Special Race Car

I purchased this very unusual engine from Chris Nolan. It was found in a hangar near L.A. airport. With it were parts from Ken Miles R1. It was written in Road & Track that he had prepared a new engine for RII for the 1956 season but had turned the third rod bearing and it caught fire during testing. This engine had the third rod bearing turned and the paint burned on the block. It also had the unusual TC front mounts on shorter spacing as required by RII. It could not have fit in any normal TD or TC without modification. Both Chris and I tried to get the then owner of RII to purchase the engine, as there was no engine in the RII. He had no interest. So I sought a period racing chassis in which to place it.

I purchased the MGTC Chassis from a gentleman in Falls Church Virginia. It had been raced in the 1950’s and left outside for many years. It was very rusted and most of the bracing had to be replaced. The frame had been cross-braced and the engine mounts and transmission mounts moved rearward. The rear end also had also been moved rearward.

The body is made from small steel tubing with an aluminum skin attached by cap screws. The fenders are cycle type and aluminum. The gas tank is aluminum.The dash is aluminum with minimal instrumentation and a black crackle finish. The wheels are 16 inch Borranni Magnesium 72 spoke wire wheels. The brakes are composed of a TD Master cylinder; TD front dual pistons, drum backing plates and TC rear single piston drum backing plates with Alfin Aluminum finned brake drums. The front end is made up of a Morris Minor lower A arm, TD uprights, custom top A arm, tubular adjustable shocks, Morris Minor torsion bars and a Morris Minor rock and pinion. The radiator is a standard MGTC radiator pressurized to 9 lbs. The transmission is standard MGTC. The drive shaft is shortened MGTC and the rear end is MGTC with strengthened mounts, panhard rod, adjustable tubular shocks, standard MGTC rear springs with leaves removed and aluminum lowering blocks. The differential is a Morris Minor aluminum case with Morris Minors different gear ratios and a Quaif limited slip. The axles are custom with tapered hubs. All hubs are standard MGTC. All wood was removed and the floorboards replaced with aluminum plates. An aluminum belly pan is attached to the frame from front to rear. I installed a roll cage to protect the driver’s compartment.

This car was restored in the 80’s and raced. It won at Riverside, raced at Monterey Historics at Laguna Seca and at Sear’s Point. During the test drive later, to sort out the chassis, the front suspension broke in the Carousel at Sear’s Point and the front severely damaged. In 2004 the front end was rebuilt by Willie Striker in Petaluma. The car is being restored again, this time I am doing it myself. This year will be it’s 1st time on the track in over 20 years.

This special DOHC T series engine has a head made from solid aluminum billets. Two are machined for the valve towers and the third piece contains the water-cooling chamber and combustion chambers. The valve towers bolt to the head and the head bolts to the special factory 1500 cc racing block. There are no water holes in the block. The water comes out the rear side and into the rear of the head and then out the front to the radiator. The factory made only 18 of these special blocks and all of them were sent to Goff Industries where Ken Miles worked. The valves are 1 1/2” exhaust and 1 5/8” intake. Valve springs are XK120 as are the cups and valve cylinders. Adjusters are Alpha Romeo caps. Combustion chambers are hemispherical and there are pre-ignition chambers below off centered spark plugs. The cams are Offenhauser as are the cam gears, which are driven off a dog gear thru a chain from the original cam gear enclosed in a billet aluminum cam gear cover. The rods and crank are Allen billet pieces. Aries pistons with very high domes 3 rings and full floating wrist pins. 2 H4 – 1 ¾” SU carburetors. Exhaust collector 1 into 2 into 3 into 4 flows down the outside and over rear fender.

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