Mal­lett’s men­tal me­an­der­ings

Classic Porsche - - Contents -

Iam the first to ad­mit that my cur­rent Porsche ven­ture may be an ex­er­cise in me­chan­i­cal fu­til­ity. Way-back-when, in 1923, renowned moun­taineer Ge­orge Mal­lory was asked by a New York Times re­porter why he so much wanted to climb Mount Ever­est, he re­sponded with the words that are so of­ten used to jus­tify an en­deav­our that ap­pears to have lit­tle point, ʻBe­cause itʼs thereʼ. Thatʼs all I can say in de­fence of my as­sem­bling of a Jud­son­super­charged 356 en­gine: ʻBe­cause the bits were there.ʼ Hav­ing said that, there was ob­vi­ously a de­gree of pre­med­i­ta­tion in­volved as the ʻbitsʼ did­nʼt sim­ply ma­te­ri­alise as if by magic in the back of my garage.

It all started when I was just com­menc­ing my fas­ci­na­tion with all things Porsche – the ac­tual date eludes me but it pre­dated own­er­ship of my first Porsche, circa 1967. At the time, as I knew no one with a Porsche, I thought it wise to brush up on the sub­ject and I sought out a book.

Some­how I stum­bled over a slim vol­ume en­ti­tled Porsche Guide by Sloniger, pub­lished in 1958 in New York at the rea­son­able price of $1.95 (I still have it, in mint con­di­tion.) My copy was sec­ond­hand and Iʼd be sur­prised if it set me back more than a few bob. (Shillings, for the ben­e­fit of you cal­low youths read­ing this.) Jerry Sloniger would, of course, be­come one of the most pro­lific pro­duc­ers of books about Porsche.

Hav­ing ab­sorbed the dif­fer­ences be­tween var­i­ous mod­els – not many as this, re­mem­ber, was writ­ten in 1958 and the model line had not pro­gressed be­yond the ʻAʼ – I moved on to the chap­ter en­ti­tled, ʻSome­thing Ex­tra – Bolt­ing On Ex­tra Power ʼ.

Given that I did­nʼt yet own a Porsche, this was a some­what aca­demic and in­deed op­ti­mistic ex­er­cise. How­ever, an ex­tended de­scrip­tion of the sub­stan­tial ʻfreeʼ horse­power to be gained by bolt­ing on a Jud­son su­per­charger both im­pressed and in­trigued me. Su­per­charg­ers con­jured up im­ages of the pre-war bat­tles be­tween Auto-union and Mercedes and, shortly af­ter be­com­ing a Porsche owner, the hunt was on for a Kom­pres­sor.

The VW ver­sion of the Jud­son su­per­charger was in­tro­duced only two years be­fore Sloniger wrote his guide and, with the pass­ing of time and a lit­tle more knowl­edge, itʼs be­come ap­par­ent that his de­scrip­tion of the Jud­son in re­la­tion to a Porsche en­gine was purely the­o­ret­i­cal and prob­a­bly ex­trap­o­lated from Jud­sonʼs VW fact sheets.

Sloniger ʼs lack of hands-on fa­mil­iar­ity with the Jud­son can be sur­mised by the fact that the il­lus­tra­tion in the Porsche Guide shows the su­per­charger, with car­bu­ret­tor at­tached, ro­tated through 90 de­grees, turn­ing the down­draft car­bu­ret­tor into a sid­e­draft!

The VW mo­tor was de­signed with a built-in ʻgov­er­nor ʼ in the form of re­stricted breath­ing, lim­it­ing its revs and al­low­ing it to run more-or-less flat-out for ex­tended pe­ri­ods. When the Porsche engi­neers em­barked on their ʻown brandʼ sports car us­ing the same en­gine, they im­me­di­ately lib­er­ated ex­tra horse­power by mod­i­fy­ing the cylin­der heads with twin ports, twin car­bu­ret­tors and larger valves. Porscheʼs mods upped their first 1100cc ver­sion to 40bhp, and 44bhp in the 1300cc en­gine, com­pared to the Beetleʼs 30bhp.

The Jud­son broth­ers in­tro­duced their su­per­charger in the late 1940s, ini­tially for the hot rod­der ʼs favourite, the Ford flat­head V8, fol­lowed by a ver­sion for the MG TD. In 1956 they in­tro­duced a Jud­son for the horse­pow­er­anaemic Bee­tle, which they claimed would in­crease the VWʼS horse­power by up to 50 per cent. Con­tem­po­rary road tests cer­tainly in­di­cated sig­nif­i­cant gains in horse­power, bet­ter ac­cel­er­a­tion times and an av­er­age top speed in­crease of 8mph. There is even a con­tem­po­rary re­port that Jud­son was bench-test­ing an ap­pli­ca­tion for the Porsche, but I can find no fur­ther ev­i­dence that this led any­where. Did they aban­don the mission? And if so why?

My worry is that fit­ting the Jud­son re­quires los­ing one of the Porscheʼs carbs and Iʼm un­sure if the blower will ac­tu­ally blow enough air through the sys­tem to com­pen­sate. (Edi­tor Seumeʼs idea of fit­ting TWO Jud­sons is amus­ing and in­trigu­ing but, of course, to­tally im­prac­ti­cal.)

Cour­tesy of Steve Kerti, the en­gine is up and run­ning on a test rig – and cer­tainly seems to run OK – but fit­ting it into the back of my ʼ52 356 might be a chal­lenge. Not only is the com­bined assem­bly taller but room also has to be found for the ʻoiler ʼ.

This is a quite large bot­tle de­vice that drip-feeds a fluid that goes by the name ʻMarvel Mys­tery Oilʼ into the body of the Jud­son to lu­bri­cate its whirly bits. An­other down­side is that the Jud­son adds 17lbs just where you donʼt want it on an early Porsche – an­other rea­son for avoid­ing the Seume route.

Sloniger ends his sec­tion on the Jud­son with some words of cau­tion, ʻThere is al­ways the pos­si­bil­ity that you will in­stall a su­per­charger and find that you arenʼt get­ting what you ex­pected.ʼ As Iʼm ex­pect­ing less than what I started with any­thing over the fac­tory quoted out­put, how­ever small, would be a bonus.

Sloniger is­sues an­other word of warn­ing (thereʼs rather a lot in the book) which, hav­ing failed to heed, may just be wait­ing for me a few miles down the road – ʻBe­fore adding too many new ʻwon­der partsʼ re­mem­ber that ev­ery item added is one more thing that could go bad at the crit­i­cal mo­ment.ʼ When those parts are not ʻnewʼ but push­ing 60-years old one sus­pects that the crit­i­cal mo­ment might only be a few revs away. Time will tell. CP


PS. If any­one who hap­pens to be read­ing this has fit­ted a Jud­son to a Porsche 356 en­gine, please get in touch!

As if he did­nʼt have enough to worry about, Mal­lett con­tem­plates in­stalling a Jud­son…

Many would de­scribe Delwyn Mal­lett as a se­rial car col­lec­tor – one with eclec­tic tastes at that. His Porsche trea­sures in­clude a pair of 356 Speed­sters, a Le Mansin­spired Pre-a coupé and a 1973 Car­rera RS. Some of them even work…

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.