Strombergs at Royal Kustoms

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Royal Kustoms down on England’s south coast might not be well known to our USA friends, but in the UK, proprietor Jim Turnbull and his team have a huge reputation for quality work on early Fords. Jim has long been one of the ‘go-to’ guys for flathead engines, but in recent years he’s also become the number one destination for customers looking to compete in the toughest of long distance classic car rallies.

Now, we’re not talking sedate cruises across a couple of counties here, stopping off at a restaurant and a vineyard on the way. We’re talking a seriously competitive thrash across Siberia (Northern Russia), through South America or from Peking, China to Paris, France. Most of it’s not even on what you could term roads either, so the cars have to be built tough to last even the first day, let alone the month long trip.

On our recent visit, the shop was packed to the ceiling with old Fords, including more ’40 Ford coupes than we had seen for a long time. But these are not your regular old Fords.  They’re built to the hilt, hard charging, double reinforced early Fords that can take more of a serious pounding than you might imagine. When you’re in the middle of nowhere, you can’t take chances. Fuel system? You need two. Throttle cables? Two. Ignition system?  Two. Giant shocks front and rear with hydraulic bump stops. Knobbly off-road tyres. World Class 5-speed manual transmissions. Fuel tanks the size of the Exxon Valdez (but safer). Nine inch rear ends. Full GPS tracking and navigation equipment. And so it goes on. Did we mention super-reliable carburetion? Always Stromberg 97s of course.

We were at the shop as part of our ongoing test programme for the forthcoming new Stromberg flathead distributor. Check the pictures out. It’s a very cool place The work is top notch, and so are Jim, Julie and the Royal Kustoms team. Thanks to them all!

 

Latest Stromberg comic strip

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A new Stromberg comic strip hit the streets recently. If you get HOP UP magazine (and who doesn’t?) you will have found it right at the back. Huge thanks to our main man Paul (Get) Carter who drew it all up from a script we gave him along with a few edgy reference pictures and book of Alex Toth’s finest work. After near on 10 years, it was more than time for a new strip. So we’re now in the ’60’s. Ol’ Leadfoot’s feeling the drag racing vibe, but his old ’32 ain’t quite up to it any more. The answer? BIG97s baby! The all-new Stromberg BIG97 Tri-Power.  Check it out. Oh, and you younger fellas might just want to google Barry Goldwater…

Bayou Round Up 2016

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The Bayou Round Up in Lafayette, LA was on Stromberg’s radar last year, especially when the music line-up as announced. But you know how it goes when stuff gets in the way. We blinked and we missed it. This October, no such mistakes were made, and boy are we glad we made the trip. So what’s to say?

OK, I’m going to be diplomatic here. If you’re the kinda guy who just wants to turn up, park up, look at the cars and go home, you’d be missing about 90% of the fun. If you want to experience everything this lil ol’ town has to offer, then you’re in for a cajun treat. The schedule was brutal. We thrashed en masse from Austin TX to Lafayette, stopping for lunch in Houston (thanks Jim Jard!) and at just about every gas station on the way. We tripped out to the Tabasco sauce factory in its own island gardens, sculpted out of the swamp. We watched American Graffiti after dark at a drive-in movie. Sank bourbon-based Old Fashioneds at an unfashionable hour, with two more to geaux. Caught live zydeco and rockin’ blues at a cool outdoor bar. Pirouetted with great-grandmothers – in the afternoon – at a cajun dance hall, built in 1955. Scoffed oysters, gumbo and jambalaya, boudin balls, etouffee and deer neck stew. Squashed 10 to a table for legendary burgers. Watched Jimmy Vaughn…twice. Awarded the Stromberg Pick to Speedy Martinez’ 32 roadster. Bumped into old friends and customers at the free Friday night concert in downtown Lafayette. And made new friends for life. Oh and we managed to fit in a pretty cool car show, and launch our (pending) Ford flathead distributor to just about anyone who would listen.

Ok, you got me. The Bayou Round Up was my kind of car show. Personally I can’t thank The Kontinentals Car Club enough for organising the bash, and welcoming me along like a brother. And to all you local folks – too many to list here – thanks big time for making this old English guy feel like a much younger English guy. A bientot!

Stromberg BIG97 Cadillac 331 gains 40hp

BIG97 3x2Watching a BIG97 equipped Cadillac 331inch race engine (out of an Allard) on the dyno is not something you want to miss. So off we went to Connaught Racing Engines in Kent, UK, to watch and help with jetting and tuning. The way the driver wanted to go was with three BIG97 Primary carbs for this engine, on a direct linkage. The old Edelbrock intake was opened up to take the bigger throttle bores. And the final results? Not bad for an old Cad motor!!

405lb ft torque at 3500rpm and over 350hp at around 5500rpm where these old intakes max out. Best of all, the BIG97 added some 40hp over the regular 97s, even with that old style early intake manifold. We didn’t even have to change the Primary stock jetting (0.56inch main jets). And there were no issues with residual fuel pressure on shutdown, either.

Big thanks to Peter at Connaught Competition Engines for driving the dyno, and Gus Gingell who built the engine.