Crown Jewels for SB Fords:

Crown Jewels for SB Fords:

Premium Hemi heads with Boss-style valve covers and Jesel rocker system for small-block Fords. Hemispherical-style combustion chambers have earned a formidable reputation for power generation. How did this come about? The Hemi head broke fresh ground in several areas, including skillfully uniting superior air flow with larger valves. Generally, Hemi head valves are placed across the head compared to Wedge head valves, which are placed more longitudinally along the head. As a result the Hemi air flow route is easier, it has fewer bends, and the transfer of incoming and outgoing gases is more efficient. Also, the Hemi head usually employs larger valves because they are naturally inclined in their hemisphere and hence open toward the center of the cylinder. Their operation, therefore, generates freer air flow—not shrouded— resulting in easier cylinder filling.   Greg Brown’s new company, Hammerhead Performance Engines, is entering the final stages of production of unique Hemi heads for Fords. By some margin it is the most important news for small-block owners in several years. Indeed you might gauge it more notably than this. With an emphasis on completeness, the innovative head kits will include cast aluminum Hemi-style valve covers, a Jesel 1.7:1 ratio rocker system and all the necessary valve and spring assemblies as well as gaskets. The aluminum head kits can be directly installed on all small-block Fords: 289, 302, 351W and, with some modifications, even 351C engine blocks. As you might expect there is more than one dimension to the introduction of this new technology. Following two years of development and testing, all of the mechanical details are now available. Importantly, the...
Mistakes that weaken a supercharger’s performance

Mistakes that weaken a supercharger’s performance

Bertie S. Brown: TorqStorm Superchargers’s product manager, Chris Beardsley, has dealt with thousands of incoming queries in the first decade of the firm’s history. Here are five of the most common: 1) Compression ratios and intercoolers “The compression ratio for pump-gas engines is crucial,” says Chris Beardsley. “TorqStorm recommends ratios of 9.1 to 9.5:1.” Higher ratios usually require an intercooler. “But if you are running less than 12psi of boost and under 10:1 compression ratio with aluminum cylinder heads, and a blow-through carburetor or venturi-style throttle body fuel injection,” insists Beardsley, “ you can still achieve significant power increases without an intercooler, even on pump gas. Blow-through carburetors do a very good job of controlling intake charge temperatures.” 2) What increases in power can I expect? “Our single centrifugal supercharger, which supports 700+hp and generates boost of 6-8psi., increases engine power by about 40 percent over stock performance,” claims Beardsley. “Add a second unit, which collectively generate 12-15psi., and the engine’s power output potentially doubles.” Note that the fuel pump must support 21psi of fuel pressure and it relies on a return line to the tank. 3) Carburetors and regulators The fuel delivered to a carburetor on a normally aspirated engine operates at 6 or 7psi. But the blow-through carburetor is designed to operate from 5psi to boosted pressures that can reach 18psi on a forced-induction engine. This task is achieved by the introduction of a boost-referenced fuel pressure regulator. Via a small-bore hose, the regulator is connected to a port on the intake manifold below the carburetor throttle plates. In this way it reads boost and increases the...
Art Chrisman

Art Chrisman

By Fergus Ogilvy:   Henry Arthur Chrisman died on July 12, 2016 at the age of 86. He was a driver, fabricator, race engine builder and pioneer in post World War II speed tests and drag racing. Based at Chrisman and Sons garage in Compton, California, and working with his father, Everett, and his brother, Lloyd, he was renowned for three cars: his racy coupe for Bonneville competition and for contests on dry lake beds, his number 25 dragster and later his Hustler I. All were liveried in his signature golden-brown tones with contrasting white added to the Hustler. From the late 1940s and throughout the ‘50s, he campaigned a series of highly competitive race cars. He became synonymous with the development of the Top Fuel dragster at a time when nitromethane fuel revolutionized the class. His Hustler 1 dragster, which he co-owned with Leroy Neumeyer, claimed the first U.S. Fuel and Gas Championships, in a 64-car field at the March Meet at Bakersfield in 1959. His résumé as a driver included multiple wins and speed records at the highest level in a career that lasted around 12 years. Art Chrisman’s innovations led many to recognize him as drag racing’s first statesman. Greg Sharp, curator of the NHRA Motorsports Museum, said upon his induction into the Motorsports Hall of Fame, “Art Chrisman is truly a renaissance man. Rarely can one man build a racing chassis from the ground up, do the metalwork, paint it, build the engine that supplies the power for the record-breaking performance, tune it to its maximum potential, and drive the results of his handiwork to a...
Garlits on Nitromethane

Garlits on Nitromethane

By Titus Bloom: “To my understanding,” says Don Garlits, “it was the Germans in the late 1930s that pioneered nitromethane. They empowered their 12-cylinder rear-engine race cars with it—presumably the Auto Unions. These cars were used on closed autobahns in speed record attempts and they operated with Roots-type superchargers and zoomie headers—those that point upward to generate down pressure. “I first heard of nitromethane in the nineteen-forties from a guy representing Autolite spark plugs, Fran Hernandez, who had a carbureted flathead. Hernandez had challenged another guy to a race. The other guy, whose name I can no longer recall, had a blown flathead. They met on a perimeter road of the old airport at Santa Ana, which later became the drag strip. It was a big race for money and Hernandez, who had introduced nitromethane to his fuel, didn’t start his car until the last moment—so there was no noise, no smell, no hint of cunning. But when the race was initiated, the flathead propelled by nitromethane outran the blown car by the broadest possible margin. Unfathomable! “The Bean Bandits from San Diego got wind of the miracle fuel and developed carburetors to use it in undiluted form. Emery Cook who was married to one of the Bean Bandits’ sisters found out about it and he told me. Cook, who was associated with the famed Cook & Bedwell car, was the first to exceed 160mph over the quarter-mile – 98% nitro!”   What’s Garlits working on? “I’m rebuilding my electric dragster. I’ve been 185.60mph but a guy in Texas has run 188mph, so I’m behind the ball. I’m still...
California Hot Rod Reunion® at Bakersfield

California Hot Rod Reunion® at Bakersfield

Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the California Hot Rod Reunion® presented by Automobile Club of Southern California is a BIG deal since those folks 25-years ago just thought we were going to do it only once! The Reunion continues to be the venue to renew old friendships, meet the legends and your heroes, and just have a great time. Whether you’re a first-timer, or can boast you have been to them all, you’ll enjoy quarter-mile nitro nostalgia racing, a giant vendor midway and an eclectic swap meet. You’ll need three days to take it all in! The Reunion is just $25 per day, or if you buy in advance of October 7th, you can save $10 over gate admission on a three-day event ticket. You’ll also get a goodie bag filled with the collectible 25th anniversary event program, dash plaque, souvenir badge/schedule, lanyard, and more. On behalf of the Museum and our Reunion sponsors: Automobile Club of Southern California, Good Vibrations Motorsports, Dynamat  and Racepak, we hope you join us for this special silver anniversary! October 21-23, 2016 – Friday – Sunday, Auto Club Famoso Raceway, Bakersfield, CA   Tickets available by phone (800) 884-6472 or online. For more information and a list of events go to:...
Harmonic balancers: Free advice on selecting them

Harmonic balancers: Free advice on selecting them

By Archie Bosman:  It’s easy to underestimate the cost of a deficient harmonic balancer. But they can have a profound effect on the fortunes of the able race engine—a natural enemy of crank and bearings. With the engine running, camshafts and crankshafts vibrate torsionally (in twist) and, as the saying goes, for every action there’s a reaction. Camshafts are affected by the forces related to the opening and closing of the valves while crankshafts by the combustion events. Each time the cylinders fire, torque is imparted to the crank, causing deflections—twisting it as much as 2 degrees. All of this partially complicates the timing of the valve openings as well as the cam and ignition timing to say nothing of the oppressive conditions in which the crank operates. As a result of the vibrations and deflections in both shafts, a harmonic balancer or damper is connected to the crank to absorb them. Vibrations are at their highest when furthest from the flywheel. Hence dampers are mounted on the front of the crank. Yet, on historic and vintage race engines often there was no provision at the front of the crank to mount a damper. Consequently, they might use a custom elastomer or tunable pendulum damper at the rear of the crank near the clutch.   Resonance At certain engine speeds the torques imparted by the cylinders are in sync with the vibrations in the crankshaft, which results in a potentially destructive phenomenon known as resonance. This resonance can cause stress beyond what the crank can endure, resulting in crankshaft failure due to fatigue. Robert Bartlett of the noted historic...