS1000 at racetrack speeds.  It required a great amount of steering input, muscle, and weight transfer just to convince it to change directions.  I’m convinced that was most of the reason that hanging off became so popular in the early 80s.  Everyone was riding GS1100s and KZ1000s (and the like)!

Well I hope that was entertaining and didn’t piss you off  too bad if you happen to like to hang off!

No insult is meant to the self proclaimed expert bench racers who insist that hanging off keeps them from crashing. Maybe you believe that it does that for you, but I am quite sure that It doesn’t do that for me.

Unless we were all world class riders of the highest developed skill level (of course we can always pretend) then I don’t believe it makes a hootin’ bit of difference whether or not we hang off in high speed corners on today’s most superbly designed motorcycles.  There are more important things to learn about controlling a motorcycle first .

But it sure looks feels good, and it looks cool too!  Keep the shiny side up!

Home

 

 

Track Day Report Jennings GP by Eric Watts

track day

Track Day Report from November 25th, 2013  at Jennings GP in Jennings, FL

A great track day in November has to start out cold! It was about 37 degrees when we arrived at the track at about 7:30 am.  After unloading, registering which group we would ride in, and getting things setup, I still had to remove a few items on my Ducati  848 Streetfighter to make it track ready. The front turn signals and the kickstand had yet to be removed.

Prep Work

track day

It’s too damned cold out there!

Martin Weiss and I shared his trailer to get to Jennings from the Orlando area.  Shortly after my prep work was done, Martin got his Guzzi V7 race bike started and warmed up for a few minutes. This was the first time his bike has been run at a track in the US, I might add.  It had also been  4 or so years since its last appearance on a track.  The Guzzi lived its former life in Martin’s former homeland in eastern Switzerland. A few other prep tasks were carried out such as checking our tire pressures, zip tying any loose wires down or other things that are otherwise usually hooked up to something when the bike is in street form, fueling up, and we were soon ready to go.

 

Mandatory Riders Meeting!

track day

3 Amigos, Steve Salvo, Eric Watts, Martin Weiss

 

A rider meeting was carried out at about 9 am. They went over the usual things, flags and pitting in and out procedures as well as emergency situations on the track. The riders who would be going out in the novice group then assembled and we went over how we would run the first session. Sebastian Didato, owner of Melillimoto Ducati dealer who was hosting the event showed us how we would follow the lead riders (that consisted of himself and a few other experienced racers) one at a time for one lap each to get a feel for the proper racing line on the track.  After that we all decided that because it was still very cold, we would do a track walk around first. This was very helpful. You get to see so many more things when you walk the track first that you will never see when going by things at speed. I walked with Sebastian most of the time and he explained his line on each corner as we went along.

First Session

track day

First session – taking it easy!

The first session for me was very slow doing the follow the lead thing. We ran the whole lap at about 40-50 mph max. I don’t think I shifted out of 2nd gear. That’s not to say it was very beneficial to others there. I know there must have been some complete beginners there as one of the guys in my group (we went out in groups of 3-4 per lead rider) went wide and into the grass and we were just barely moving along. He soon pitted right after as I guess it must have scared him, but it was probably good he pitted, have a re-think and go out again. I have the advantage of having done quite a bit of kart racing as a child and teenager and I felt after one or two laps I pretty much had it down and was ready to go on at speed. Unfortunately the next 2 sessions were the same thing; I wanted to go ahead so badly. I sort of feel 2 of my sessions were a waste because of this, but I just went along with it. I choose to go out in the novice class because I didn’t know what novice meant. I could have meant fairly fast for all I knew, and this was the first time on race track for me on a motorcycle so I was just playing it safe.

Finally, Open Track!

track day

Eric picks up the pace!

Finally after lunch we were let loose and could open it up.  I followed Sebastian for a bit and watched his line before eventually passing him as he waved me by. I think he was still helping someone else who was following him and was riding fairly conservatively. If I remember right, just at the end of the session about 5-6 laps or so later I came up on him and the rider he was helping and lapped them. The second session after lunch it was decided by someone to run an entire session for each group running the track direction backwards or clockwise that is at Jennings. (Counter-clockwise is the normal configuration) I didn’t really want to do this, as I was still just trying to figure out the line the normal way around, but went out anyways just to take advantage of as much track time as I could. I again found myself passing people in the novice group left and right. I came up on a guy on a Ducati Multistrada who was just cruising along and passed by him with ease in the back section of the track in the quick left right section of corners back there. I’m not entirely sure where Martin was on the track, but he must have been on the complete other side of the track the whole of all the sessions. I know he ran out of battery power and his bike died in one session and he had to get a tow back to the pits as he is running a total loss system on the Guzzi.

track day

Eric and Steve havin’ a blast!

Our friend Steve Salvo riding his Ducati Monster and I had a good little session a few times out there. At one point I got by him but then I ran wide in the fast left hander (turn 2) and went into the grass for a bit, I misjudged that one and took it a little too hot. But all was fine I just went straight on into the grass and slowed down gently before re-entering the track behind him again. I eventually caught up to him again and passed him also in the back section of left rights. It was a fun little run there.

Final Session the Best!

track day

Getting comfortable with speed now!

By the final session of the day I really felt I was getting into the groove. I was finding my braking points and where to shift gears. Most of the track, at least on my bike (the 848 Streetfighter) which is geared pretty tall it seems, was spent in only 3 maybe 4 gears. The long back stretch consisting of turns 2 and 3 the fast left handers (it’s not really a straight away at all, it’s a huge left hand sweeper the whole way down) you can’t approach top speed of your bike unless you are really pushing it, I think anyway. I hit maybe 125-130mph (the times I glanced down anyway to look) at the end of the back stretch and I think I was only in 4th gear. The back section of the track with the quick section of tighter left and right hand corners is spent mostly in one gear I felt, just leave it in 3rd the whole way and roll on and off the throttle, maybe a little bit of front brake before each turn as I started to pick up speed by the end of the day, but other than that all in 3rd gear, maybe dropped it to 2nd for one of them then upshifted back to 3rd but that’s it. It’s definitely not a top speed track since its all turns for the most part. The front straightaway is not very long at all and you also can’t get to top speed of your machine there either. It’s going to be a great track for the Ducati 350 single race bike when it’s done because of this and that bike not having a great deal of top speed. All your time is made up in the corners at Jennings I believe.

Not My Last Track Day!  This is only the Beginning!

track day

Finally I get to use all that rubber!

I’ll definitely be back to Jennings in the future and this won’t be my last track day, that’s for sure!

 

Automotive memories from the 60s

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Mechanical Ingenuity 

Where Are They All Today? Part 4, Final Edition on early MG TC Racing by Bob Watts

Harley Watts in 1955 with family and his MG TC

Where Are They All Today?  Part 4, Final Edition on early MG TC Racing by Bob Watts

I can add a few bits of updated information since this article was written circa 1997.  Harley’s chartreuse colored TC is still, as reported, in the possession of my brother, Larry, where it has been for about 25 years.  Its restoration was (slowly) initiated in the late 60s, and the car still remains in complete and solid and restorable condition.  The last time I remember it being licensed for the street must have been around 1961.  It was then still our daily transportation family car, and I remember running errands in it with my Mom at the wheel,  right about the time I started in public school.  For a long time there was a 1961 Ohio tag on its front bumper.  The picture here, taken the year before my birth, shows the car as I remember it.

The slightly tweaked frame as well as some other body parts of Harley’s first BRG TC was in our garage for the longest time.  I believe that Bob finally collected all of those parts and that they are in his possession. .Also, since this was written, none of the names mentioned in the article are with us any more, with the exception of possibly Chuck Dietrich, and Bob Watts.  The last time I saw Chuck was when Dad came to one of the SCCA races I drove at Mid Ohio around 1996.  Chuck was then around age 72, was also driving that day, and was still extremely competitive in his Formula Atlantic.  Dad passed away in 2004.  I saw Don Marsh at Dad’s  funeral, and not too many years after that I learned of Bob Fergus’ passing.  The last time I had seen Bob Fergus was in the early 90s at a vintage sports car race at Sebring, which I had gone to spectate.    What happened to the Fergus cars we have no idea.  Bob  Watts is now age 87, is and very active in the MG club in central Ohio.   Though he does not mention it in this article, Bob completed a meticulous restoration of his second TC in the late 90s, and he regularly drives it in casual vintage events.    –editor.

Final Edition – part 4 on MG TCs in Central Ohio by Bob Watts

Those original TCs are where now?  Ray Fisher’s TC was, as I recall, a cream colored car, and may have been traded on the Porsche 356 drophead which he drove for many years.  Don’t know where it might be now.  Tom Harrington’s TC was a cream car also.  I don’t know what happened to it.   I believe Roger Morgan owned it for a while.  Bob Fergus still has his BRG late 48 or 49 TC, and values it highly.  Phil Miller’s TC was re-painted “Bread Truck White” and sold, or traded on an Austin Healey 100.  I think the Italmecchanica blower was still on it when he disposed of it.  Dave Lee’s TC was red and is currently owned by Dave Stewart of Powell, Ohio and is a R.I.P. Tom Miller’s TC is red and was given to his daughter in California in early March 1996.  It was in need of total restoration, which was completed in 1997.  Don March still drives his black 48 TC with the Marshall blower, which was put on the car in 49 or 50.  Don’s second TC a cream colored car, not blown, was sold to someone in Cleveland in the mid 50s.  Harley Watts’ original BRG 48 TC was the one rolled by a friend coming down the hill at the Bellefontaine hillclimb in about 1954.  The engine ended up in his second TC, while most of the other parts, including fenders, are still in his garage or in my possession.  The engine from the second TC is in Harley’s garage.  His second TC was chartreuse (ugly) and was driven for many years as a family car.  His son Larry now has this car.  He replaced some wood in the tub, and painted the car BRG.  It has not been restored mechanically and is in storage.  Chuck Dietrich’s BRG TC, at last report, was owned by one of Chuck Henry’s sons in Bellevue, Ohio.

Of the nine TCs, the location of six are known, leaving three which are unknowns.  Six out of nine after 46 years isn’t bad.  If you include Harley Watts’ second TC it is seven out of ten.  Of the six, two are driven on occasion, two are R.I.P., one is a basket case without the body tub, and one probably in storage.  I expect the presently existing cars are likely to be around for considerably longer.

The 49 TC EXU purchased by R.G. Watts in Florida in 1952 was sold to “Herbie” Kountz, Ray Fisher’s brother-in-law, who raced it locally before moving to Massachusetts and taking the car along.  The present location is unknown.  My second TC was # 6557 purchased from the Columbus Sports Car Co. (Bob Fergus) in 1954.  It was a “trade-in” on an Austin Healey 100. This TC is the subject of the following “Restoration Manual”.

The MG TC was the beginning vehicle which launched the “Sports Car” boom as well as the SCCA in central Ohio.  Many more models and makes followed, most of which were British, including the XK 120, Austin Healey, Triumph, and the German Porsche.

Part 3

A Historical Perspective On Performance by Stirling Watts

alfadcoe

A Historical Perspective on Performance:  The 80s Versus Today

By Stirling Watts

At left:  Old school fuel delivery – Two 40mm Weber DCOE dual throat carburetors fitted to our 1959 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Veloce

What is History to One, is Fond Memories to Another!

Only recently has it come to my attention that my own recent personal experiences are, in the eyes of the younger adult generation in fact, history!   That which I remember about all the fun I ever had racing motorcycles and carts and automobiles is to me as clear as is any other memory.  To those who were not yet born in the early 80s, that which is to me the mundane might be to them quite interesting.   Without that realization I never would have considered assembling this article. I certainly feel amazed when I read all the material that Bob Watts has contributed about racing in the early 50s, just a few years before my own birth.  The memory of a world in which cars from the 1930s were an everyday experience is to me like fantasy, while to Bob it is just a memorable reality.

Though I am no detailed technical authority on the subject of internal combustion efficiency, I lived through the era of the 80s paying at least some attention to it, while the average citizen did not.  Not everything I write will reflect the truth as my world of experience is quite narrow, and I only state things as I remember them and with respect to that which I was privileged to witness.  When I started fooling around with increasing the performance of standard engines was during this period, the early 1980s.  It was a good period for the motoring hobbyist, for it was a period during which off- the- shelf engine  efficiency was still in its infancy.  Under my Dad’s tutelage, I gained the majority of my guidance from a classic book which is still in circulation in reprint, entitled “Tuning for Speed” by Phil Irving.  Irving was a renowned Australian motorcycle engine designer and tuner who knew and understood, through vast amounts of practical experience in racing as well as professional work as an engine designer, how to make standard engines perform to their maximum potential.  His experience was well documented  in this classic book, which I think was first published in the late 1940s.  “Tuning for Speed” by Phil Irving was my Dad’s Bible.

The Era of Federally Mandated Dismal Performance

Looking back on it, motorcycles and automobiles have advanced to a highly reliable and advanced state in the past 30 years.   In my childhood and teen years, performance cars were all leftovers from the 1960s. Late in the 70s and in the early 80s in the automotive world, government mandated pollution controls were initially a great hindrance to performance.  There was a brief period of low performance “high performance” vehicles.  In that era, the requirements imposed upon automotive manufacturers for cleaner air were in excess of the capabilities of existing technologies.  Such standards could only initially be met with adverse effects upon performance.  Rather than focusing on finding methods to increase combustion efficiency, automotive engineers were, at least  in the short term, compelled to use “band-aid” fixes which focused on a less efficient approach to cleaner exhaust air, namely, burning off the leftover gases after the fact,  as opposed to finding more advanced methods to improve combustion in the power cycle itself.  Evidence of that state of being behind the curve could be seen under the hood of virtually any common period car.  The plumbing under the hood of just about any car of the late 70s or early 80s  was almost mind boggling.  It was also a major confusion factor for even the best mechanics.   Fuel injection technology was still less than perfect.  Many manufacturers chose to continue to rely upon carburetor technology simply on the basis of cost control.  But meeting the clean air standards required more control of fuel mixture and delivery than could be delivered by traditional carburetion systems.   Hence, fuel and exhaust systems became extremely complex.  On top of all of that complexity was relatively poor performance with respect to what we see today.  Look, for example at the output specifications of a 1979 Chevrolet Corvette, or that of a 1979 Pontiac Trans Am.   I clearly remember renting a California model 1979 AMC sedan of some sort while on a business trip to San Diego.  I could not believe that people were willing to buy new cars with such dismal performance.  I felt similarly about a Ford Pinto I once rented for a couple of weeks in 1979.

The Advancement of motorcycle performance was less restricted by government interference.

Motorcycles did not suffer exactly the same fate of directly strangled performance, due to the fact that the EPA chose to attack motorcycles on a more relaxed and delayed schedule. But the motorcycle industry did in fact have its own set of government interference problems with which to deal in the 80s, including some market interference laws which compelled the big four Japanese firms to market 700cc machines in place of the already established 750cc standard.  Later in the decade of the 80s came also an “anti-horsepower “ movement, during which propositions were under consideration which threatened to limit the maximum performance by federal mandate.  “Horsepower kills” was the motto of the day.  Intelligent lobbying efforts eventually killed the proposed horsepower limitations.

As time went on and technology began to catch up with government mandated standards, engine efficiency improved.  This state of affairs led to the almost incredible state of reliability and performance which we witness today, and which the younger generation has no capacity to appreciate.   Before them e development of advanced engine and mixture control by computerized mapping, every single change or flow improvement made to an intake or exhaust system  resulted in an unknown and difficult to predict change in mixture requirements.  “Plug reading tests” in the field, combined with a developed understanding of and a good feel for understanding the various stages of a carburetor (main jet choice, needle choice, needle position choice, pilot jet choices, were necessary in order to be able to tweak maximum performance from a motor.  Few with the exception of those with excellent mentors and/or a wealth of experience really could properly tune a race motor.  Myself included, I witnessed this many times testing new motors at club racing events, at which I had wished my Dad had been present!  Only those with unlimited budgets had or have access to dynomometer facilities with which one can at least find an approximately correct setup before going to the track in a relatively casual manner.

Today’s Amazing State of Tuning and Efficiency

Today, with the exception of those who continue to enjoy vintage competition, those days are gone.  On the down side, there are probably few real tuners in this world anymore.  With computerized mapping controlling everything from fuel mixture under every possible load and engine speed condition, to real time changes in camshaft and ignition timing, also calculated as functions of load and engine speed, no real tuning ability is needed.  Today we can swap out and ECU with a different pre-assigned set of mapping functions, and completely change the output characteristics of a given engine.

Most impressive is for example the new Fiat engine used in the car currently known as the 500.  My son, Eric recently purchased an Abarth version.  We were surprised to learn that off-the-shelf performance improvements can be implemented by virtually anyone, by simply pulling out and replacing an ECU chip.  All of the tuning has already been done flawlessly and perfectly by someone else!  One can purchase a chip directly from Fiat engineering people which will change the mapping from the standard 160 bhp in Sport mode) to 200 bhp!  No intelligence required!  All for around $600!

Perhaps it is difficult to grasp just how amazing this is unless you have yourself attempted to adapt a new set of carburetors to an engine to which you have made other mechanical and airflow modifications.  Our 1959 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Veloce is a good example.  A few years back we discovered that the original dual double throat DCO3 Weber carburetors were completely worn out, such that with them it was no longer possible to balance the airflow between the cylinders.  We purchased a set of more modern DCOE Webers as a replacement.  Thanks to the skill of our friend Peter Smith, an experienced old school tuner (who by the way also was  the 1970 SCCA Can Am 2 Liter National Champion in a BMW powered Lola chassis), the newer DCOEs were finally brought into a state of tune which allows tolerable drivabilty.    But that was no small task!  It required repeated removal, modification, retesting, and rebalancing until the effort was perfected. More on the Alfa Sprint Veloce in a future post!

dcoe40ex

Complexities of a Weber 40 DCOE System

What Promises Does the Future Hold?

If you are much younger in years than the author, you might not have had the opportunity to grasp just how amazing is today’s technology.  Just imagine what another 30 years might do!  Some younger reader will, it is hoped, in the now seemingly far off year of  2043,be found writing fondly about the good old days in 2013, about how crude and undeveloped was technology in that era, perhaps back in the days when cars had wheels and internal combustion engines.   Happy Motoring!

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