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!

 

5/16in fuel lines for 97s

We recently launched some new fuel fitting parts so you can make 5/16in fuel lines for Stromberg 97s. While the stock early Ford 1/4in OD hard lines are great-looking for a typical flathead motor, many people like the thicker lines for Chevys and other applications. This includes us, of course, as our recently launched 9146-BIG 3-into-1 fuel line uses 5/16in OD stainless hard line. And more than that, all our forthcoming new Stromberg BIG 97s are 5/16in hard line compatible. You can see in these pictures how the BIG S-jet seats the 5/16in line and what happens when you try it in the regular S-jet – it leaves no seat for the ferrule. Click to enlarge.

Today we got a tech enquiry from Shane Dale in Australia that covers this very question, so we thought we’d share it here:

Hello, I have three new 97’s that I purchased in 2011 and am finally getting around to fitting up. I will be bending my own 5/16 OD hard line and was wondering what size fitting will screw into the carb? I purchased three 9180K’s and started hand screwing them but stopped quickly as it went tight.

Hi Shane, A couple of issues here. Firstly, 9180K is our 1/4NPT hard line adapter so the tapered NPT thread won’t fit into the S-jet, which is 1/2in UNF – that’s why it went tight. And as you worked out, regular Stromberg 97 inlet valves (needle & seats) were designed with a 1/4in pocket to take the line and the angled seat is positioned so the brass ferrule can compress properly to seal on the 1/4 pipe. If you put 5/16in line in, it doesn’t sit in the hole properly and covers most of the angled ferrule sealing surface. The good news is, we recently developed a new S-jet inlet valve for our 97s specifically for 5/16th line, and we also just launched a pack of compatible ‘Ford Nut’ style compression fittings for them. You need 3 x 9564K-BIG (the S-jet inlet valve) and just one pack (3 nuts and 3 ferrules in a pack) of 9081K-BIG (the Ford Nut for 5/16th line).

All the best, Stromberg Tech.

 

Strombergs at Pendine !

DSC_0639Golly, just realised we never posted our pictures from The Second Annual Pendine Sands Amateur Hot Rod Races, hosted by the Vintage Hot Rod Association. Here’s a healthy selection of the pics we (Clive and Rick Pearmain) took. You might notice how many of them are of Stromberg 97s. That’s because there were so many Strombergs at Pendine we couldn’t stop ourselves. It filled us with pride almost as fast as the pub on the quay filled us with Welsh beer. As we drove to the event, we wondered whether this could be the first UK meeting that Americans fly over to be part of, just as so many of us UK folks fly over to US events. And sure enough we met a great couple who had read about it on the interweb literally a few days before, and booked a flight. There they were, hanging out on a beach miles from nowhere, just enjoying the old style hot rods. That’s what the old car hobby does to us.

You won’t be surprised that it’s all happening again next year. Dates will be announced soon. And folks are already retuning and rebuilding looking for an extra few mph. Sand fever! Be there or miss out on one of the best events you’ll ever go to. Which reminds me, BIG thanks to Neil and all the other VHRA (and local) guys who organised, scrutineered, wardened, participated, raced, broke, drove the ambulance and more.

 

The 30,000 mile New 97 !

GoytWe love a testimonial here at Stromberg. And this is right up there. Stromberg customer Mark Biggin drives his Model AV8 – a lot. In his own words: “I stuck the new 97 on straight from the box then headed off to Pilzen in the Czech Republic (800 miles from his home in the UK) for the Liberation Festival back in 2010. It’s done nigh on 30,000 miles since and I’ve not had to touch it (occasionally adjust the idle speed). Been through two engines, two gearboxes, rear axle overhauls and a new roof mind you!

Baldwin Special – Stromberg equipped !

Scan21Ok, from one to ten, how cool is this picture? The red ‘sports rod’, the chequered flag, the white racing overalls, the haircuts, the big steering wheel, the female interest. Man, it’s got it all. Looks more like a shot from a 1950’s thrills and spills auto movie. But it’s real – entitled, ‘Dad’s win in 1956’.

Huge thanks to Stu Hanssen, of Santa Ynes, Calif for these great pictures of his Baldwin Special, once owned and raced by his Dad, William M Hanssen. Stu managed to locate the car – for sale – in Connecticut via an internet appeal in old race car circles.

Its original builder Willis Baldwin of Santa Barbara, Calif, built four Specials and William’s was the last, built on a ’48 Merc frame with transverse leaf front spring, coils on the ’52 rear end and the big Stromberg equipped Merc flathead with monster Ardun conversion. Raced by William, it participated in at least four races during the 1956 season, entered as a Baldwin Special. It also saw action in the March 12th, 1955 Preliminary Palm Springs Race, where Hanssen shared the track with Carroll Shelby, Ernie McAfee, Ak Miller, and Chuck Daigh. Naturally, Stu is keen to get the car on the track himself, and we certainly can’t wait to see it back where it belongs. There are a lot of great facts about the other Baldwin specials on Tam’s Old Race Car Site and more pics of this cool car on the Connecticut Classix website.