Balanc­ing act

Unique Cars - - GARAGE GURUS -

In the sev­en­ties I worked at Lynx En­gi­neer­ing in Croy­don, along with a good mate Ivan Jones. Highly re­spected in the in­dus­try, Ivan was the work­shop man­ager. We worked in the balanc­ing sec­tion which was a great ex­pe­ri­ence and we worked a lot on the early rac­ers.

Prior to the re­lease of the Ley­land P76, the alu­minium V8 mo­tors needed to be bal­anced as a long mo­tor. We got the job. The plugs were re­moved and the mo­tor was mounted on the pedestals of the balanc­ing ma­chine. Then the fly wheel was hooked up by a fab­ri­cated drive-shaft to a Chevy V8 mo­tor. We then fired up the Chev to get the P76 en­gine up to the nec­es­sary 800rpm to get the re­quired read­ings to then bal­ance the mo­tor.

The work­shop floor would be cov­ered in Ley­land V8 mo­tors as these were done in batches. We re­ally en­joyed our work and the work­shop was a great place to work. I hope you find this in­for­ma­tion of in­ter­est and would be happy to of­fer any other de­tails or sto­ries for you. Ron Luker, Email

WOW, WHAT A great yarn Ron. I take it that Lynx en­gi­neer­ing must have had the con­tract from Ley­land Aus­tralia to carry out this balanc­ing work. Even then, it seems a bit odd that Ley­land would out-source this crit­i­cal type of work, but maybe man­age­ment there was as aware of its own com­pany’s short­com­ings as the rest of us soon be­came. I can only imag­ine the scene of a work­shop floor cov­ered in dozens of al­loy Ley­land V8s. A ski-boat builder back in the day would be hav­ing an at­tack of the drib­bles. You don’t have a photo do you?

What has me won­der­ing, though, is the whole idea of hav­ing some­thing big and vi­brat­ing driv­ing some­thing that you’re try­ing to bal­ance. Didn’t the har­mon­ics and vibes of the Chevy at 800rpm have some kind of ef­fect on the balanc­ing process? Not that I know a lot about this (clearly, some would say) but a smooth, vi­bra­tion-free run up to speed with, say, an elec­tric mo­tor would make more sense than a burp­ing, buck­ing V8 run­ning maybe 100rpm over and above it’s nor­mal idling speed. Or did the one-off drive-shaft that linked the two V8s ab­sorb the har­mon­ics and pulses (with, maybe a torque con­verter or some­thing)? What am I miss­ing here?

Mean­time, if you’d

made up your mind to use an­other car en­gine, then I’m not sur­prised that a Chevy small-block was the en­gine of choice for the heavy lift­ing. These things have, over the years, pow­ered just about any­thing that can be pow­ered, from lawn-mow­ers, mo­tor­bikes and even air-raid sirens. And the odd car or two. It strikes me, too, that the suc­ces­sor to the cast-iron Chev small-block, the alu­minium LS V8 has gone on to re­place the orig­i­nal as the same sort of jack of all trades.

These days, I’m see­ing LS en­gines in drag boats, mo­torhomes, sports sedans and what­not. My new ute ac­tu­ally has one and while I’m not con­vinced of its low-end grunt (es­pe­cially when it’s ham­strung by a widely-spaced four-speed auto) you can’t ar­gue with its ef­fi­ciency or its abil­ity to get steam­ing along once you have 3000rpm or so on the tacho. Only thing is, it took GM un­til 1995 to get the al­loy LS1 to mar­ket, while Ley­land had the 4.4-litre P76 mo­tor in show­rooms in 1973.

“MAYBE IT WAS USED AS AN UN­MARKED WING­MAN TO SHADOW THE PRISON VAN”

ABOVE Here’s a for­got­ten P76 donk, still sit­ting in the cor­ner at Lynx.

OP­PO­SITE PAGE Ford’s highly skilled staff wait­ing to deal with your en­quiries.BELOW What’s not to love when you see a Ford en­gine bay full of 5.8-litre good­ness?

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