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?